London Paralympics opening ceremony: Media reaction
- 30 August 2012
- From the section UK
The London 2012 Paralympic Games kicked off with an opening ceremony that starred Professor Stephen Hawking, veteran actor Sir Ian McKellen and a double amputee war veteran who rode a zip wire into the Olympic Stadium.
The show was watched in the stadium by some 80,000 spectators and members of the Royal Family, including the Queen.
So what did commentators and pundits from across the UK and the world make of the show? Did it match up to the recent opening of its sister Games?
Simon Barnes, The Times:
"The opening ceremony began last night with a Big Bang, in just about every sense of the term, and some words from Professor Stephen Hawking, the world's most agile mind once again leaping free from the ruined body. It was all good inspirational stuff, but doomed to be forever second-best to the inspirational things we will see as the Games start today."
Richard Williams, the Guardian:
"A nation that suffered a petit mort at the end of the Olympic Games less than a fortnight ago took the opportunity to come back to life on Wednesday night and pick up exactly where it left off as the Paralympic Games opened with another opening ceremony taking its text from The Tempest, while surveying the sweep of British history."
Jim White, the Daily Telegraph:
"Opening ceremonies of the Paralympics have, in the past, been earnest, insipid affairs. Jokes were not in abundance. Hastily-constructed afterthoughts to the main Olympics, they were forgotten soon after they had finished. Or, in the case of Atlanta, while they were still in performance. Not last night. At the Olympic Stadium, 62,000 paying customers were treated to three hours of noisy, colourful, bolshie brouhaha. Plus umbrellas. Umbrellas used as boats, umbrellas as flying machines, an umbrella forming the central stage."
Jerome Taylor, the Independent:
"Dubbed 'Enlightenment', last night's spectacle was more structured and the music more classical than in Danny Boyle's Olympics opening. But it was still infused with simmering political radicalism and social commentary - a fitting tribute given that this was the moment the Paralympics returned home to the country where its foundations were first conceived 64 years ago."
Charles Perrin, Daily Express:
"Spirits were lifted last night as London put on a dazzling Paralympics opening ceremony. With the afterglow of the Olympics having worn off, the Paralympics opening ceremony won the hearts and minds of the public with a truly memorable show."
Oliver Holt, Daily Mirror:
"Before a new flame was lit in this magical London summer, the words of an Ian Dury song rang out around the Olympic Stadium last night. 'Hello to you out there in Normal Land,' the lyrics to Spasticus Autisticus went, 'you may not comprehend my tale or understand.' Normal Land watched on. Not with distaste. Or disdain. Those kinds of emotions began to seep away a long time ago. Not even with indifference. No, Normal Land gazed at the Opening Ceremony for the London Paralympics with admiration, even a little envy."
London Mayor Boris Johnson: "What a night! What an atmosphere! Come on London - let's keep up the excitement for the next 11 days. #paralympics"
BBC Olympics correspondent James Pearce: "Newspaper front pages are stunning. I always thought London Paralympics would change attitudes, but never expected so much so soon."
Journalist and author India Knight: "That was stunningly beautiful, every minute of it."
Corrie Corfield, news reader and announcer on BBC Radio 4: "I'm having an unashamed blub now. And the words humbled, inspired and respect are echoing in my head. #paralympics."
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News anchor: "Completely inspiring to have Professor Stephen Hawking at the heart of this Paralympic extravaganza."
Times columnist Caitlin Moran: "Apparently the US isn't showing the Paralympics. Literally can't think of a single reason why they're not. Totally baffled."
Matthew Cain, culture editor, Channel 4 News: "Paralympics opening ceremony is a class act. Beautiful and inspiring. Brimming with positivity and spirit. Respect!"
Anthony Faiola, Washington Post:
"With an ode to science, human perseverance and the disabled physicist Stephen Hawking, this host city raised the curtain Wednesday on what is set to be the world's biggest and most-watched Paralympic Games despite receiving relatively limited attention in the United States."
"Late Wednesday night, the British Queen declared the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games officially open, during a spectacular and colourful opening ceremony watched by some 80,000 spectators. Libya was present for the opening ceremony with two athletes, Abdulrazag Baaba - who carried the flag - and Hamza Al-Hamali paraded with Libyan officials and the rest of the 4,280 athletes from 166 countries around the stadium."
Gary Kingston, Vancouver Sun:
"As always, it was the athletes who gave the show its soul. With beaming smiles, they rolled and marched into the glittering new stadium, those from African nations outfitted in their colourful native dress, others clad in smartly-tailored jackets and slacks."