London Olympic Games: The Opening Ceremony

Live text commentary of Danny Boyle's extravaganza at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford

28 July 2012 Last updated at 15:19

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As it happened

  1. 1820: 

    Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

  2. 1822: 

    It was a little more than seven years ago that International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge announced the 30th Summer Games were being "awarded to London".

    Since then, a huge amount of work has gone on to bring us to this momentous day.

  3. 1824: 

    The Olympic Park and all its stadia have sprung up in east London and we are now just a couple of hours away from Danny Boyle's spectacular opening ceremony - entitled Isles of Wonder - which is due to start at 21:00 BST.

  4. 1826: 

    One big question tonight is who will light the Olympic cauldron at the end of the ceremony... What do you think?

    The flame travelled over from Greece and has spent the past 70 days travelling all around the UK in a superbly successful torch relay that was witnessed by an estimated 15 million people.

  5. 1828: 

    The content of tonight's opening ceremony has been kept a closely guarded secret - people who attended two dress rehearsals this week were asked not to reveal any details of what they had seen. #savethesurprise!

  6. 1830: 

    Athletes from 204 countries will walk through the Olympic Stadium tonight as well as a group of Independent Olympic Participants - individuals whose states are not recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

    Most nations will walk out in alphabetical order - although Greece will start the parade and Team GB will end it.

    Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards

    tweets: "Bus leaving the Mall now...lots of the bid team on board. Emotional carnage in prospect."

  8. 1836: 

    David Beckham says his omission from the Great Britain Olympic football team has not dimmed his enthusiam for the Games.

    He tells BBC Sport's Dan Walker: "I am very disappointed but I've always been a fan of the Olympics.

    "I always said before it was announced that I wasn't in the team that I would be here as a fan to watch the other athletes perform and that is what I'll do."

    Martin Cross, Great Britain's oldest Olympic rowing champion,

    tweets: "Front row seat - very lucky & proud :-)"

  10. 1841: 

    Eleven-year-old Alice Fraser from Fleetville Junior School in St Albans has been in touch from the Olympic Park.

    Alice is taking part in the guard of honour for tonight's ceremony, and says: "Currently eating in the handball arena. The seats are multi-coloured and everything is pink and purple. The mascots are here and waving and hugging people.

    "We are guard of honour for Liechtenstein - which has only three athletes at the games. I've checked and they've never won an Olympic medal - but they did once get a Paralympic one."

  11. 1844: 

    John Whittingdale, chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, tells the BBC:

    "It's a really exciting night. The atmosphere is tremendous and it would have been hard to believe seven years ago that tonight we'd be here about to enjoy the opening ceremony.

    "I think it's going to be a great couple of weeks."

    Team GB pole vaulter Kate Dennison

    tweets: "Not long now till opening ceremony. Excited much."

  13. 1847: 

    David Atkins, artistic director of ceremonies at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the Winter Games in Vancouver two years ago, tells the BBC: "If what Danny is talking about is what he is trying to deliver, it is the humanity of the show is what's important.

    "One of the things that is important about ceremonies wherever they are is that they accurately reflect the country."

  14. 1849: 

    David Atkins adds: "One of the advantages of tonight is that you have someone who is addressing the ceremony through the lens of a camera - Danny is a film-maker.

    "It is always going to be great for those in the stadium but that is the smaller audience - the focus should be on the one billion people who are going to be watching around the world."

    Mark Cavendish

    simply tweets: "I am nervous."

    Tomorrow he is going for gold in the men's road race cycling, as part of a five man British team - featuring Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins.

  16. 1854: 
    BBC 2012's Claire Heald at the Olympic Park

    Lots of colourful people here outside the Olympic Stadium. Everyone smiling, excited, up.

  17. 1856: 

    Scottish singer Paolo Nutini has just started his set at Hyde Park where a concert is taking place to celebrate the opening of London 2012.

    Some 50,000 are gathering to watch Duran Duran, Nutini, Snow Patrol and the Stereophonics.

    Games organisers are keen to stress London 2012 is not just about sport and this is the perfect way to do it.

  18. 1857: 
    Entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba in Hyde Park

    Duran Duran keyboard player Nick Rhodes says: "It's dynamite, there is electricity everywhere.

    "We are very excited, there are three other great bands on with us and we have been looking forward to it for a while."

  19. 1859: 

    Weather-watching? The latest BBC forecast says there is still the low risk of a shower over the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.

    Check the BBC's Weather site for more details.

  20. 1901: 
    BBC 2012's Claire Heald at the Olympic Park

    Crowds are pouring through the gates at the bridge by the Aquatics Centre.

    How was their journey? Reports that the Tube, DLR and newer Javelin trains were "fine". Some say a bit busy, but no delays, no frayed tempers.

    Security looks quick but thorough - one woman tells me she almost lost her biscuits as they looked suspicious on the scanner.

  21. 1902: 

    BBC One's live coverage of the build-up to tonight's extravaganza has just started - you can watch it online here if you are in the UK.

    The ceremony itself gets under way in two hours.

    Gary Lineker, BBC Sport Presenter

    tweets: "Very close now. Such a thrill to present the Olympics in this country. Tense, excited and privileged."

    Jonathan Edwards responds: "Good luck mate...biggest gig of your life??"

  23. 1906: 
    Claire Heald, BBC 2012

    It looks like the Jubilympics here.

    Lots of people have donned the red, white and blue for their country's big day.

    People from Mansfield are already shouting for its daughter, swimmer Becky Adlington.

  24. 1909: 

    Hello to those getting in touch via social media.

    Jane Voss says: "Very excited. Save the secret."

    Marisa Renderljorne says: "Wishing you all the nicest games in London 2012. May we see joyful and peaceful games together and in unity. Best wishes from Mwanza, Tanzania! Counting the minutes!"

    Marina Harden says: "Got goosebumps, on my goosebumps!"

    Come join us and comment on Facebook and Tweet us too @bbc2012.

  25. 1910:  
    Huw Edwards, BBC News Presenter at the Olympic Park

    We see a chunk of the British countryside planted in the stadium itself but don't be fooled by all the tranquility and the peace - there will be plenty of noise and plenty of drama and some good music too as the ceremony unfolds.

    What is the purpose of this opening ceremony? Ultimately, it is about welcoming thousands of athletes to the Olympic Games, that is its prime purpose.

    One of the mysteries is to do with the Olympic bell, made at the Whitechapel Foundry. Who will be the person chosen to ring that bell at the start of the ceremony at 21:00?

    Dave Tindall

    tweets: "Great patriotic crowd at Hyde Park for BT London Live, beers are flowing, quality music the 60,000 of us will have a great night!!"

  27. 1913: 

    Five-time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Steve Redgrave is asked if he will light the cauldron tonight.

    "How many times have I been asked that question? We will find out soon. I've not had the call so I still have my phone with me," he jokes.

  28. 1914:  
    Gary Lineker, BBC Sport Presenter in the Olympic Stadium

    We still haven't seen the cauldron yet. Where is it?

    Graham, from Thailand,

    texts: "I was 11 at the time of the austerity Olympics, but this time G.B. is going to up the ante for any or all future games. Go for it all you wonderful Brit athletes."

  30. 1915: 

    Have a first proper look at the set in the Olympic Stadium with Huw Edwards. Click on this link then click the Play button to go back to the opening sequence of the BBC One programme.

  31. 1917:  
    Huw Edwards, BBC News Presenter at the Olympic Park

    I'll admit there's a little sense of rain in the air but let's hope it stays off. The stadium is filling up nicely now.

  32. 1922: 

    There are fluffy "clouds" floating around the Olympic Stadium at head height as people come into the stadium.

  33. 1926: 
    Michael Johnson, Former sprinter and four times Olympic gold medallist

    I think this will be the most dramatic 100m in the history of the Games. It's because Usain Bolt is not at his best. Now you have Yohan Blake who has proven time and again "Usain, if you leave the door open I will walk through it".

  34. 1927: 

    Speaking about expectations of Team GB taking home 48 medals Sir Steve Redgrave says: "I think we will hit the overall target very easily".


    GB Canoeing have tweeted this photo of the five members of the women's sprint squad meeting "legendary" Sydney Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis at Team GB House.

    The five, including kayak single racer Rachel Cawthorn on far left, will be competing at Eton Dorney on the second week of the Games.

  36. 1930: 

    The stadium is dressed for director Danny Boyle's vision of "a green and pleasant land". We can see a maypole, a waterwheel, a tree on a hill and those fluffy floating clouds.

    One lucky local resident waiting inside for the ceremony to start says: "When you look over the set you realise what a once in a lifetime show this is going to be."

  37. 1931: 

    People are watching on big screens in Belfast and Edinburgh and even on the beach in sunny Weymouth.


    The United States basketball team will not be staying in the Olympic Village, and US track and field athlete Lolo Jones has tweeted a photo suggesting a reason why, with forward Tyson Chandler her model.

  39. 1934: 

    About to change into his "eye-catching" opening ceremony uniform, GB flagbearer Sir Chris Hoy says it is very bright with a little bit of gold. As the host country, Team GB's athletes will be the last into the stadium this evening.

  40. 1937: 

    Olympic silver medal winning swimmer Sharron Davies says "The Olympics are just so special everything else pales into insignificance. These Games are just the best there have been."


    1938: Sir Matthew Pinsent reminds Sir Chris Hoy that there is a slightly macho tradition of carrying the union jack one-handed at the opening ceremony. Pinsent did it in 2000, following his crew-mate Sir Steve Redgrave's lead from 1996.

    Hoy replies that it's a "no brainer" to use one hand, adding that swimmer Mark Foster "took some stick" for not doing so in Beijing.

  42. 1944: 

    The world's largest harmonically-tuned bell is hanging in the Stadium which will be rung to signal the start of the ceremony. It was to have been cast at the Whitechapel foundry in east London but was eventually sent to the Netherlands as the foundry did not have the capacity. It will be hung in the Olympic Park after the Games.

  43. 1945: 

    The BBC's Gary Lineker says carrying the torch during the 70-day relay was a very emotional experience.


    Nicky Trotman on the BBC 2012 Facebook page: "I'm completely excited! I've had the most fun watching all the torch relay coverage & I'm trying to contain myself until 9pm comes along!"

  45. 1949: 

    Looking ahead tomorrow's sporting action, middleweight Anthony Ogogo will open Team GB's boxing campaign against Dominican Republic boxer Junior Castillo Martinez. And three women - Natasha Jonas, Nicola Adams and Savannah Marshall - fight for GB as women's boxing makes its Olympic debut.

    Team leader Rob McCracken said: "Seven out of our 10 boxers will be highly seeded which shows the way the sport has moved on. They're a talented bunch and they're a nice group of youngsters and the future is really promising for them."

    Claire Johnson in Liverpool

    tweets: Yay the olympics are here! Maybe now everybody will stop moaning about it.

  47. 1956: 

    Speaking about what lies ahead in his show, Director Danny Boyle says he had to make sure it doesn't "befuddle" everyone abroad. Boyle says his shows aims to be "spectacular while feeling inclusive, with a warmth about it that might surprise". And he says there will definitely be drumming in the show because it's wonderful.

    Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport in Weymouth

    tweets: "Ben Ainslie being interviewed on Weymouth Beach by BBC Sport's Rob Walker. People flock to take snaps. Ainslie getting mobbed, like Elvis."

  49. 1958: 

    GB table tennis players Paul Drinkhall and Joanna Parker will both be in singles action on Saturday so they will miss the opening ceremony but the duo, who live together, have said they will spend a romantic night watching the spectacle from a balcony in the Olympic Village.

    Drinkhall, 22, said: "I think we both know what we are going through, it's easy to talk to each other and sometimes you need to talk to someone that you really trust and it's really easy with her. It's great to have these experiences with someone like that."

  50. 2000: 
    Claire Heald, BBC 2012

    The 80,000 seats are filling up here inside the Olympic Stadium. The skies are grey and threaten showers from above above - will it be real rain, fake rain, or both, for Danny Boyle's £27m spectacular?

  51. 2001: 

    An hour to go now before the start of the ceremony and we have animals! It's a veritable Old Macdonald's scene: there are geese, cows, goats and a horse-drawn cart.

  52. 2006: 

    Several Team GB athletes who are not going to the ceremony, including Jess Ennis and Dai Greene, say they will be nonetheless be watching together. The duo are at the athletics holding camp in Portugal.

  53. 2007: 

    The ceremony reflects the history of the women's movement with a nod to the efforts of Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes. And taking a role in the show will be her great granddaughter Helen Pankhurst.

    She says: "The contribution they made to British history with respect to the vote and political equality, to get that into a show like this was particularly important."

    Christopher Cole

    tweets: It looks like The Shire... #london2012 I suspect Gandalf will light the flame.

  55. 2012: 

    It's 20:12 BST, the Red Arrows fly over the Olympic Stadium, and the opening ceremony pre-show begins.

  56. 2013: 

    An enormous cheer goes up in the Olympic Stadium as the Red Arrows fly over, trailing red, white and blue smoke

    Karl Jolly in the Olympic Stadium

    tweets: Hasn't even started and I'm already giddy with excitement. So proud to be British #OlympicCeremony #London2012

  58. 2018: 

    On Weymouth beach, where hundreds of people have gathered to watch the opening ceremony on a giant screen, triple gold medal winning sailor Ben Ainslie says: "It's such a great atmosphere with a home Olympics and to see so many people here... it's fantastic."

    Ainslie is looking bling in a Team GB jacket with a gold-lined hood.


    GB judo player Euan Burton tweets: "Just come back from the food hall and the whole village is absolutely buzzing. Get behind @TeamGB tonight and @Ashleymckenzi12 tomorrow!!"

  60. 2019: 

    As the clock ticks ever closer to 21:00, we've had our last glimpse from inside the stadium for a while as some final setting up takes place.


    Paralympic basketball player and television presenter Ade Adepitan tweets: Look who's sitting next to me. Stephen Hawking, and Ronnie Wood!

  62. 2030: 

    Thirty minutes to go and it's raining in the Olympic Stadium. Such is the anticipation of Danny Boyle's technical wizardry that there is confusion over whether it is real rain or fake!


    Team GB's rowers will not be at the opening ceremony as many of them are in action at Eton Dorney on Saturday but they have had their own celebration at the team hotel near Windsor. Single sculler Alan Campbell has tweeted a photo of him and coach Bill Barry in their Team GB uniforms.

    Jess Eddie from the GB women's eight tweets: "Just done our parade & had roast beef dinner, now flags are at the ready and soooooo excited!! #teamgb #openingceremony"

  64. 2036: 

    Former Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman says the current success of British cycling is unprecedented. "This is the strongest team we have ever fielded for an Olympics."


    BBC presenter Clare Balding tweets: "Danny Boyle on stage talking about the belief in the transforming spirit of this ceremony & how the volunteers in it are 'the best of us'"

  66. 2043: 
    Claire Heald, BBC 2012

    Big gig for Frank Turner, playing now on the "Glastonbury Tor" at one end of the stadium.

    Ba, ba baaa, the crowd sing. Well, there are sheep in the middle.

  67. 2045: 

    Frank's performing I Still Believe in front of actors playing out a selection of traditional British sports.

  68. 2049: 

    Frank is standing on a hillside with his band on higher brows of the hill.

    A group of milkmaids ran down the side of the tor during his performance, while an old-style football match was also taking place.

  69. 2050: 

    There are just 10 minutes until the start of the opening ceremony - how excited are you feeling?

    Contact us via text message (81111 - UK only), Twitter (@BBC2012) or Facebook - full details are under the Get Involved tab on the right-hand side.

    Sir Clive Woodward, Team GB's deputy chef de mission,

    tweets: "Truly great night Team GB and Britain. So important to have your sport in Olympics - loved to have played or coached in this."

  71. 2052: 
    BBC 2012's Claire Heald at the Olympic Stadium

    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has just issued the Olympic truce, calling on all countries to declare peace for the Games.

    Inside Prestwich

    tweets: "Just got my first view of the #Olympic stadium. Did Danny Boyle outsource to Willy Wonka? #mental"

    Will Howells

    tweets: "Tonight is like getting a whole extra Eurovision. #BBCOlympics"

  74. 2054: 
    BBC 2012's Claire Heald at the Olympic Stadium

    Ooh, they've picked up that football they were playing with and run with it. Rugby is born!

  75. 2057: 

    A quick reminder that you can watch the opening ceremony in 3D on the BBC HD Channel.

  76. 2057: 

    A classical orchestra sitting on the grass are playing Elgar's Nimrod. The waterwheel is turning and there is also maypole dancing going on.

    Some members of the crowd are now all sitting under long blue banners which means we can not see them for the moment.

    Daniel, from Newcastle,

    emails: "The volunteers are incredible! They come from everywhere. Check it out: one Mexican girl is realizing a lifelong dream!

    "She will be performing during the opening ceremony. Her name is Adriana Zermeno. I think you should interview her..."

    Member of the GB rowing squad, Alex Gregory

    tweets‏: "Loving the countryside in the stadium - great idea. Truly British, good start!"

    Great Britain and England hockey player Sally Walton ‏tweets: "Watching ceremony on BBC 2012, hearing it out window and leaving soon to enter it. Taking it all in Team GB."

  79. 2059: 

    The banners in the crowd come down and to huge cheers we are almost ready for the official ceremony to begin.

  80. 2102: 

    The London 2012 opening ceremony begins as Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins rings the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world.

  81. 2104: 

    As the sound of the bell dies away a young soloist sings Sir Hubert Parry's setting of William Blake's poem Jerusalem. And we hear the strains of Danny Boy being sung by a young choir.

    Milkmaids are tossing apples from one to the other, a village cricket match takes place - with an unsuccessful lbw appeal - and there's morris dancing.

  82. 2106: 

    All four countries of the UK were represented in song - Jerusalem, Danny Boy, Flower of Scotland and Bread of Heaven sung by youngsters, some of whom are not in the stadium.

    A horsedrawn carriage is on the track and a man in an old top hat carrying a book under his arm steps out, to meet several other men dressed in similar garb.

    The choir in the stadium, all wearing yellow hooped tops, carry on singing Jerusalem.

  83. 2108: 

    Kenneth Branagh plays Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the ceremony, speaking Caliban's lines from Shakespeare's The Tempest.

    "Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises..."

    Brunel, who died comparatively young by modern standards at 53, managed in that time to become a world-leading engineer of steamships, bridges, tunnels and railways.

    GB's marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe

    ‏tweets: "Nobody does it like Britain - nobody! @bbcsport #london2012. Welcome the world."

  85. 2110: 

    Danny Boyle promises this is a ceremony with a theme of "this is for everyone".

    He adds it contains "a celebration of the creativity, exuberance and, above all, the generosity of the British people".

    He warns that there are "no spectators - everyone in the stadium will be part of the magic".

  86. 2111: 

    After the Green and Pleasant Land opening this part of the ceremony is called Pandemonium.

    It covers subjects ranging from the Industrial Revolution to World War One, trade unionism, Chelsea Pensioners, Suffragettes and the Jarrow hunger marchers, in a 15-minute segment celebrating Britain's role as "the workshop in the world" in its industrial heyday.

  87. 2112: 

    The drumming is being led by Dame Evelyn Glennie, who - having been profoundly deaf for almost her entire life - often plays barefoot "in order to feel the music more accurately", according to our guide.

    Almost a thousand drummers are taking part.

    Louise Gubbay

    tweets: "#bradley wiggins should light the Olympic torch. Hope it's him."

  89. 2113: 

    Tonight's ceremony is set taking the watching world through "great revolutions in British society", including the Industrial Revolution, the "revolution of social attitudes" of the 1960s onwards, and the digital revolution of the 21st Century.

  90. 2114: 

    Men are marching up and down the hill, groups of people in peasant costume are walking around carrying heavy objects, the group of men in top hat and tails are shaking hands with each other - and all the time the 1,000 drummers keep on beating.

    And beating.

    London 2012 site

    tweets: "Are you ready? Because now we're going out live to the world! Welcome to the Isles of Wonder... #OpeningCeremony"

  92. 2115: 

    The music for this section of the ceremony is And I Will Kiss, by Underworld, a British electronic duo who previously collaborated with director Danny Boyle on the films Trainspotting and Sunshine.

  93. 2115: 

    The men in top hats look up into the crowd and other members of the cast are dragging things around the set - including what seem to be gates, rolled up pieces of turf and even a small building.

    Les, from Sunderland

    texts: "Never never in my 57 years in england have i been so proud. what an amazing ceremony"

  95. 2117: 

    A group of Suffragettes enter the stadium and we now see six chimneys smoking away - with a person climbing down the side of each one.

  96. 2117: 

    The word Pandemonium, by the way, was coined by poet John Milton: It was the name of the capital of Hell in Paradise Lost.

  97. 2118: 

    Time keeps marching on and we now have a group of First World War soldiers - the men in top hats take them off and show respect for those who lost their lives in the 1914-1918 conflict.

  98. 2118: 

    The men in top hats remain a constant as the ceremony continues - there is lots of movement in the centre of the stadium, people walking here and there.

    We now have both men and women drummers beating away at bigger drums and we also see what appears to be looms from the cotton mills.

  99. 2119: 

    Workers spent four months "breaking down" the costumes, in other words wearing them down so that they would look realistic - and not brand-new - during the ceremony.

    But here is a bright splash of colour representing The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper uniforms.

    James Pearce, BBC Olympics Correspondent

    After Beijing if there was one musical instrument you'd have expected Danny Boyle to avoid it was drum. Instead he's relished the challenge.


    tweets: "Watching Olympic opening ceremony on the BBC. What a fantastic show, wish I was there! #london2012"

  102. 2121: 

    Can you spot...?

    The following are among the performers in this segment alongside the industrialists: Windrush passengers and porters, steel band members, Suffragettes and pearly Kings and Queens...

  103. 2122: 

    We also have a replica of the Windrush ship, which brought the first West Indian immigrants over to England after the Second World War.

    Pole Vaults 4.87m, British record holder and world indoor medalist Holly Bleasdale

    tweets: "One word!!!! AMAZING!!!!"

  105. 2123: 

    Five Olympic rings seemingly made from molten steel, rise from the ground and come together in a shower of sparks.

    Lawrence Hutchins, from Antrim, Northern Ireland,

    texts: "Arise sir danny boyle. great start to games.we should be proud to be british."

    Becca Pow in Sheffield

    tweets: "Well this is one epic history lesson #Olympics"

  108. 2124: 

    And a huge roar goes up from the crowd as the first musical sequence comes to an end.

    The men in top hats applaud and salute the rings as a pall of smoke from the iron smelting drifts away over the stadium.

    Olympic and triple world champion Zac Purchase

    tweets: "The Olympic rings... So special!"

  110. 2126: 

    We now see a film of Buckingham Palace - with overhead shots and film of tourists taking a look round. A black cab draws up and James Bond (aka actor Daniel Craig) races up the stairs and into the building.

  111. 2127: 

    We pass lolling corgis, and a footman shows Bond into a room. There is the Queen - yes the real Queen - who turns and says "Good evening Mr Bond," with a gleam in her eye.

  112. 2127: 

    Her Majesty and James Bond leave the palace and step onto a chopper.

  113. 2128: 

    The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square waves as the helicopter flies over London and through Tower Bridge.

    Maryam Rahimi

    tweets: I bet Danny Boyle is holding his breathe through out this opening ceremony #Olympic #London2012 … GREAT JOB! fantastic!

  115. 2128: 

    We're above the Olympic Stadium, there is a helicopter.

  116. 2128: 

    Two figures jump out of the helicopter, one dressed as Her Majesty! Union jack parachutes unfurl as they descend.

  117. 2131: 

    As the film finishes the Queen arrives at the Olympic Stadium, walking down the steps into the Royal box.

    Blanche, from Peterhead

    texts: "Well absolute wow for this opening!!! Triple wow for the Queen."

  119. 2131: 

    Her Majesty is accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and IOC president Jacques Rogge.

  120. 2132: 

    Here's a first-person piece by the BBC's head of drama, Nic Brown: How James Bond whisked the Queen to the Olympics.

  121. 2133: 

    Now the national anthem of the United Kingdom, performed by the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children.

  122. 2135: 

    This sequence is entitled "Second to the right, and straight on till morning".

    Organisers say it honours "two of Britain's greatest achievements: its amazing body of children's literature and the NHS".

  123. 2136: 

    Mike Oldfield is playing Tubular Bells and the cast of 1,200 volunteers recruited from hospitals all over the country include patients and staff from Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

  124. 2136: 

    The hospital nickname GOSH is spelled out on the stadium floor along with a cartoon of a child's face.

  125. 2137: 

    The medical staff and patients break into a dance routine - the children jumping on their hospital beds and the doctors and nurses around the edge of the arena.

    Now the letters NHS are spelled out in the centre.

  126. 2137: 

    The 600 dancers are all NHS staff, with 320 beds, 32 carpet bags and 32 umbrellas also in action. Details!

  127. 2138: 

    Children now jumping on their beds and some vigorous dancing by their carers - a totally different atmosphere to the first part of the ceremony.

    Gary Lineker, BBC Sport Presenter in the Olympic Stadium

    The Queen with James Bond was unquestionably a moment of utter genius. Take a bow, Mr Boyle!

    Matt Slater, BBC Sport

    It's a full-on love-in now: This is genius.

  130. 2139: 

    And time for bed - the children are tucked in, two to a bed, and the staff put their fingers to their lips to say there should be some quiet so they can sleep.

    Much more gentle music now and much slower movement by the hospital staff - and a bedtime story from JK Rowling: Reading from the opening of JM Barrie's classic children's tale Peter Pan.

    Asif Ali

    tweets: "The awkward moment when the opening ceremony of London Olympic is happening just 10 mins walk from your home and you're watching it on TV."

    Antoinette Beukes

    tweets: Oh please!! Her majesty the Queen skydiving from a heli...never in your life!! Whahaha!! #Olympic Games 2012 opening ceremony

  133. 2141: 

    Some of you are asking why the stadium announcements are in French first.

    That's because French and English are the two official Olympic languages. Remember, the modern Games were founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

  134. 2142: 

    The children are awake again and in the middle of a nightmare as ghoulish figures come on to stage.

    We have Voldemort from the Harry Potter stories and the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

    The beds are raised into the air and the children can't escape - and all along Mike Oldfield keeps on playing.

  135. 2143: 

    The children's beds are back on the ground and they are being chased by the baddies - the nurses seem to be in a trance and are helpless to help their patients.

    But here fly in a fleet of Mary Poppins', complete with umbrellas.

    Melanie Heaney-Scott on Facebook

    says: "Reading this and sitting at my desk in New Jersey - a little tearful I am so, so, so proud to be British!"

    Johnny Dowling

    tweets: The Olympic opening ceremony is actually an NHS ad

    David Gaudry

    emails: "Unbearable jingoistic nonsense - an insult to ordinary people and a superior smug self-satisfied impression of GB for the rest of the world. Left me feeling ashamed."

  139. 2144: 

    The mood lifts as Mike Oldfield plays In Dulci Jubilo. And the children, rescued by Mary Poppins, are happily bouncing on their beds once again.

  140. 2145: 

    The staggering visual effects being created by the crowd are powered by a system known as "audience pixels".

    Each spectator has a small panel with nine LED pixels, connected to a central control room by almost 320km of cabling.

    A team of 40 spent almost two months installing the system, then three more workers spent another week lining up the panels to fit the irregular shape of the stadium.

  141. 2145: 

    A giant baby is in a bed in the middle of the arena as the nurses and children stare on in awe - like the rest of the crowd.


    tweets: "Mary Poppins beats Voldemort, only in the Olympic opening ceremony"

    Tanni Grey-Thompson

    tweets: "Olympic Ceremony and Mary Poppins say, don't mess with our NHS."

  144. 2147: 

    And breathe. This is the "interlude" - and this sounds very familiar indeed. Who's up for a burst of Chariots of Fire?

    Here, it's performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle with Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean on keyboards!

  145. 2149: 
    BBC 2012's Claire Heald in the Olympic Stadium, BBC 2012

    To a man, everyone is waving their lighted paddles.

    The crowd had their instructions before the off. They are as up for it as athletes.

  146. 2149: 

    Mr Bean is on his smartphone during the performance and is very interested in a text message he has received while he plays the tune's repetitive note on the keyboard with one finger.

    He sneezes and changes finger before getting up to try to reach his rucksack for a tissue. He now plays with an umbrella - and yes, he has his tissue!

    Semi Idowu, Illesa, Nigeria

    emails: "Best event ever. what a wonderful presentation. Well done GB. Wishing you all success throughout the events."

    Tripp Mickle

    tweets: "Mr Bean has this entire place cracking up."

    Thirza Legg says: "Mr Bean on the Olympics ceremony has made my life complete!!!"

  149. 2151: 

    Mr Bean is content again and is dreaming about the film Chariots of Fire - we now see a replica of the famous scene of the race across the beach.

    But wait a minute - Mr Bean is dreaming he is in it and is being overtaken by most of the runners.

    So he gets in his car and is driven along the beach as he tries to overtake them.

    He ends up in the lead but is overtaken again - only to nobble the leader so he can win...

  150. 2152: 

    And is rudely reawoken as Simon Rattle spots his lack of concentration - Bean gets back to work to complete the piece with a flourish!

    Graham Kates

    tweets: "Mr Bean just made this the best Olympic opening ceremony ever. #funniestblokealive"

  152. 2153: 

    Settle down for a story all about a Saturday night.

    Will love triumph? Or will it be disqualified, somewhat harshly, for a first-round false start and be ushered from the arena in a teary-eyed temper tantrum?

    This section of the ceremony is called Frankie and June Say... Thanks Tim.

    Leon Mann ‏, BBC Sport

    tweets: "Is anyone else thinking... I'd love to sit down with Danny Boyle and just chat about this opening ceremony over a pint? Loving It."

  154. 2154: 

    A red Mini now appears on the set with the theme tune of the Archers playing. A woman gets out with her bag of shopping and lets her son - busy playing on his video game - out of the back.

    She goes into her house as a clip of the famous weather forecast in which Michael Fish doubted there was a hurricane on the way is played.

  155. 2154: 

    Danny Boyle says this section "is meant to be set in any house".

    It celebrates the soap opera, which Britain exported "all soap operas around the world are aspirational; ours are gritty and grim".

    The decades of clubs celebrated here are because "the amount of popular music we have produced is spectacular".

  156. 2154: 

    The piece included clips from great British TV classics - Coronation Street and Fawlty Towers to name but two

    And music including Food Glorious Food from Oliver.

  157. 2156: 

    Dancers with hula-hoops now, to the strains of The Jam's Goin' Underground, which turns into Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight and a clip from the movie Gregory's Girl.

  158. 2200: 

    Can you name every song so far? We've just heard Tiger Feet by Mud and now it's Bowie's Starman as jet packs rise into the sky


    2201: Myriad film clips, including Waynes World, on a block of video screens centre stage.

  160. 2202: 

    Did you like the Queen's date with James Bond? Good - watch it again here.

  161. 2203: 

    We're in the 1990s now, with show director Danny Boyle's masterpiece Trainspotting on screen.

  162. 2203: 
    Claire Heald, BBC 2012

    It was quite quiet among the crowd, after the excitement of a sky-diving Queen. But Bowie, Queen (as in the band!) and New Order fit the sparkle of the stadium and lift the mood.

  163. 2204: 

    The song I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles plays a part, a neat reference to local football club West Ham United.

  164. 2206: 

    Awww a montage of kisses now to celebrate the love story and here's Dizzee Rascal with his hit Bonkers, tying in with a clip from Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire.

    Grime music, as demonstrated by Dizzee, originated in east London.

    Mike R-B, Poole

    texts: Danny. You done us proud. Thanks mate.

  166. 2208: 

    You remember this sequence was called "Thanks Tim" well here's the Tim in question: The house rising into the air to reveal British computer scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

  167. 2211: 

    A montage celebrating the torch relay is now playing, and if you haven't been following us over the last 70 days, here's a chance to catch up.

    The relay covered 8,000 miles around the UK, with as many people carrying the torch. They were people from all fields: sportsmen and women, charity fundraisers, celebrities and local heroes.

  168. 2213: 

    Fireworks on Tower Bridge and we see a powerboat, driven apparently by David Beckham, coming down the Thames. Jane Bailey, a young footballer, is carrying the Olympic flame.

  169. 2214: 

    A digital memorial wall appears - spectators were asked to present images of loved ones who could not be with them tonight.

  170. 2215: 

    We see a huge sun and the stadium lights up with a group of people who were crouching down suddenly standing up.

  171. 2216: 

    Emeli Sande sings the sombre hymn Abide With Me, it was written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1847 and he died three weeks after completing it.

    The hymn has been sung at every FA Cup final since 1927 and is also a regular at Rugby League internationals.

  172. 2218: 

    Fifty dancers, including choreographer Akram Khan, are using images of mortality such as dust and the setting sun to dramatise the struggle between life and death.

  173. 2220: 

    That song - the favourite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi - was played by the band on board Titanic as it sank.


    The man himself - Danny Boyle tweets: "Proud to be British."

  175. 2221: 

    Greece are the first of the 204 teams to enter the arena.

  176. 2222: 

    Greece, as the spiritual home of the Olympic movement, always has the honour of being the first team to enter the Olympic Stadium for the athletes' parade. Team GB as host nation will be last.

  177. 2223: 

    The Greek flagbearer is Alexandros Nikolaidis, a taekwondo silver medallist in both Athens and Beijing.

  178. 2223: 

    Weightlifter Romela Begaj, a European silver medallist who is aiming to become the first Albanian ever to stand on an Olympic podium, carries her country's flag.

  179. 2224: 

    Argentina's flagbearer, Luciana Aymar, has been named hockey's world player of the year seven times, earning her the nickname "La Maga", the Magician. Argentina's women's hockey team are the current holders of both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy.

  180. 2225: 

    These children walking alongside the flag-bearers are carrying copper petals - which we believe will play a key role later in the ceremony.

  181. 2227: 

    Australia's flagbearer is 6ft 5in basketball player Lauren Jackson, who plys her trade in America's WNBA. There are 410 members of the Aussie team and they will be looking to at least equal their sixth position at Beijing.

  182. 2228: 

    The flagbearers are mounting the tor, where the copper petals are being delivered.

  183. 2230: 
    Tom Fordyce, BBC Sport

    People around the stadium still shaking their heads in happy disbelief. We thought it would be eccentric, amusing and fun, but no-one quite expected anything on that splendid level.

  184. 2231: 

    Belgium's Tia Hellebaut beat the favourite Blanka Vlasic to win a surprise Olympic gold in the women's high jump in Beijing four years ago. She carries her country's flag tonight.


    Great Britain's modern pentathlon world champion Mhairi Spence tweets: "In my opening ceremony gear.......woo woo! Loving the foam finger!"

  186. 2233: 

    Lovely to see excited athletes with their mobile phones out recording the action... and each-others' snazzy formal attire. Here are the Bermudans complete with shorts - and some dance steps. Nice moves.

  187. 2235: 

    The flags are being planted on the path that winds up the tor next to the copper petals - keep an eye on those...

  188. 2236: 

    Brazilian flagbearer Rodrigo Pessoa won showjumping gold in 2004. This is the 39-year-old's sixth Olympic Games.


    Opening ceremony director Danny Boyle tweets: "Thank you, everyone, for your kind words! Means the world to me."

  190. 2238: 

    A number of cyclists have been arrested by police in central London. People taking part in a monthly mass bike ride held in London say they are being "kettled" near the Olympic Stadium. Full story here.

  191. 2240: 

    As each national team passes the VIPs - Bulgaria complete with the check caps - they receive an ecstatic welcome from the delegates in the stands.

    It's hard to tell who's more excited, the athletes or the dignitaries.

  192. 2240: 

    And just before, Amantle Montsho, who won the world 400m title in dramatic fashion in Daegu last year, carried Botswana's flag.


    The Times Olympics correspondent Ashling O'Connor tweets: "Drummers are drumming at 120 beats per minute to keep the athletes moving. Looks like it's working. Schedule is 90mins max. Beijing took 180."


    Great Britain's flagbearer Sir Chris Hoy has tweeted a photo of the team ready to parade.

  195. 2241: 

    Basketball giant Yao Ming carried China's flag at the Beijing opening ceremony and his successor is another seven-foot NBA player, Dallas Mavericks forward Yi Jianlian.

  196. 2242: 

    Spare a thought for those drummers, keeping the tempo as the Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls is played.

  197. 2243: 

    Colombian flagbearer Mariana Pajón is the 2011 BMX world champion but she crashed during the Olympic test event in London last August, breaking her ribs. Great Britain's Shanaze Reade is one of her big rivals for gold.


    Usain Bolt tweets: "Signing away." As he signs autographs for fans outside the Stadium.

  199. 2245: 

    There are fewer than 20,000 inhabitants of the 15 volcanic Cook Islands, but the national side is sporting the most fetching garlands we've seen so far.

  200. 2245: 

    Great Britain's rowers begin racing on Saturday - they couldn't make it to the opening ceremony, so they held their own near the Eton Dorney Olympic venue instead. Take a look at their photos on Facebook.

  201. 2247: 

    Carrying the Cypriot flag is former world number eight tennis player Marcos Baghdatis, Australian Open finalist in 2006 and Wimbledon semi-finalist later that year.

  202. 2248: 

    That's different... The Czech Republic team is wearing blue wellies and matching umbrellas. Are they trying to say something about our weather?!

    The flagbearer for the Czech Republic, badminton player Petr Koukal, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010 but has recovered to qualify for these Games


    Around the country people have gathered to watch the ceremony on big screens. BBC Big Screens ‏tweets: "Amazing turnout in Manchester where 5,000 people are gathered"

    Will Jenkyns ‏tweets: "Huge crowds in #Birmingham, wonder what can be next at Olympic Ceremony. Breathtaking, utterly absorbing."

  204. 2251: 

    César de Cesare is originally from Argentina but moved to Ecuador to help his brother Sebastian, the country's sprint canoeing coach. Now César is carrying Ecuador's flag and is a medal prospect in new 200m event, a shorter format brought in to attract a new audience.

  205. 2251: 

    Hesham Mesbah carries Egypt's flag as their only medallist at the Beijing Olympics. He won a bronze in judo.


    Emeli Sande, who earlier gave her rendition of the hymn Abide With Me, tweets: "I will never ever forget tonight, thank you so much to Danny Boyle and all his team for this incredible experience."

  207. 2253: 

    Shiny grey and white macs are order of the day for the Estonians, while it's a natty black and white abstract jacket for Finland as the BeeGees Stayin' Alive blares out.

  208. 2254: 

    Epee fencer Laura Flessel-Colovic carries the French flag at her fifth Olympic Games. She won team and individual golds in 1996 and has five medals in all. They are very sportingly waving union jacks as well as Tricolores.

  209. 2256: 

    Shooter Nino Salukvadze won gold as a teenager in 1988, competing for the Soviet Union. Now 43, she is appearing in her seventh Olympics and carries Georgia's flag in the parade.

  210. 2258: 

    Electric pink and blue jackets for the Germans - very London 2012 colours and it even reminds us of the hockey pitch...

  211. 2259: 

    HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are clearly having fun - chuckling away in the stands next to Lord Coe - who is looking rather more serious...


    Olympic rower Sir Matthew Pinsent ‏sends a cryptic tweet: "I honestly, honestly don't know what Steve's role is. He is a great choice but of course not the only choice."

    Could that be about Sir Steve Redgrave?


    Tweets: Fiji walk on to the Bee Gees. Brilliant #openingceremony

  214. 2302: 

    We saw Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the worldwide web, earlier in the ceremony. We now know he was live tweeting: "This is for everyone" from behind a desk in the Olympic Stadium. He said: "It is an honour to have played a part in the opening ceremony for such an inspiring and truly international event that will be remembered as the most connected Olympic Games in history."

  215. 2303: 

    Wrestler Sushil Kumar is a folk hero in India and is carrying his country's flag here.

    The Commonwealth champion and 2008 bronze medallist has been flown in from the team training camp in Belarus specifically for the opening ceremony and will return there afterwards to continue training for his event, which doesn't take place until the final day of the Games on 12 August.


    Current world champion triathlete Jonathan Brownlee tweets: "Watching the opening ceremony Yorkshire-style with fish and chips."

  217. 2304: 

    Ireland's flagbear, Katie Taylor, has won four successive world titles but will be making her Olympic debut in London, as women's boxing makes its debut in the Olympic programme. Taylor, 26, will be a huge favourite for gold in her lightweight category.

  218. 2305: 

    Shahar Zubari won Israel's only medal of the 2008 Olympics, a bronze in windsurfing (pipping Britain's Nick Dempsey to the podium) and carries his country's flag here and even has it shaved into the side of his head.

  219. 2306: 

    Who else but Usain Bolt could carry the Jamaican flag? He won the individual sprint double - 100m and 200m - in world record times at both the Beijing Olympics and 2009 World Championships.

  220. 2306: 

    Bolt gets a huge cheer as he enters the stadium. He told the BBC on Thursday he has overcome the recent back and hamstring problems that have slowed him this season and is ready to defend his Olympic titles, although he admitted to only being 95% fit.

  221. 2307: 

    Japan's flagbearer is wrestler Saori Yoshida, arguably the most dominant athlete in any sport as she has only lost once since 2001 and is unbeaten at the Olympics, World and Asian Championships.

  222. 2308: 

    Kazakhstan have wonderful sparkling costumes, complete with glittering hats.

    Comedian David Baddiel

    tweets: "Slightly worried Olympics never going to match up to opening ceremony."

  224. 2307: 

    The flags are gradually filling up the space on the tor - what is going to happen to them at the end?


    British Olympic Association CEO Andy Hunt tweets: "Screaming girls for Tom Daley as Team Great Britain make their way to the stadium."

  226. 2312: 

    Phobay Kutu-Akoi is Liberia's flagbearer. The 100m runner is nicknamed "Speedy", although she failed to progress beyond the heats at last year's World Championships.

  227. 2312: 

    We reach the halfway point in the opening ceremony which, to remind you, involves 204 teams as well as a group of independent athletes.

  228. 2313: 

    Team GB are waiting to come in - diver Tom Daley has a beaming smile on his face.

  229. 2314: 

    Sir Chris Hoy is outside the Stadium and gearing up to carry the union jack.

  230. 2314: 

    All of Malta will be hoping William Chetcuti can win the country's first ever Olympic medal, in the men's double trap shooting event. Their flagbearer has been named Malta's sports person of the year seven times.

  231. 2316: 

    Team GB are expected to go into the Stadium at midnight.

  232. 2317: 

    The replica Glastonbury Tor is filling up with flags as the Mexico team enters the Stadium.

    Team GB modern pentathlete Mhairi Spence

    tweets: "I loved it all! Especially the 'Chariots of Fire/Mr Bean part'! Also loved our own 'alternative ceremony' here on our pre camp!"

    BBC Director of 2012 Roger Mosey

    tweets: "Still to come: Team GB, the Queen's official opening of the Games & the lighting of the cauldron. Not going to be an early night."

  235. 2323: 

    The Americans are preparing to enter the Stadium.

  236. 2323: 

    Nicaragua's flagbearer, Michelle Richardson, is a former swimmer who won an Olympic silver medal in 1984, competing for the United States, having been unable to compete for her home country for political reasons.

    "This is a dream come true. My heart was always in Nicaragua," she has said.

    BBC Olympics correspondent James Pearce

    tweets this photo: "Some spectators inside opening ceremony are using athletes' parade for a very British refreshment break."

  238. 2325: 

    There are 64 teams left to enter the stadium - including Team GB who will be at the end of the procession.

  239. 2326: 

    Irving Saladino became Panama's first ever Olympic gold medallist when he won the long jump in Beijing. He carries his country's flag.

  240. 2327: 

    Palestine's flagbearer is judo player Maher Abu Remeleh.

  241. 2327: 

    Swimmer Benjamin Hockin represented Great Britain in the 2008 Olympics, in the 4x100m freestyle, but has switched to Paraguay, the country of his mother, for 2012 and carries the country's flag.

    Jack Helm

    tweets: "Had a great time bouncing round on my stilts with my massive punk head on! One the best experiences ever!"

  243. 2328: 

    Sir Chris Hoy is struggling to get into the stadium as people try to take his photograph on their mobile phones.

  244. 2329: 

    Puerto Rico flagbearer Javier Culson is unbeaten in the the 400m hurdles this season and could win what would be his country's first ever gold medal. Great Britain's world champion Dai Greene stands in his way.

  245. 2329: 

    Tennis star Maria Sharapova carries the Russian flag. The 25-year-old completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open last month, eight years after triumphing at Wimbledon.

  246. 2330: 

    Rwanda flagbearer Adrien Niyonshuti has said: "My main aim is to put Rwanda on the map as a country of skilled cyclists, not just the country of genocide."

    This is a highly personal goal for the mountain biker as he lost six brothers in the 1994 genocide, when he was just seven years old.

    Team GB beach volleyball player Shauna Mullin

    tweets: "We're this close!!!! Will be shouting and waving at everyone!! Can't wait to hear the stadium roar!!!!!"

  248. 2333: 

    Looking bright in sunshine yellow is Team Senegal.

    Team GB tennis player Heather Watson

    tweets: "Wish I could have been there with #teamGB but we have tennis to play tomorrow."

    The tennis team were told earlier on Friday they would not be allowed to attend the opening ceremony.

  250. 2334: 

    Serbia's flagbearer is tennis star Novak Djokovic, Beijing bronze medallist Wimbledon winner last year, who lost to Roger Federer in the semi finals a few weeks ago.

  251. 2335: 

    Feng Tianwei won table tennis silver in the team competition in Beijing - Singapore's first Olympic medal in 48 years. She carries her country's flag tonight.

  252. 2336: 

    Shooter Jozef Gönci won independent Slovakia's first ever medal - a bronze in 1996 - and carries their flag here.

  253. 2337: 

    Caster Semenya is South Africa's flagbearer. The former world 800m champion was cleared to return to action after an 11-month investigation into her gender.

    Semenya is hoping to draw inspiration from former South Africa president Nelson Mandela.

    "He means a lot to me. He made me believe that I can do this, through thick and thin. Because when I met him he just told me to believe I can do it, (you) just have to be strong, that's all," she has said.

    Also present is Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter who will compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

  254. 2337: 

    The second NBA star to carry a flag this evening is Pau Gasol, the Spaniard who plays at forward for the LA Lakers. Spain won Olympic silver in 2008 and the European title last season. Gasol replaces Olympic champion tennis player Rafa Nadal, who pulled out of the Games with a knee injury.

  255. 2338: 
    Claire Stocks, BBC Sport

    Plenty of stewards with megaphones on the exit route from the Park directing a steady trickle of people to the buses, trains and Tube home.

    Lots of ceremony cast still in their nurse outfits strolling through the Westfield mall concourse too.

  256. 2338: 
    Claire Heald, BBC 2012

    What the pixel lights on each seat show up now, is that a lot of people have left. Either for the night or for the drinks and food queues.

    But while the fish and chips look fresh, turning them out is taking an age. And some people are giving up on a fish and chip supper, on a Friday night.

    Team GB weightlifter Zoe Smith

    tweets: "Getting impatient! Let us in! Too excited."

  258. 2341: 

    Switzerland's flagbearer is tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka, who won doubles gold with Roger Federer in Beijing. He will play Andy Murray in the first round. No sign of Roger on parade, perhaps because he is playing tomorrow.

  259. 2342: 

    U2's Where the Streets Have No Name is playing as the Swiss walk out.

    Team GB goalkeeper Rachel Brown

    tweets this photo: "Most amazing opening ceremony I've ever watched! Wish we were there but we certainly got in the spirit!"

  261. 2343: 

    Remember the bells that were rung all over the UK this morning? Here's a video of Dame Kelly Holmes going like the clappers with Chris Evans on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show.

  262. 2344: 

    Just 15 minutes to go until we see Team GB enter the Olympic Stadium - as more U2 plays out, this time Beautiful Day.

    Team GB handball player Kathryn Fudge

    tweets: "Getting close now!"

  264. 2347: 
    Claire Heald, BBC 2012

    What's wonderful watching the parade in this multi-cultural city is that, every so often, someone in the crowd will jump up and start waving at the entering team with manic gusto.

    One volunteer is waving to the Indian team, who are standing in the centre, looking out to the crowd for friendly faces. They're easy to spot in beautiful, bright yellow turbans.

    And the music? Underworld mixed it, and it's like a playlist to a great Friday night party.

    BBC Olympics correspondent James Pearce

    tweets: "Organisers clearly worried about late running of ceremony. Floor managers now coming right out in front of athletes urging them to speed up."

  266. 2349: 

    Here comes the United States of America - as the First Lady Michelle Obama waves them on.

    The US are bedecked in Ralph Lauren kit, we're told, including natty berets, and many of them have video cameras and camera phones.

    Sprinter Tyson Gay and basketball superstar Kobe Bryant are among the big names in the huge American party.

  267. 2350: 

    Sergey Bubka, multiple world record-holder in the pole vault and now an athletics official, is part of the Ukraine party.

  268. 2352: 

    The flagbearer for the United Arab Emirates is Saeed bin Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a skeet shooter and member of the Dubai Royal Family, competing in his fourth Olympics.

  269. 2353: 

    There are only five teams to go before Team GB's entrance.

    Team GB handball player Louise Jukes

    tweets: "We coming right now!!!!!!! This is unbelievable !!!!! We're underground! Wait for it!!!"

    Chris Witts, from Ealing,

    texts: "Anxiously waiting for Team GB - come on the Union!"

  272. 2354: 

    Swimmer Kirsty Coventry won four medals, including gold in the 200m backstroke, in Beijing, taking her career total to seven, and was described by the head of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, as "our national treasure". She carries the national flag this evening.

  273. 2357: 

    Four-time Olympic track cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy leads the home team into the arena.

  274. 2355: 

    David Bowie's Heroes blasts out as many members of the 541-strong team enter the arena.

    Sir Chris Hoy was one of the faces of the Beijing Olympics four years ago, after becoming the first Briton to win three golds in a single Games for 100 years and he is the face of the Great Britain team now.

    Hoy, 36, will defend just two of those titles - the team sprint and keirin - in the Velodrome over the next week - because of changes in the rules allowing just one cyclist per nation per individual event.

    Even though he responded to the challenge issued by Sir Matthew Pinsent earlier this afternoon, Hoy is carrying the union jack with two hands.

  275. 2357: 

    Team GB are dressed in white Stella McCartney outfits with golden hoods and trim. Seven billion pieces of biodegradable paper confetti fall from the sky.

  276. 2359: 

    The Chemical Brothers' Galvanize is playing out over the sound system as the Team GB athletes continue to walk around the stadium, blowing kisses to the camera as they go.

    Rory Burns

    tweets: Well, In typical British fashion we've already won the "queuing politely" event.

    Team GB tennis player Laura Robson

    tweets: "So gutted that I'm not there."

    Team GB heptathlete Louise Hazel

    tweets: "Doing our own ceremony in Portugal!!!"

  280. 0001: 

    Fireworks explode as Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys take to the stage to perform their hit I bet you look good on the dancefloor. Team GB certainly do.

  281. 0003: 

    The music changes into the Beatles' Come Together as cyclists with illuminated bird wings "fly" out around the stadium.

  282. 0005: 

    The bird cyclists are looping around the stadium glowing white under a blue light. It's a beautiful sight, with those crowd LSDs looking stunning!

  283. 0006: 

    One of the cyclists takes off ET style high into the centre of the stadium.

  284. 0008: 

    London 2012 Sebastian Coe addresses the crowd: "Welcome to London," he says.

    Paul McCartney

    tweets: "Minutes away now!"

  286. 0009: 

    Lord Coe adds: "I have never been so proud to be British and part of the Olympic movement as I am at this moment."

  287. 0010: 

    The crowd of 80,000 in the stadium cheers as Lord Coe says: "To my fellow countrymen I say thank you for making this all possible...

    "This is our time."

  288. 0011: 

    Lord Coe ends on a valedictory note: "One day we will tell our children and our grandchildren that when our time came, we did it right."


    tweets: "Whatever else happens Seb has played a blinder not just now but for the whole 7 years."

  290. 0013: 

    President of the IOC Jacques Rogge says: "London has an unmatched record for hosting the Games that spans more than a century."

    He thanks the city, which he describes as diverse, vibrant and cosmopolitan.

  291. 0014: 

    One of the biggest cheers of the night goes up as Rogge adds: "We are all grateful to the thousands of dedicated volunteers who are being so generous with their time and their smiles."

  292. 0015: 

    Rogge also says that it's the first time every Olympic team has at least one female athlete - which he calls "a major boost for gender equality".

  293. 0016: 

    Rogge continues: "In many ways the Games are coming home tonight."

    That goes down well with the crowd!

  294. 0017: 

    Rogge adds: "To the athletes I offer this thought: 'Your talent, dedication and committment brought you here and now you have a chance to be true Olympians. That will be determined not by whether you win but by how you compete'"

    He continues: "You will inspire a generation."

    And he introduces Her Majesty the Queen.

  295. 0018: 

    The Queen says: "I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era."

  296. 0019: 

    Doreen Lawrence is carrying the Olympic flag with distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie, Goodwill Ambassador Sally Backer, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti, conductor Daniel Barenboim and Brazilian environmentalist Marina Silva

  297. 0022: 

    The legendary boxer leads the bearers of the Olympic flag.

  298. 0024: 

    The Olympic flag is raised alongside the union jack as the Olympic anthem concludes.

  299. 0025: 

    And we're out on the waterway of the Olympic Park with David Beckham and the Olympic flame on a speedboat with young footballer Jane Bailey. Sir Steve Redgrave is waiting.

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London 2012 Tweets

36 Olympic Sports

304 Events

  1. Archery 4 Events First Event: 27th July
  2. Athletics 47 Events First Event: 3rd August
  3. Badminton 5 Events First Event: 28th July
  4. Basketball 2 Events First Event: 28th July
  5. Beach Volleyball 2 Events First Event: 28th July
  6. Boxing 13 Events First Event: 28th July
  7. Canoe - Slalom 4 Events First Event: 29th July
  8. Canoe - Sprint 12 Events First Event: 6th August
  9. Cycling - BMX 2 Events First Event: 8th August
  10. Cycling - Mountain Bike 2 Events First Event: 11th August
  11. Cycling - Road 4 Events First Event: 28th July
  12. Cycling - Track 10 Events First Event: 2nd August
  13. Diving 8 Events First Event: 29th July
  14. Equestrian 6 Events First Event: 28th July
  15. Fencing 10 Events First Event: 28th July
  16. Football 2 Events First Event: 25th July
  17. Gymnastics - Artistic 16 Events First Event: 28th July
  18. Gymnastics - Rhythmic 2 Events First Event: 9th August
  19. Gymnastics - Trampoline 2 Events First Event: 3rd August
  20. Handball 2 Events First Event: 28th July
  21. Hockey 2 Events First Event: 29th July
  22. Judo 14 Events First Event: 28th July
  23. Modern Pentathlon 2 Events First Event: 11th August
  24. Rowing 14 Events First Event: 28th July
  25. Sailing 10 Events First Event: 29th July
  26. Shooting 15 Events First Event: 28th July
  27. Swimming 34 Events First Event: 28th July
  28. Synchronised Swimming 2 Events First Event: 5th August
  29. Table Tennis 4 Events First Event: 28th July
  30. Taekwondo 8 Events First Event: 8th August
  31. Tennis 5 Events First Event: 28th July
  32. Triathlon 2 Events First Event: 4th August
  33. Volleyball 2 Events First Event: 28th July
  34. Water-polo 2 Events First Event: 29th July
  35. Weightlifting 15 Events First Event: 28th July
  36. Wrestling 18 Events First Event: 5th August

Get Involved: Sport Guides

Get Involved logo Olympic Sport Guides

With expert analysis, rules, history, ones to watch and an explanation of just why it is good for you, BBC Sport provides guides to each Olympic sport and how to get involved if you want to try them out.

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