2012 London Paralympics Opening Ceremony

  August 31, 2012 at 7:22 am by

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The Paralympics Opening ceremony proved once and for all that when it comes to staging a brilliant, witty and spectacular show, Britain simply has no match. The ceremony was billed as a “journey of discovery”, and it didn’t disappoint. It was a display dedicated to the Age of Enlightenment – the period between 1600 and 1800 which saw unprecedented intellectual revolution sweeping Europe and the American colonies.

The fabulous festivities commenced with a flyby by Dave Rawling, a disabled pilot whose plane was a vision of fireworks and bright LED lights. The central stage was then taken by Professor Stephen Hawking who made a short speech, followed by a “big bang” as a glowing sphere descended into a huge umbrella and ignited thousands of fireworks.

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The ceremony also celebrated arguably the greatest scientific discovery of the modern times – the possible detection of Higgs boson. But the man who first described the elusive particle (and gave it his name), Professor Peter Higgs, missed the tribute: when interviewed soon after the ceremony, the immensely shy scientist admitted he hadn’t watched the Opening Ceremony, but added he was “really glad”.

Once the show was over, it was time for athletes from across the world to march the stadium. As the first of Paralympics athletes arrived, the crowds roared in welcome – and continued throughout the long parade. The warmest welcome was of course reserved for Team GB’s 288 Paralympians who arrived just before 11PM (local time) to the strains of David Bowie’s “Heroes”, with tennis player Peter Norfolk proudly carrying the Union Flag. By that point, every single one of the 62,000-strong crowd was on their feet, cheering and clapping.

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The Royal Family was out in force to support their team and welcome the guests: Her Majesty was joined by the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. The Queen’s arrival was rather more conservative than during the Olympics Opening Ceremony; she simply walked in, accompanied by the President of IPC, Sir Philip Craven, to the sounds of the National Anthem sung by a deaf choir.

Unfortunately, the Queen had to depart soon after declaring the Games open: the 50 minute delay in the ceremony’s start meant Queen Elizabeth had to miss some of the highlights and poignant moments since the Royal Train to Balmoral was specially scheduled in-between other services and a delay was impossible.

Her Majesty was wearing a silver outfit with gold and blue embroidery, pairing it with the stunning Boucheron Aquamarine Clips, Devon Button Earrings and the Three Strand Pearl Necklace. The Duchess of Cambridge wore her DAY Birger et Mikkelsen cold-toned coat dress, the Countess of Wessex looked characteristically elegant in blue ensemble, while the Princess Royal got into the spirit of the day with Team GB scarf.

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