Friday, July 27, 2012

2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

It's starting.

At NBC, "Britain stages a spectacular welcome for the world."

And at CNN, "London 2012: Live blog."

4:45PM Pacific: At the Guardian, "The best of today's pictures in the build up to the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony."

5:17PM Pacific: The New York Times is live-blogging: "Live Coverage of the Opening Ceremony."

5:28PM Pacific: London's Daily Mail has a thrilling roundup: "Going for gold! Team USA (complete with Made in China berets) makes star-spangled entrance at London 2012 Olympics."

5:44PM Pacific: More spectacular photos at Daily Mail: "Britain fires up the world: London gets the 2012 Games under way with the Greatest Show On Earth (rounded off by Macca, of course)."

5:51PM Pacific: Yes, I've been think the same thing, at WSJ, "Olympic Boos for NBC Arrive With No Delay."
During the opening ceremony to the 2012 London Olympics, many U.S. viewers were upset they couldn’t watch it live. NBC waived its right to live-stream the ceremony, choosing to show it on tape delay later in the evening, during primetime coverage.

Viewers vented their frustrations on Twitter. Some expressed anger at NBC directly. Others said they were disappointed they couldn’t watch the ceremony while simultaneously live-tweeting it, as British viewers did. We called NBC for comment, and will update this post if they respond.
Check the link for the response.

6:07PM Pacific: Now at the Times of Israel, "No Munich tribute as Olympics open with dazzling ceremony":
Israel TV commentary goes silent for 30 seconds in tribute to the Munich 11 as Israeli team enters stadium. Flag-bearer Shahar Zubari sports national flag cut into his hair-do. IOC chief Rogge, who rebuffed Munich campaigners, hails Olympic spirit. Sports Minister Livnat stands, head-bowed, to honor victims.

The London Olympics 2012 opening ceremony made for riveting viewing for almost four hours on Friday night. Its artistic content was overseen by director Danny Boyle, and was eccentric, compelling, and frequently surreal. Then came the delegations of athletes. And then the speeches.

Sports Minister Limor Livnat, wearing a black ribbon on her arm, stood in head-bowed, silent tribute to the 11 murdered Israeli athletes of Munich 1972, as International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge spoke — an image not shown on the Olympic feed broadcast by Israel’s IBA.
6:23PM Pacific: At the Times of Israel, "Sports minister stands silently at Olympic opening event":
Limor Livnat’s tribute to murdered Munich athletes, during IOC president’s speech, not broadcast on official Olympic TV feed; Israel TV shows picture after ceremony ends.
Limor Livnat

6:32PM Pacific: At the Los Angeles Times, "Let the Olympic Games begin: Unity is message as youth light torch":
LONDON -- Organizers of the London Olympics did exactly what they intended.

They surprised the world.

Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute barrier in a mile race, did not take the final torch leg to light the Olympic flame as many had expected. Instead it was a ceremony of inclusion.

Seven young athletes, the hope of the sports future in Britain, were joined by past icons in the torch ceremony Friday night in the opening ceremony. The youngsters moved to the center of the field of play and each lighted a stem that ignited more than 200 petals. This eventually converged into a "flame of unity."

Others thought to be in contention for the final honor were rower Steve Redgrave, decathlete Daley Thompson and even soccer icon David Beckham. Earlier in the week, one bookmaker, anticipating the choice of Bannister, quit taking bets on him.

Beckham, of course, was involved in the torch's journey to Olympic Stadium, driving a speedboat on the Thames with soccer-playing youngster Jade Bailey aboard. Bailey handed the torch to Redgrave, who carried it into the stadium.

It culminated a magical night in London, the return of the Olympic Games here for the third time. The last time was 1948, and, often, the opening ceremony felt like it took 64 years to complete, a long journey deep into the night ... and morning.

The ambitious production, engineered by filmmaker and artistic director Danny Boyle, took more than 3 hours 45 minutes. Occasional rain fell on Olympic Stadium in the early part of the program.

But the showers were long gone by the time the youngsters supplied the emotional punch.
7:56PM Pacific: At the New York Times, "A Five-Ring Opening Circus, Weirdly and Unabashedly British":
LONDON — With its hilariously quirky Olympic opening ceremony, a wild jumble of the celebratory and the fanciful; the conventional and the eccentric; and the frankly off-the-wall, Britain presented itself to the world Friday night as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is.

The noisy, busy, witty, dizzying production somehow managed to feature a flock of sheep (plus a busy sheepdog), the Sex Pistols, Lord Voldemort, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a suggestion that the Olympic rings were forged by British foundries during the Industrial Revolution, the seminal Partridge Family reference from “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” a group of people dressed like so many members of Sgt. Pepper’s band, some rustic hovels tended by rustic peasants, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and, in a paean to the National Health Service, a zany bunch of dancing nurses and bouncing sick children on huge hospital beds.

It was neither a nostalgic sweep through the past nor a bold vision of a brave new future. Rather, it was a sometimes slightly insane portrait of a country that has changed almost beyond measure since the last time it hosted the Games, in the grim postwar summer of 1948.

Britain was so poor then that it housed its athletes in old army barracks, made them bring their own towels and erected no buildings for the Games. The Olympics cost less than £750,000, turned a small profit and made the nation proud that it had had managed to rise to the occasion in the face of such adversity.

There was that same sense of relief intermingled with self-satisfaction this time. But such was the grandeur of 2012, even in these tough economic times, that 80,000 people sat comfortably in a new Olympic Stadium, having traveled by sleek new bullet trains and special V.I.P. road lanes to a new park that has completely transformed once-derelict east London.

A little rain fell, but it hardly mattered. Queen Elizabeth II was there, after co-starring with a tuxedoed Daniel Craig, also known as James Bond, in a witty video in which she appears to parachute from a helicopter (in fact, she entered the park the usual way). Looking mystified at times — the ceremony was pitched to a generation different from hers — she presided over a bevy of lesser royals and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The first lady, Michelle Obama, was in the audience to cheer on the United States athletes, who, it must be said, did a lot of cheering for themselves anyway during the athletes’ procession. And Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was there, too, although he was practically Public Enemy No. 1 around here after he appeared to question the British capacity for enthusiasm, something only Britons are allowed to do...