There are moments in one’s life that stay with us forever. The paralympics opening ceremony, for me, is one of those moments.
The excitement began as we walked towards our gate and seats. I had a lump in my throat that didn’t leave me until safely back in my own surroundings. I don’t think one can possibly imagine the magnitude of a stadium filled with 80.000 people, all in anticipation of what could possibly follow the outstanding olympics opening ceremony.
Well, let me tell you that this country could probably come up with a dozen spectacular opening ceremonies, each one different but equally full of creativity, exceptional design, choreography, sensitivity, musical choices and talent. It was once again a tour de force, a gutsy and spirited show, the kind of storytelling that makes me so proud to live in this country and call it my home!
For those of you who watched it on a screen somewhere let me extract some of the text we were given, explaining last night’s ceremony, entitled ‘enlightenment’:
“Through our central character, miranda, our point of consciousness is created and we follow her journey of discovery. She is guided by the world’s most celebrated scientist, professor stephen hawking, who reminds her to be curious and to look at the world as it really is if she is to understand it. Through miranda’s eyes we experience one of the world’s most remarkable discoveries, gravity, as well as the hadron collider at CERN and its importance in transforming our perception of our place in the universe. We also look out into deepest space and pay homage to the universal declaration of human rights.
On tonight’s journey we hope that you will join with us in celebrating the empowering possibilities of ideas, science and creativity, through which we can realise our full potential: who we are and who we aspire to be.”
bradley hemmings & jenny sealey, artistic directors, london 2012 paralympic games opening ceremony.
It was a visual feast and i want to thank my friend max for putting up with me taking 100’s of photos and sometimes asking him to stop tapping his feet to the rythm of the music so that my camera wouldn’t shake:) I wanted to document this incredible moment in my life and also be able to share some of it here with you.
I loved the little led screen of pixels – which apparently were called “para pixels” in front of every seat, which constantly changed colour. If you love colour, you would have loved last nights ceremony!
The empty chairs in anticipation of the paralympic athletes.
And here they come….. don’t worry i’m not going to show you every country:)
And now for the highlight…… yes, it’s #teamgb! The crowd went crazy.
Let the party begin…
All 80.000 spectators bit simultaneously into an apple we were given when we arrived, resulting in one enormous apple crunch!
For those of you who don’t recognise the next image. It’s the statue of ‘alison lapper pregnant‘ and the fourth plinth in trafalgar square, here in london. Alison was born with no arms and shortened legs.
The lighting of the cauldron. Who will light it and how does the paralympic flame arrive in the stadium? Well, one of the highlights of the evening. Joe townsend was zip wired from the height of the orbit into the stadium. I think everyone stopped breathing for a few seconds. I did!
Margaret maughan, britain’s first ever paralympic gold medallist, now 84, lit the cauldron and concluded the ceremony.
And now the fireworks.
This was the first time the queen has officiated at the openings of both the olympic games and the paralympic games. The whole experience was magical and i’m humbled to have been part of it. It remains for me to wish all the paralympic athletes the best of luck, especially team gb, which i believe has already brought home gold and silver. We are honoured to have you compete in our world city.
Of course, there’s already much noise about channel 4 covering the games and the interruptions of ads. I’m not going to let this spoil my fun. Here’s to the next 10 days of brilliance, defiance, real heroes and ‘enlightenment’.