Olympic Games 2012 Opens in London

2012 Opening Ceremony (photo: cnn.com)

Queen Elizabeth II  declared open the Games of London in today’s  spectacular opening ceremony which showcased British history, music and literature.

“Inspire a generation.” This motto conveys the spirit of the Summer Olympics.  Over 10,000 athletes from 204 countries converged in the historic city of London to rekindle the passion for Olympic glory.

The city has made extensive preparations and massive engineering projects to facilitate the conduct of the whole event. The 26 games (302 events) will be played in three separate zones.

1.   The Olympic Zone – this is the hub of the Summer Olympics. The opening and closing ceremonies are held in the zone, specifically the Olympic Stadium, which is the centerpiece of the 2010 London Olympics. Aside from the stadium, major events will also be held in the Basketball Arena, and London Velopark. Games include diving, swimming, pentathlon, basketball, cycling, field hockey, athletics, and water polo.

2012 Olympics Fireworks

2.    The River Zone – spanning the River Thames is the venue for some of the outdoor and indoor events. Playing venues in this zone include the O2 Arena (North Greenwich Arena) for Basketball and Gymnastics, Greenwich Park for Equestrian and pentathlon, Royal Artillery Barracks for shooting and ExCel for dual sports such as boxing, fencing, judo, taekwondo, wrestling, and table tennis.

3.    The Central Zone – parks, stadiums, and arenas are spread throughout this area. All the other games – volleyball, tennis, marathon (swimming and athletics), cycling, badminton and football – will be held in this zone.

Recreational events such as canoeing and sailing will be held in Dorney Lake and Isle of Portland in Dorset.

Just days before the opening of the 2012 Olympics, athletes, coaches and delegates from participating countries started to arrive in London. The Olympic Village sprang to life with their colorful trappings and patriotic streamers hung on the walls of the apartment blocks. Among the first to occupy the buildings are Australians, Belgians, Slovenes, and Canadians.

London Torch Relay (photo: Darwin Cabansag)

The 2012 Summer Olympics is a far cry from what the London Olympics had been more than a century ago. Nonetheless, it was still considered as one of the best playing venues of their time. The White City Stadium in London was the centerpiece of the 1908 Olympiad. It was regarded as a technological marvel, capable of accommodating 68,000 people. It was built for a relatively short amount of time. Some measurements, however, were below the standards of our modern stadiums today.

Certain rules had been established regarding sports events due to some controversy involving players, coaches and the selection of judges. It was also the time when London had its first taste of Olympic glory when it garnered no less than 56 gold, 51 silver, and 39 bronze for a total of 146 medals. Sports events included archery, athletics, boxing, cycling, diving, fencing, figure skating, football, gymnastics, wrestling, and tug-of-war.

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