London set for Games opening ceremony

An excited London prepared Friday to launch the Olympic Games with a spectacular opening ceremony in front of a crowd of 80,000 and more than one billion TV viewers.

After seven years of planning, the Games will officially begin in a gleaming new stadium in a once rundown area of east London with a show devised by "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle.

Queen Elizabeth II will declare the Games open after a ceremony which Boyle promised would showcase British history as well as the nation's quirky sense of humour.

More than 80 world leaders and royals will attend the ceremony, which gets under way at 9:00pm (2000 GMT) while First Lady Michelle Obama will represent the United States alongside a host of celebrities including Angelina Jolie.

The Olympic flame was rowed up the River Thames in the royal barge as it approached the end of a 70-day relay around Britain and Ireland, but the person who will light the flame at the ceremony remained a closely guarded secret.

The queen told dignitaries at a reception that people in Britain had watched the progress of the flame with "growing excitement" as the Games approached.

Once the curtain goes up, the stage is set for superstars Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Roger Federer to dazzle in competition, while an army of unsung competitors are also aiming for gold.

A budget of £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion, 12 billion euros) has been spent on bringing the Games to London for an unprecedented third time and the first since 1948.

There have been last-minute hitches with security after 4,700 additional servicemen had to be drafted in when a private security contractor failed to supply thousands of guards.

Organisers insist it was a temporary blip in Britain's biggest peacetime security operation.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge declared himself satisfied with the preparations.

"I can say with pleasure that London is ready and we are eagerly waiting for the opening ceremony," Rogge said Friday.

The London organisers have stressed they are not trying to rival the no-expense-spared extravaganza of Beijing four years ago.

Instead they have promised a Games for the athletes and -- against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty -- have ensured many of the venues can be reused or recycled.

Iconic locations such as Wimbledon, Lord's cricket ground and Hyde Park will host events while the Olympic Park complex, home to swimming and athletics, has transformed the Stratford district of east London.

"It has been an extraordinary journey over seven years," said chief organiser Sebastian Coe.

Hours before the official opening, visually impaired archer Im Dong-Hyun set the first world record of the Games in Friday's ranking round and added another as South Korea broke the team record.

The 26-year-old is legally blind in his left eye with 20/200 vision, while his right eye has 20/100 vision.

The man widely expected to be the face of the Games, Jamaican track star Bolt, has endured a troubled build-up, but the fastest man in the world insisted he was ready to defend both sprint titles.

"I've had slight problems, but I'm ready to go," said Bolt, who will carry the Jamaican flag at the opening ceremony.

In the pool, Phelps, whose eight golds in Beijing took his overall medal tally to 16, needs three more to surpass the all-time record of 18.

His seven-event programme gives him plenty of scope to make more Games history and anchor a US team determined to continue its dominance against Australia and a Chinese squad spearheaded by 1500m free world record-holder Sun Yang.

One of his biggest challengers is teammate Ryan Lochte, who has emerged as a serious threat in the 200m medley and 400m medley.

Australia is bringing in the big artillery with James "The Missile" Magnussen and James "The Rocket" Roberts, in the prestigious 100m freestyle.

The US have a "Missile" of their own, however, in 17-year-old Missy Franklin, who is set to become the first US woman to swim seven events at one Games.

Bradley Wiggins, fresh from his historic Tour de France triumph, and a powerful British team will fire up the home crowd in the cycling.

Federer, having won a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title, returns to the All England Club looking to add singles gold to the doubles he won with Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka four years ago.

And the United States are clear favourites in the men's basketball with a Dream Team boasting LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options