Olympics: Opening Ceremony

NBC skips terror victim tribute

olympic mascots

Gallery: Click on the above image to see highlights from Friday’s Opening Ceremonies.

Even before the games began in London, NBC was under fire for its pre-packaged, tape-delayed prime time presentation.

And now the network’s editorial decisions during the Opening Ceremonies — largely viewed as a success when they aired Friday night — are up for debate.

Rather than air a moving tribute to the victims of the 2005 London terrorist attacks, NBC elected to run a Ryan Seacrest interview with Michael Phelps. Read the full story here.

Torches form a cauldron

Matt Slocum/AP

Back in London in real time:

The young athletes light a ring of torches in the middle of the stadium. The circle of torches grows to include dozens, and the dozens of torches rise as bells toll, forming a great flame of unity — a symbol of all of the nations coming together — in the center of the stadium. The torches represent copper leafs of a cauldron. Fireworks explode above the stadium, and Paul McCartney sings “In the End” and “Hey Jude.”

The torch enters the stadium

Back in London in real time:

Redgrave runs with the torch into the stadium. He runs through an Honor Guard and stands for a moment, addressing the crowd, before passing the flame to seven young British athletes led by rower Cameron MacRitchie. The athletes represent the youth worldwide the organizing committee has sought to inspire through sport. The group jogs around the stadium, then each get a torch and MacRitchie shares the flame with each.


The Queen opens the Games

Queen Elizabeth II formally kicks off the Olympics, saying, “I declare open the Games of London celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era.” The Olympic flag — white with the Olympic rings in the center — is now carried in, and fans across the stadium hold up placards that make the Olympic flag seem to appear throughout the stands. Muhammad Ali, who walks with an assistant, briefly joins the ceremonial flag bearers.

Sebastian Coe: “This is our time.”

Sebastian Coe, chair of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, pays tribute to the fans and athletes in a speech that marks the official opening of the Games. As the crowd listens in a quieted stadium, Coe says: “In the next two weeks we will show all that has made London one of the greatest cities in the world, the only city to have welcomed the Games three times. Each time we have done it, the world faced turbulence and trouble, and each time the Games have been a triumph… This is our time. One day, we will tell our children and our grandchildren that when our time came, we did it right.”