THE wait was long. But when the zero hour finally came yesterday, the impact was felt around the globe. It was the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the biggest sporting event on the planet.
The London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony began at 21:00 BST with over one billion people worldwide watching on television along with 80,000 in the Olympic Stadium.
The Kaos Signing Choir performed the national anthem of the United Kingdom and thereafter Her Majesty was accompanied into the arena by the Duke of Edinburgh and IOC president, Jacques Rogge.
And then a huge roar went up from the crowd as the first musical sequence came to an end. The men in top hats applauded and saluted the rings as a pall of smoke from the iron smelting drifted away over the stadium._
Five Olympic rings seemingly made from molten steel, rose from the ground and came together in a shower of sparks.
These and other scenes highlighted the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games yesterday evening.
Over 10,000 athletes from 204 nations are competing for a total of 302 gold medals in the London Olympics. The City had also hosted the Games in 1908 and 1948. More women are taking part in this year's edition of the games than ever before. Team Great Britain have been set a target of at least 48 medals by UK Sport, the body that helps fund Britain's Olympians.
Before yesterday's opening ceremony in London, billions of sports-lovers across wondered what the day would bring.
Many were hoping that technology would give the creative directors the boost to outshine the opening ceremony four years ago at the Beijing 2008 in China.
Reflections on the opening ceremony of Beijing 2008 Games were the main focus and talking point for many because of the artistry, pageantry, cultural expression and use of technology, which scored it the best ever in the history of the Games. The countdown to Beijing 2008 with its fireworks alone was fantastic.
The London 2012 opening ceremony yesterday marked the official start of the XXX Olympiad, though, the action had begun two days earlier with shock results coming from different venues.
Great Britain's football teams kicked off their campaigns earlier in the week, with the women beating New Zealand 1-0 in Cardiff and the men being forced to 1-1 draw by Senegal in the city of Manchester.
Two world records were set in the archery events yesterday morning, with South Korea setting new landmarks at Lord's.
In the London Olympics, record breakers, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps are aiming for more Olympic success after exceling in Beijing four years ago.
Bolt is defending the 100m and 200m titles he won in such style in China, although the Jamaican admits he is only "95% fit", while Phelps, who won eight gold medals in the 2008 Games, is looking to add another seven to his tally.
Phelps is already the most successful Olympian ever with 14 gold medals, having won six in Athens.
The opening spectacle of the London Games yesterday lasted about three-hour inside the Olympic Stadium and was viewed by a global TV audience of around one billion people.
Before the stadium gates were thrown open to spectators yesterday, details of the ceremony remained a closely guarded secret. About 15,000 volunteers were used in the ceremony.
The Olympic flame arrived the City Hall on the Queen's rowbarge Gloriana after first weaving through the maze at Hampton Court Palace. The flame's trip around the UK ended with the lighting of the cauldron during yesterday's opening ceremony, which was flagged off with a mass bell ringing. The Big Ben rang for three minutes for the first time since King George VI's funeral.
Over £9billion of public money is being used to stage the London 2012 Olympics.
However, the opening ceremony yesterday was preceded by a fire out break at a pavilion in Weymouth close to where the Olympic sailing will take place. The building, due to host a VIP and media event, was evacuated.
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