How many of you were glued to the television Friday night as the Games of the 30th Olympiad began in London? I was right there with you.
The Opening Ceremony was different than what I had expected. Beijing had set the tone for super spectacular and it was going to be a hard act to follow. So, London set its own tone.
The pastoral setting with villages, horses, cottages and people from days gone by were the first scene of a visual history of the British Isles. They ushered us through the agrarian era and the industrial era and paused to remember World War I (the war to end all wars).
One of the most intriguing was forging metal ring. As it was completed, four additional rings appeared out of the sky and they all lifted up to form the Olympic rings. Pretty cool.
Of course, James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II was also pretty cool. As staid as the queen appears almost all the time, it was fun to see her step out of character with "Bond - James Bond." As the helicopter flew over London to the stadium, it was interesting to view the city. We were fortunate to have been in London a few years ago and some of the familiar sites brought back memories.
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books, introduced a scene that brought together some of the best known characters from children's literature. Then, Mary Poppins popped in to banish the baddies from the children's dreams.
"Chariots of Fire" performed by the London Symphony Orchestra brought another bit of comedy to the stadium when Mr. Bean played his single note. It reminded me a bit of Victor Borge.
There were explosions of music and color as music took center stage.
During the parade of nations, we were curious about the person carrying "something" when each of the 204 nations paraded into the stadium. Soccer star David Beckham piloted the boat up the Thames with the Olympic Torch and Sir Steve Redgrave carried the flame into the stadium as 500 of the stadium builders lined the path. Seven young athletes ignited a single flame in what we learned were copper petals that make up the Olympic cauldron. Wow - was that ever special. We learned later that when the flame is extinguished, each country will receive a copper petal as a memory of the games.
Closing with Sir Paul McCartney singing "Hey Jude" was pretty spectacular. Who doesn't know the lyrics to that song?
One of the television commentators stated that the Olympics is one of the only television broadcasts that will bring a family together. We agree.
Since it rained most of the day Saturday, it was a good opportunity to stay indoors and watch the games. Six different NBC stations are carrying the games, so we can channel surf to our hearts content to find what we want to watch. Swimming, definitely; beach volleyball, another must see. We also checked out archery, basketball, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, rowing and a few equestrian events. There just aren't enough hours in a day to watch all the games.