2012 London Olympic Games Kicks Off
Directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, Great Britain is greeting the world with an extravagant opening ceremony that includes Bond, the Bard and a Beatle and of course, no British celebration would be complete without the Queen herself.
The theme of the ceremony is Isles of Wonder and is inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest,’ which will commence with the sound of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe, according to media reports. London’s Olympic Stadium will also be transformed into a British countryside highlighting live animals.
The opening ceremony will also include the Parade of Nations featuring 204 nations and about 10,500 athletes. Greece will lead the parade, as the spiritual home of the games, while Great Britain will round up the parade as last being the host nation.
Athletes from British Columbia are well represented on the Canadian Olympic Team accounting for 40 per cent of the team with 110 having a connection to BC, while 67 are born and raised in the province. The BC contingent of athletes, who will be competing in 22 sports, also includes 52 coaches and technical staff, medical and support team members.
Furthermore, Triathlete Simon Whitfield from Victoria was selected a few weeks ago to lead the 277 athletes that make up the Canadian Olympic Team as flag bearer during the opening ceremony.
“I join British Columbians everywhere in congratulating our Olympic athletes on their tremendous success as high-performance competitors,” Ida Chong, minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, said. “We invest substantial amounts of funding into sport in British Columbia – more than $50 million in the next year alone – and we couldn’t be prouder of this group. I wish all our Olympic athletes the very best of luck at the Games.”
CEO Wendy Pattenden of Canadian Sport Centre Pacific, which works with athletes and coaches says “For a province that represents only 13 per cent of our national population, we are proud of the fact that B.C. will be sending 40 per cent of the athletes who make up the 2012 Olympic team and B.C.-based athletes could bring home up to 50 per cent of Canada’s medals in London.”
Athletes to watch out for include Clara Hughes, who is the only Olympic athlete to win multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter Games; Arjan Bhullar who is the first Indo-Canadian to qualify for freestyle wrestling; Catharine Pendrel, who is ranked first in the world for cycling; Brent Hayden is looking to secure a medal in swimming after winning gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games; Dylan Armstrong is looking to secure a medal and break Canada’s non-winning streak in track and field since 1996; and Adam van Koeverden, who is determined to win his fourth Olympic medal.
The 2012 London Olympic Games will run from July 27 to August 12.