Day 1 of London Olympics Earns Praise, Criticism

    Spectators watch a live broadcast of an event at the Olympic Park during the 2012 Olympics in London, July 28, 2012.
    Spectators watch a live broadcast of an event at the Olympic Park during the 2012 Olympics in London, July 28, 2012.
    Selah Hennessy
    LONDON – China won the first gold medal in the London Olympic Games -- with  Siling Yi, 23, winning the women's 10-meter air rifle competition. 

    The Olympic Park was buzzing with activity Saturday on the first first full day of the Summer Games.

    VOA headed to Stratford in east London where public transportation was packed and the Olympic Park was swarming with visitors, police, and guards.  Many visitors who had come to buy a day pass to the venue were turned away at the door.  They were sold out.

    But the sun was shining and a happy buzz seemed to be in the air.  The people VOA spoke to said they were enjoying themselves.


    "It's amazing, it's really cool," one woman said. "It's lovely to have so many people and such a fantastic event. Everyone is just really friendly."

    "There are many people here in Stratford.  It's somehow too crowded when you come out of the tube," noted a visitor.  "But it's okay.  It's okay."

    "There are a lot of people here today.  But everybody looks pretty happy to be here," another woman said.  "I'm hearing a lot of languages spoken and that's pretty fun.  It's fun to be in such an international, cosmopolitan area."

    Competition were held in 19 sports during the first day and medals are to be awarded in a number of them including archery, swimming and weightlifting.

    The competition began Friday night after film director Danny Boyle's three-hour opening ceremony kicked off the Games with a quirky start.  The show was viewed by tens of millions of people in Britain.  A glance at social networking sites and the British press suggested that most viewers received it with pride and enthusiasm.

    • People photograph the countdown clock at Trafalgar Square in downtown London prior to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne, right, and Prime Minister David Cameron arrive for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, July 27, 2012.
    • Actors perform during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, July 27, 2012.
    • Performers make a circle during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • The Olympic rings are illuminated during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • The iconic Tower Bridge over the River Thames in central London, decorated with Olympic rings, during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • An Olympic athlete is greeted by school children lining the path to Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • Performers depict a view of the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, July 27, 2012.
    • Actors dressed as Mary Poppins perform during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • Actors perform in a sequence meant to represent Britain's National Health Service (NHS) perform during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • Fireworks light up Tower Bridge during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • Performers dance during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.
    • A person dressed as Queen Elizabeth II parachutes into the Olympic stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, July 27, 2012.
    • France's Olympic team arrives during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2012, in London.

    Thousands of volunteers performed in the show, presenting a motley display of Britain's history and culture, including the Industrial Revolution, the National Health Service, and the widely-read Harry Potter books.  Even the queen chipped in, making a cameo appearance in a short video alongside actor Daniel Craig in his role as the famous British spy James Bond.

    For some, the cultural and historic references may have been obscure. But people in Stratford told VOA that was okay.

    "Well on the TV they say there's commentators from all over the world complaining about it saying it were all Britain," a local man said. "But I guess we're in Britain so that's why it were Britain."

    "I was a little confused at some of the parts," another spectator admitted, " but overall it was a great opening ceremony."

    Two American swimmers -- Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte -- are set to compete Saturday evening in the men's 400-meter individual medley.

    Related video report by Jeff Seldin

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Hanss from: Germany/UK
    July 28, 2012 5:26 PM
    "earns praise..." give us a break... it is a disaster!!!!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora