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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs