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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora