Accessibility links

Breaking News

London Kicks Off 2012 Olympic Games With Spectacular Gala

The Olympic cauldron is lit during the opening ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, July 28, 2012.
Britain opened the 2012 Olympic Games Friday with fighter jet flyovers, fireworks, and pageantry highlighting its history from 1896 – the start of the modern Games – until now.

Some 60,000 spectators saw a stand-in for 86-year-old Queen Elizabeth parachute into Olympic Stadium with the film actor Daniel Crag, who portrays Britain’s iconic fictional spy James Bond. Moments later, the queen herself stood silently while a children’s choir serenaded her with “God Save the Queen.”

The traditional parade of nations saw most of the 10,000-plus athletes marching behind the flags of the 204 participating nations.

The 17-day competition in 26 sports opens Saturday and runs through August 12.

Millions of Britons and visitors packed pubs and gathered with friends and relatives for the opening of the greatest sporting exhibition of modern times.

The $40 million extravaganza was expected to take in a global audience of one billion viewers.