Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012: Highlighting Most Jaw-Dropping Moments
As tradition stands, the Olympic Games are proceeded by Olympic-size entertainment, and this year in London was no different.
The opening ceremony featured many lengthy segments highlighting England's history and accomplishments.
From a half-dozen cultural references to the incorporation of technology, many scenes from London's ceremonial commencement stand out as the most inspiring and amazing moments from this year's big event.
If you didn't catch it, you'll want to look it up. Even if you did watch it, there are some events you'll want to check out once more.
These are the memorable, can't-miss highlights of London's opening ceremony.
The Shift Toward Industry
After opening the ceremony in pastoral London—green grass and countryside filling center stage—the event took a sudden turn.
With drums beating heavily, hundreds of workers flocked to remove the land. Unveiled beneath was a map of London, complete with the River Thames.
The scene was highlighted by the rise of towering (and working) smoke stacks.
One by one they arose from the ground signaling a revolutionary change.
Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira told the crowd at home that actual sulfur smells were pumped into the stadium to authenticate the scene.
The Forging of the Ring
As if working smoke stacks rising from the ground and the map of London weren't enough, the River Thames actually "worked."
But it wasn't water flowing.
Rather, liquid steel—or the electrical light version—oozed into center stage to form a perfect (and the last) Olympic ring.
The ring rose, met the other four and the sparks flew.
The Queen and James Bond Parachute In
Never did anyone think they would see the day Queen Elizabeth II would parachute into an Olympic opening ceremony with assistance from James Bond (played by Daniel Craig).
Today was that day.
Of course, it wasn't really Her Majesty—or Bond for that matter.
Still, the scene was cleverly funny and the fact that the Queen of England played along was fantastic.
The Entire Children's Literature and National Health Services Segment
At first it was a wonder how London could combine two of London's finest achievements—children's literature and a top-notch health care system.
It started off a bit slow—dancing maids and bouncing children jumping on trampoline beds.
But when some of the scariest villains from children's stories began to appear—from Captain Hook to the Queen of Hearts—the segment took an interesting turn.
The scene was frightening.
Luckily, the children (and viewers) found a hero. As only she could do, Mary Poppins flew in on her magical umbrella to fend off the baddies.
Anytime you can effectively mix Poppins and Lord Voldemort, it is a win.
The LED-Lit Seats
The "Frankie and June Says...Thanks Tim" segment of the opening was not particular inspiring or jaw-dropping.
Granted, the time line of music was wonderful.
But the scene itself, complete with acting and dancing was not all that memorable.
However, during this event Matt Lauer pointed out that every seat inside Olympic Stadium was fixed with LED lights, which became part of the spectacle.
In the background viewers could see waves of electronic lights flowing wildly to the rhythm of the music.
London may not have matched Beijing in fireworks, but they accomplished a jaw-dropping feat with the LED-lit seats.
The Doves Are Released
It's ceremonial for doves of peace to be released at the Olympic Games.
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean they have to be live doves.
London decided to symbolize the event with cyclists riding through the dark with fluorescent wings.
It truly was jaw-dropping.
The winged men and women appeared to actually be flying with the dark shadows covering their two-wheeled vehicles.
David Beckham Arrives Via Speedboat
David Beckham is a very good-looking man.
Speed boats are awesome.
Put the two together and boom, you have magic.
Is there a cooler way to deliver the Olympic flame than via speedboat? Absolutely—make Beckham the driver.
The Lighting of the Torch
During the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing, viewers were provided with an onslaught of fireworks.
London saved all of their might for the ultimate finale.
The passing from last year's generation to next year's was an inspiring touch as was the lighting of the torch. But it was the explosion of pyrotechnics that widened most eyes.
With that said, let the Games begin.