Sophie Raworth presents live coverage from East London ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony.
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Good evening, welcome to this BBC News special from inside the
Olympic Park. It has been seven years in the making it, but after
the preparations, the hype, and a few problems, the opening ceremony,
the official start of the 2012 Olympics, is about to get under way.
We will print you did build up for a night to remember. Our
correspondents are out and about to bring to the latest on the
countdown. David Bond is inside the Olympic Stadium.
Yes, we cannot show you the field of play, but I can tell you there
are lots and lots of workers scurrying away, putting the
finishing touches to a ceremony which will be under way in less
than four hours. Shane Hill is at Tower Bridge,
where the Olympic flame arrived at lunchtime -- Jane Hill. It is being
kept safely until tonight. Yes, we do not know the details,
but we have been told it will be leaving here from Tower Bridge
later, in spectacular style. Jon Sopel is out in the Olympic
Park, where the crowds are gathering.
I have never seen such an atmosphere, people whooping and
hollering as they came through the gates. A fantastic scene, thousands
of people coming in, the look at it -- be lucky ticket-holders.
Let's begin with the Olympic flame, it has travelled almost 8000 miles,
just a handful more to go. It has been carried by it almost 8000
Torch bearers since it set off 70 days ago from Land's End. It has
just five miles left to travel before it reaches the Olympic
Stadium. Who the last torch-bearer will be, we still do not know, but
it has been a magical journey as it set off by boat on a journey of
almost 24 miles, from Hampton Court to Tower Bridge.
Hampton Court Palace, by the Thames, one final day for the torch relay.
The last stages of an 8000 mile journey, winding through the famous
maze, and, at times, only just visible above the hedges. Then,
from land, on to the porter, it was carried down to the river by
Matthew Pinsent. Aboard Gloriana. Built for the Jubilee Pageant,
today, they ringed the Olympic flame in a cauldron. Gloriana made
her way downstream, among to the Rovers, more past medal-winners,
and then to Tower Bridge, and City Hall, where it was welcomed by the
flame -- by the Mayor of London. This is London's moment. Perhaps it
will not come again in our lifetimes. But we will have the
feeling that for the rest of our lives. We will always remember we
were here on July 27th, 2012, when the Olympic flame came to City Hall.
Earlier in the day, bells chimed up and down the country, run for three
minutes as part of a piece of conceptual art. It was so amazing,
it is so good to be part of something this big, we are really
privileged. It was very tiring, they are quite heavy! There could
be teething problems during the Games,... I cannot say they will
not be hitches, because it is one of the biggest things you can do,
26 major sports tournaments at the same time. And then this. Goodness
me, are you all right?! It was a narrow miss. Health and safety!
Disaster averted! You got a bit more TV than you were expecting!
the last few hours County Down, the sense of anticipation is building
it, from those taking part, like these dancers... It is going to be
awesome. It is fantastic. It is such a buzz, everybody will love it.
It is so exciting. I am so excited, it is an opportunity, it is a blast.
And also, for those that have come to watch. We are ready for the
opening ceremony. If it will be awesome. Just a few hours to go, it
will be awesome. We are really glad to be here. The stage is set, the
audience is arriving, and then all eyes will be on the athletes.
I came into the park with a lot of the people who will be performing.
They were so excited about their chance to finally appear, they have
been rehearsing for three months, every weekend. You might be able to
see the bridge behind me, the public have just started streaming
in. They were allowed in from 5:00pm, and they are heading
towards the stadium. David Bond is trackside.
Yes, in a few hours, the ceremony will be under way. It is the big
moment, the first opportunity for London and Britain to send a
message to the world about the sort of Olympic Games it wants to host.
Lots of details have leaked in the last few weeks about the content of
Danny Boyle's ceremony, but he has still managed to retain a lot of
the wild moments, and there will be a lot of surprises, I think, for
people starting to enter the park, and who will come into the stadium.
But clearly, it is a big night for London, for Britain, but I do not
think it will just be about tonight, what follows after this, the next
16 days of the sport, will be the key to this. You can sense the
scepticism about London's hosting of the Olympic Games, the moaning
about security and transport and ticketing, have fallen away as the
torch has moved up the Thames. There is a lot of pride in what has
been achieved so far, the organisers will be pleased, but
there are still some tests to come. They have set their sights high, 47
medals in Beijing, at least 48, that is what they are expecting
this year. Yes, and in many ways, they were
victims of their own success in Beijing, because they finished in
fourth place in the bed will stable. I was speaking to some team
officials yesterday, they are confident that the team here will
be capable of emulating that success, or perhaps even going
better, but it is also worth pointing out that this team is
pretty inexperience, up to 60% of the team have never been to
Paralympic Games before, so it will be a new experience -- never been
to an Olympic Games before. People talk about home advantage, but it
could go the other way, the sense of expectation might create even
more pressure for them. But they are confident that they can deliver,
and particularly deliver on more than the 19 gold medals they won in
Beijing. That is inside the stadium, but
outside, Jon Sopel has spent the day taking in the atmosphere.
At lunchtime, there was a nervous atmosphere as everybody was
anticipating what was going to be happening later. But now, the most
fantastic atmosphere, all of the people. Let's introduce you to this
lot of people, there must be something going on! Something
special, a once-in-a-lifetime. have already got your gold medal!
It is not real gold! You are cynical! We were lucky to get the
tickets in the first draw, we applied for 80 sessions, and this
was one of the three that we got. We are very lucky. Excited? Yes, a
fantastic atmosphere. Did you have to queue up to get through
security? All of the volunteers have been great, they have been
entertaining this, laughing at our classes. Did you make them
yourself?! No! Did you feel full list?! It has caused some interest!
Quite a lot of people taking pictures. You are wearing a T-shirt
from Athens. Yes, where did it start? I am not very patriotic, but
this is where it has come to. you or from Essex, just down the
road. Stratford was not a place to visit a few years back. We have
seen it changed over the years, it has been fascinating to watch the
venues. As well as getting tickets for the opening ceremony, have you
managed to get tickets for any of the sport? Yes, several events, but
my favourite will be the diving. We are supporting a Peter Waterfield
and Tom Daley. You cannot wait! Have you been inside? Yes, it is
amazing. It is stunning. The way they have made those diving boards,
it looks fantastic. You have got Opening Ceremony tickets, diving,
what else? Athletics, hockey, handball. Let me ask an impertinent
question. If you had got every ticket you had bid for, would you
have had to have had a massive overdraft? Yes. That was the case,
we knew they would be few and far between, so we did for more than we
could afford. It has been lovely meeting due. The crowds are coming
in, it is very colourful and jolly, no problems with security getting
through, and all these people want is to see the ceremony get under
way. They are going to have a great
couple of weeks! Even before tonight, sporting events are
already under way. There was archery at Lord's this morning to
determine the seedings, but there were problems when spectators
turned up, expecting to be able to watch the event without tickets.
The home of cricket for the first Test between bow and arrow. The
first Test of an Olympic sport in London. The action is preliminary,
the Archers are seeded according to their schools today. There were
hundreds hoping to watch, left outside. This event was advertised
as on ticketed. This family came from Oregon, thinking that was an
invitation. My invitation, free to the public. We will do a free day
for people to come in. Get a feel for it. It sounded like a generous
gesture. How did you feel? What words am I allowed to use on the
BBC? I am not very happy. My family is not happy. He was not alone.
LOCOG explained tickets were never offered, but I met the family and
friends of a Dutch Archer, feeling helpless and confused. We would
like to see him participate, but we are not allowed access. We were
told it was free. Now they say we are not allowed in. The men's
ranking round progressed with South Korea in control, setting a new
record score. Larry Godfrey led the British effort. Their team are rant
in eighth place after the morning's competition. It would have been
nice to have been higher, but you roll with what you have got. Today
was about shooting the best we could. The other guys shot their
best, and we were wrapped in eighth place. Everything happens for a
reason. He is going well, but Britain face a quarter-final
against South Korea. That is tougher than getting into an
archery event. I am joined by an Olympian, Colin
Jackson. It is lovely to see you. What an afternoon. It is
sensational, walking around already, there is enthusiasm, excitement,
cheering, it is wonderful. public have and they just come in.
-- have only just come in. enthusiasm of the nation, it is
coming alive, because it is happening, there is no turning
back! I am working on the ceremony. I will be commentating on the whole
proceedings, I am excited. Tomorrow, it is the big day, the sport begins
in earnest. What do you think of our hopes as Team GB? It is no
doubt that we have been prepared the best we have ever been prepared.
I think we will achieve the medal target, so I am excited. The
euphoric feeling that it will touch the nation will inspire our stars
to go beyond anything they have done so far. What will be athletes
be feeling right now? I hope that they believe they can have a bit of
fun, they have worked hard. This is now their time to show the world
what they can do. This is you competing. I am in the first lane.
1988, South Korea. The race was won with a new Olympic record, and I
won a silver medal. It was my first Olympic Games. I experienced a new
culture, it was wonderful. Many athletes will be there for the
first time, experience in London, and I hope we deliver an Olympic
You can't beat a home games. can't. Now what team know what it's
going to be like. The support has been phenomenal. They've witnessed
it by the way that torch relay has gone around the whole country.
They've seen how many people have got out of bed early in the morning
to see the flame. Now they know that they have been inspired.
They've got to perform. You have a busy few weeks ahead of you, thank
you for sparing us the time. It is seven years since London beat the
favourite, Paris, and was awarded the Olympic Games. What a journey
it has been since then. The Culture Secretary at the time was Labour's
Tessa Jowell, and she joins me now from outside Buckingham Palace. I
think we can safely say you pretty much fired the starting gun for
these Olympics. That's true. At the beginning of August it will be 10
years. I think every single day for the last 10 years I have thought
about London's Olympic Games, in some respect or another. But it
wasn't a done deal. You have to work very hard to convince people
that London should bid for these games. I did. I had to work very
hard on my colleagues in government because the unavoidable fact is if
you are going to bid to host an Olympic Games, although the bid
comes from the National Olympic Committee, it has to be
underwritten by the government. So if the government doesn't supported,
then they can be no Olympic bid. So it was hard work, but in the end
everybody came round. I think everybody came round, persuaded by
two objectives. One, just the sense of national festival as a country
that loves sport. The second is inspiring a generation of young
people through sport, not just here but around the world. Third, which
is what you are seeing behind you, is the regeneration of this part of
east London. That kind of fast forward of 60 years of regeneration
in just six. We can see pictures of the moment seven years ago when it
was announced that London had won the bid. It was a big surprise.
People expected Paris to get it. The City of London. I never get
tired of watching that. Exactly. People did expect Paris. I was
sitting next to Steve Redgrave. All the cameras had moved over to the
Paris block. Steve said to me, Paris have one. It is like Sports
Personality of the Year. The cameras have gone where the winning
team is. But Seb Coe was the smartest of all, because he knew
that the IOC's Director of Communications was sitting next to
him. He probably knew a little bit ahead of the rest of us that we'd
won. It has been such a long journey. Can you actually believe
that we are here and in three-and- a-half-hour was time the Opening
Ceremony will be under way? It is quite hard to believe. I am lucky
enough to have been continued as a member of the Olympic board and
been very involved in this final run-up, even after the last
election as shadow Olympic Minister. But also, I'm living in the Olympic
Village as part of the mayoral team that is overseeing the service to
athletes. There's an absolutely first-rate team of people who are
very experienced in running a facility for 17,000 athletes. So
far, by and large people seem to be loving it. But I think the message
for people today is just savour every moment of today. Lay down
those memories. Live with them, because they will last for the rest
of your life. You are absolutely right to say that tomorrow the
sport begins and the sport takes over. Then, as we get to the end of
this, we look to the future and look at what we've learnt from it
and what we are going to do next to build on what we all hope is going
to be an extraordinary achievement for our country. Sebastian Coe has
talked all the way along about how this is about inspiring young
people and to achieve great things. He has also talked about the legacy.
You also spoken a lot about that, it's very important to you. But how
long is it before you can judge the sort of legacy that a Games like
these leave? You can already see legacy behind you. Every single one
of those venues as legacy built in. We put aside the money, for
instance for the Aquatic Centre, it to be converted for community use.
Children and school parties don't necessarily want to swim in a 50
metre pool, so we can turn the 50 metre pool into two 25m pools. The
diving area has a flaw which makes it adaptable for other sports.
There are eight major venues. Seven of them already have their long-
term tenants. Also, 46,000 people have worked in the Olympic Park,
and a quarter of those come from East London. 10 % of them were
previously unemployed. So there is a legacy you can touch and feel,
but there is also a legacy in the opportunities that have been
created for people by being able to work in building the park. Thank
you for talking to us. Enjoy your fortnight in the Athletes' Village.
Let's have a look around the park now. The public have just started
coming in. They are streaming across the bridge behind the,
heading towards the stadium. It really is quite a sight. Enormous
in size. If you can imagine, if you know Hyde Park in London, it is
about the size of Hyde Park. An awful lot of walking to do, don't
forget your most comfortable shoes. Most of the visitors to the Olympic
Park will travel via Stratford train station. It is incredibly
busy in central London at the moment and on the trains heading
here. We have been talking to some of the people who are coming in. I
met a couple of people who have been waiting since 10am today. They
are from Texas and wanted to be amongst the first to get into the
park. A bit is not as the Opening
Ceremony itself that will set the whole tone for these Games, it's
the logistics as well. Organisers are desperate to get that thousands
of people into that Stadium tonight without a hitch, and also get them
back out again. Thousands have taken the advice to arrive early.
Among them are the Americans... Over here we've got the Brits.
You've all got tickets for tonight. Yes. How excited are you? Immensely
excited, can't wait. It's going to be amazing. I manage to get this
golden ticket of my ankle. I think we saw you on BBC News earlier
today at St Pancras. House move has the journey been? It's been really
hectic. I've been photographed and interviewed non-stop since St
Pancras. As you can hear, I'm looking at -- and losing my voice.
You are doing a great job. What do you think of the British prospects?
I can't wait. The vibe here is electric. I think it's going to be
an amazing show. Come on, Team GB! Let's have a quick word with the
Americans. What do you think of London's preparations for these
Games? It's wonderful, we are very excited to be here. You are going
to see some of the game's... Yes, we have gymnastics, swimming,
basketball. We are ready! London is ready. You put on games in America,
what do you think of this, are we doing it better than you?
Absolutely. You guys are doing great. We are very impressed.
Nations from all over the world are here. In a few hours' time they
will be going in to enjoy that Wonderful! You are watching a BBC
News special on the final countdown to the start of the London 2012
Olympics. Right now we can talk to Liz Nicholl, but chief-executive of
UK Sport. What a task you have when your hands. Are you able to sit
back and say, well, it's all going to happen now? Well, for these
Games we've done everything we can in terms of investing in the sports
and their athletes, providing the very best support over this Orr
year preparation. We are already starting to think about Brazil, to
be honest. We can relax and watch the performances and look forward
to the outstanding successes and hopefully a lot of medals. You are
predicting at least 48 medals, that's better than Beijing. You are
setting the bar highball stop when we came out from Beijing, a
fantastic performance, 47 medals, we, prior to Beijing, thought that
would be the best we could achieve for the nation of our size. But we
came back and thought, we've got another four years of preparation,
we have National Lottery funding and government funding, we need to
be aspirational and looked to do even better than Beijing, and take
advantage of the home support. we see these athletes, we see them
going for their big moment, in the stadiums, but people don't realise
how much money and time and effort goes into each and every one. It's
an expensive business. It is, but it's not only about the money. It
is the talent and commitment of these athletes, starting from a
very young age. The money does help provide the head coaches and the
very best in the world. Sports scientists, we can invest in the
very best research and innovation, to big bikes go faster and boats go
faster. Anything that is needed, we have got the ability to invest in
bass -- in that. 400 million in the last four years alone. Yes, 100
million a year. To compete against the best in the world is expensive.
The feedback from our national lottery players is they think it is
a good thing to do, to invest in success, because it is great to be
part of it. The low point was 1996, Matt Lanter, but we came back with
just one gold medal, 15 medals in total. -- Atlanta. That was when
the National Lottery money started being pumped into sport. Yes, sport
had been calling for it for some time, but that was the turn around.
I remember prior to Sydney, we will only invest in about 15 million a
year at UK level. So things have moved on tremendously. The lottery
sales have increased. We've been able to invest in the best. For
these Games, we are investing in every Olympic and every Paralympic
sport. Not only those who have medal potential, but those who have
a chance to shine and inspire youngsters. We have a lot of stars
already, the likes of Rebecca Adlington, Tom Daley, who everybody
knows. Do you think we will have new stars from these Games?
Absolutely. Rebecca, an amazing staff from the last Games. Nobody
would have predicted two gold medals from a young athlete like
that. We will see some great, inspirational performances and
surprises. That is what sport is all about, that's what makes it so
exciting. What happens if you don't hit that magical number of 48, if
you don't beat Beijing? Is it going to be a massive disappointment,
will that be how we remember the Games? I don't think the general
public will be disappointed, if there are enough memorable moments
and a lot of podium success. We will be disappointed by UK sport
because we've worked hard with the sports. We know the potential is
there to achieve at least 48 medals, so we will be disappointed. But we
will move on very quickly and start planning for the future. We are
already aspiring to do what no host nation has ever done before, to
actually maintain performances through to the next Games beyond
the home advantage. That is the aspiration as we move through
London. I hope you reach your goal. And many more beyond! Let's go now
and talk more about the Olympic flame. It has been on an
extraordinary journey. 70 days since it left Land's End. Millions
and millions of people have turned out to see it. It arrived at Tower
I can't quite believe it was 70 days. Remember those images of Ben
Ainslie at Land's End in Cornwall, the first torchbearer. As you say,
the torch relay ended in really beautiful style, here at Tower
Bridge at lunchtime. The flame was a road on the role Bargh Gloriana,
starting at Hampton Court Palace early this morning and ending here,
at Tower Bridge. 16 oarsmen and women on board that beautiful
vessel. A former Olympic champions. And it was this young go macro, 22-
year-old Amber Charles, a basketball enthusiast from Newham
in east London, who had the honour of being chosen as the final
torchbearer. There were thousands and thousands of people cheering
her as she stood by the Olympic rings that are on the water,
nestled at the foot of City Hall. She was therefore a very long time,
as people have lined both sides of the Thames to cheer her on. What a
fantastic end to that 70 day be laid. The flames seen by more than
14 million people in that period. In terms of what happens from here
run-in, well, there is a secret here as well because how the flame
will be transported from here at Tower Bridge to the Opening
Ceremony tonight is indeed a closely-guarded secret. We have
been told simply that it will leave here in a few hours' time in what
was described to me as spectacular style. That is as much as we know.
It will make its way to Stratford for tonight's Opening Ceremony.
And what a moment that will be. Even though many members of Team GB
will be taking part in the parade of nations during the Opening
Ceremony later this evening, not all will. Among those who will be
watching it all on television, I imagine, will be the three-times
Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie, he is in Weymouth for us now. Good
Hello. It is fitting that we should be talking to you, because you were
the man that everybody will remember kicked off the Olympic
torch relay 70 days ago, can you believe it is virtually over?
flies. It has been an amazing period, the build-up to the Games
here, and down in Weymouth and Portland. It is really exciting, a
lot of people on the beach, even though they will be watching the
opening ceremony from here. cannot be at the ceremony, you are
competing Seion, so it does not work with your schedule. Or you
disappointed? Absolutely. It would have been a huge honour to walk out
into the Olympic Stadium. But yes, sadly, with our schedule, it is not
really that smart to end up with a late night, with racing so soon
afterwards. I had to be sensible. Does that mean you do not get to
see all of it? I think we will probably get the team around and we
will stay up and watch it happen, but we will miss out on everything
else that goes along with being in the stadium. It will be an
incredible atmosphere for everyone, we will be supporting the team, it
will be fantastic for the people in the stadium and the team going out
in front of everyone. You are going for your fourth gold medal, what is
it like being a British athlete at a home Olympic Games? It is so
different from any other Olympic experience that I have had. You
feel the atmosphere, how excited everyone is, all of the support
that you get, it is fantastic, it is Age UK inspiration and are the.
-- order. There is a responsibility to succeed. There is an expectation
for us to succeed, you feel that, but at the same time, you have to
focus on your game. How difficult is it for you, because you have got
your gold medal, everybody knows you are going for another one,
there is a sense that people think you will be able to do your sport,
get the medal, and it will not be difficult. It is good! I wish it
was that Azi! Unfortunately, it is not, there is a huge and I did
effort that goes into the preparation. -- huge amount of
effort. At the end of the day, the athletes have the responsibility to
get it right when it counts. Tell us about running with the Olympic
torch. This is year with the flame, 70 days ago. What was it like?
was incredible. For me, growing up in Cornwall, it was special to be
there when the flame landed, and in Land's End to start of the relay.
To see the excitement on the people's faces, especially the
youngsters, there has been a lot said about Legacy, to see the
delight on their faces, it will inspire a generation. Very best of
luck to you. We hope that you achieve what you want.
Let's have another look around the park, because the pictures are
quite sensational. The crowd that is pouring into the park, it is
only 25 minutes to 6pm, the ceremony does not start until 9pm.
It is quite spectacular to see. The Olympic stadium, you can see the
Aquatics Centre, 65,000 people are going to be coming in here tonight,
not that 80,000 capacity, because they have had to take some of the
seats out to accommodate the spectacle. This is Danny Boyle's
spectacle that he is putting on. Over here, that is that Athletes'
Village, a lot of the national flags hanging out from the windows.
It is going to be home from home for the competitors for the next
two-and-a-half weeks, it has got apartments for 14,000 athletes,
shops, restaurants and leisure facilities.
Away from the funfair and the first, the competitors' home, built just
moments away from the Olympic Park, and most of the time, completely
private. This really is special access, this is a place you are not
going to see much of a over the next couple of weeks. It is that
Athletes' Village. This is where they come to sleep and relax. You
can see the blocks, South Korea, Switzerland, Denmark. This is where
they come to relax and rest after competition. Most of the time. Over
there, where they go to have some fun. This village has been built
and designed with specific request from the athletes themselves. They
said it was important to them to get away from the pressure of
competing. Here inside the bar, you can play Paul, table football,
computer games, catch up with your friends, and get a much-needed
drink. A bottle of your finest, please. Thank you. Soft drinks only,
of course. Some of these athletes have serious appetite. This place
is open 24 hours a day for that very reason. It is basically a big
tent serving every type of food you can imagine. Lots of it. When you
say to people it is 17,000 square metres of temporary space for a
dining hall, it is huge, but it has got character and personality.
the moment for the mayor of the Athletes' Village to reflect on how
it has been received. The cables have and the athletes Commission,
Jonathan Edwards and Tanni Grey Thompson, a group of athletes
advising us. They suggested simple things, make sure you have got long
beds for tall people. A tailor-made home, as the competitors prepare
for one of the most important moments in their lives.
Let's get away from the Athletes' Village and back into the Olympic
Park. Jon Sopel is there with some of the thousands of people pouring
Welcome to the Olympic Park, we have been following Team GB, but
the fantastic thing is the bringing together of nations. He is from the
Netherlands, he does not speak English! Are you excited to be
here? Very excited. I cannot wait to get inside the stadium. You are
Team GB! Thank you! You have come from India. Yes! Excited to be
going to the ceremony? Absolutely. Looking forward to seeing the
sport? Yes! Archery! Go, India! we are going to look for the best
costumes of all, you look fantastic. Where are you from? Ethiopia. Of
these your traditional costumes? Yes, we are a group of musicians.
hope you have a wonderful evening. You will be supporting Ethiopia
throughout? Of course, yes. We would like to say hello, Ethiopia!
Some of the colour and people and excitement here in the Olympic Park,
with just a short time to go. Fantastic, it sounds like they are
having a wonderful time. They have been pouring in, what time were
they allowed in? 5:00pm. This is their first taste of the park.
Yes, are you impressed by the park? Very! Everybody is happy. Fantastic.
Amazing. Well you have a good time? Yes! I love your sticker. I do a
good forward to rig? It is going to be great. Have a lovely evening.
Really nice to talk to you. Everybody is going to have a good
evening. The enthusiasm here is infectious.
This is not the first time that London has staged the Olympics, the
last time was also at a time of economic hardship, following the
Second World War. We look back at London's backdrop to 1948, a
capital blitzed and still bearing the scars. Hardly a time or place
for fun and games. And yet, it held out a make-do and mend invitation
to reignite the Olympic spirit. Britain's hopes were high. The
Olympic trials suggested home-grown heroes would be going for gold. One
young star was this man, the British record mild weather, in the
form of his life. But not what you would call a pampered athlete.
had a masseur. He would use the same thing that he used on horses.
He would put it all over you, it smelled awful. You could smell it
for a week. It was very primitive. It was good enough to get into the
Olympic final. On August sixth, he lined up. It was a windy day, it
was wet, raining. I was in fourth position in one part of the race.
But I did not have enough speed. finished in sixth place. London
1948 was not to be about British success. The big winners came from
abroad. This is the role of honour. It is just a wash with great names.
Looking at the women's athletics, the star of the show. 100 metres,
200 metres, 80 metres hurdles, and a relay gold medal. She was feted
as a star. All she could say, I do not know what the fuss is about.
The feel-good factor was enjoyed in many other countries as well.
London's legacy was to give people hope for a brighter future.
Let's go to the present, because he has been the driving force behind
the Games, he has been there since the beginning, and he was crucial
in bringing the Games to London. Lord Coe, an Olympic champion
himself, can you believe we are here? 3 1/4 hours away from the
opening ceremony. I cannot believe it! I am excited, it is a fantastic
day, and I am so in awe of all of the people that got us to this
point. Thousands and thousands of people have helped us on this
journey. It is amazing to see the public coming in. The meadows and
the river, the village, people enjoying what we are here for,
which you can sometimes overlooked, the sport. People just want to get
into the sport, and looking forward to a show that is packed full of
fun tonight. There is going to be a lot of focus on that. It is
important, what Danny Boyle has done, what pressure on his
shoulders, this is the defining image of Britain. I am supposed to
say a few years -- few words that will be picked up around the world,
but I do not feel as nervous as he must, but he is not, he is
remarkable, he is cool and calm. He has worked on this, he is
passionate, and it will surprise and it will have big moments. It is
quite poignant in places. The real challenge is, it is not just about
this, it is also about 203 other nations, over 100 heads of state in
the stadium tonight. There were a few extra tickets that had not been
sold,... In the end, it was just a handful. I can tell you, they will
not be an empty seat in the house. 65,000 people will be in there, it
will be broadcast to a two 1 billion people. One way or another,
they reckon 4 billion. Watching the whole Olympics, I think that is.
Yes, and at the end of that time, 4 billion people will have seen the
show. It is a big show! Are you nervous? You are looking slightly
nervous. Probably. We are all at that point, we just do not want to
let people down. It has been a great journey, we feel
responsibility, we want to make people feel proud. I want them to
leave tonight smiling at something they saw, and then getting into the
sport. The football has started, I was at Old Trafford last night,
70,000 people, the second largest crowd ever at an Olympic football
Do you think we will come back with lots of medals? Are I hope so, but
I don't want to be heretical about this. I've always been less
bothered about where we are in the medals table. And that SAT -- and
allied to the British Olympic Association has challenged
everybody to finish fourth, we did in Beijing. I want moments that
young people look at, either in the stadium, at live sights or on
television, and go, hey, that's what I wanted to, that's the sport
for me. I want them then to go and join clubs and be involved. Thank
you very much indeed. You will be inside the stadium tonight, but
there will be millions of as outside the stadium. Thousands of
them will be in Hyde Park. A lot of people will be able to watch the
Opening Ceremony there, with the added bonus of a live concert
featuring, among so others, Duran Duran. Lizo Miss Bimbo was with
them there now. One of the group's performance
tonight, representing England, there are four bands and artists
representing different places across the UK. Duran Duran, you've
had some incredible highlights to your career. How does today compare
to performing at Live 8? It it's the biggest show we've ever played
in London town. It's amazing out there. We are excited to be part of
the whole London 2012 thing. It is a real honour of representing
England, of all the bands that could be chosen. What was it like
when you were asked? It was phenomenal. It was a great honour,
we feel very English. But we feel British, too. Yes, we are in the
right place. The this is a great day for London, a great day for the
country. All the people waiting, what do you think the atmosphere
will be like when you get on stage? Dynamite, electricity everywhere!
We are very excited. There are three other great bands on with us.
We've been looking forward to it for a while. It's the last stage in
our European Tour, and is the opening of the Olympics - what more
could you ask for! I was speaking to Snow Patrol, they describe you
as absolute legend. I spoke to lot of fans out there, including
teenage girls, they said they were looking forward to just seeing
Duran Duran. They weren't even born when you had your first hit in the
1980s. What is the secret to your longevity? Wherever we go we have a
cross generational thing going on now boast I think we can thank the
internet for that. I think the kids can tap into any generation of
music these days. It's great for us because it's really opened up our
audience to different ages. Thank you very much for talking to as,
enjoy the concert this evening. They are on stage just before 8pm.
Four different bands and artists, all of the people waiting for the
perfect start of London 2012. One of the most striking features
of this Olympic Park is the Orbit. It is 35 storeys high, it is made
of steel and can also be seen from miles and miles around. There's a
greater viewing platform up there for the public as well. It was
designed by the Turner prize- winning artist sculptor Anish
Kapoor up. He is with me now. It is spectacular. It is so striking, you
cannot miss it. What was your thinking behind it? Firstly, one
must say that in the modern Games it is terribly important that
culture plays a real role. As education does and that sport does,
of course. In these Games, the Cultural Olympiad had a wonderful
forum all through, and will continue to, and right across the
country. Orbiter -- Orbit is surprising to me, as much as
everybody else. I think it's a really courageous Commission. It
has been a difficult journey but one that we've managed to win in
the end. They it is going up. A difficult journey. Why do you say
you were surprised, because it was so unusual? A first of all, it's
the only bird call object in the park. It has ambitions that are
both about public access and it is a difficult work. It requires a
certain amount of time and participation. The powers-that-be,
politicians and others, bought into it and took part in it, it says
something about modern aspiration in Britain today. I hope that's
what these Games are about. I heard a friend than walking past it the
other day, he was telling a group of people he was with, this is the
Orbit, the British call it the Eiffel Tower. What reaction have
you had to it? To make a tower these days you have to refer to the
Eiffel Tower. It was the first of its kind. Interestingly, technology,
in terms of how things are put together, the stadium and the Orbit
were put together a much in the way that I would put things together.
But what Cecil and I have done is deconstruct the tower. It is as if
it is continually making itself. The public can go up there, there
is a lift, thankfully, to the top. Yes, and then a long stare all the
way down, if you want to take it. And what a view from the top as
well. It's a view of London that one doesn't have, because other
views of London of from the West looking east. This is also very key
to the legacy of this Park. That is the most important thing. As an
artist, I'm deeply interested in the idea of real participation.
That thing that says, come on, come and join me, let's go and look at
something together that changes the way we understand the world to some
extent. I hope Orbit is about that. This sense of really taking part.
Thank you very much for joining us. As the clock ticks ever nearer to
the moment the Opening Ceremony begins, the precise content of it
is still being kept under wraps. But one thing is clear, London 2012
has definitely got some stiff competition from the Olympic
opening ceremonies of the past. proclaim open the Olympic Games of
London... London, 1948. It was a little bit homespun. The whole
arena suddenly filled with a great cloud of pigeons. Instead of
today's multi-million-pound sponsorship deals, the athletes
received... A free pair of Y-fronts to every man in the British team.
And the ceremony - some margin, a band and, as a finale... The massed
choirs of the BBC, Harrow town, Westminster Council and the
National Provincial Bank sang the Hallelujah Chorus. And that was it.
Since then, we've had 60 years of moments like this. The Los Angeles
Rocket Man. Barcelona's flaming arrow. Muhammad Ali in Atlanta.
Each country trying to find moments that the world will remember.
is a lake, it rained in three minutes. This man was the man
behind the Athens Opening Ceremony. He flooded the whole Olympic
stadium and then floated the flaming rings. For the Greek
Olympic President, the opening spectacle was what mattered. They
were very focused. The President knew that it was all about the
Opening Ceremony. She's not going to get credit for a brace -- race.
And there was political will, that was the productive thing. There was
a keen focus. Four years later, he was a consultant on this. The
ceremony that topped them all. Beijing. It was very spectacular
but it wasn't a heart-warming experience for me. It was
impressive, but in a kind of frightening way. I didn't feel
emotional leap about it. I didn't feel it as a celebration of the
humanity and optimism and hope and youth. I thought it was a great
show of strength, a wonderful chess piece exercise. Four years on and
we've been given this sneak peek at what Danny Boyle has commuted to
represent Britain. A bit humbler, a lot cheaper and, he hopes, it will
be all right on the night. Whatever comes our way comes our way,
because it is live and it's the one time only. I'll never do one
again... It is extraordinary to be involved in it. And things can go
wrong, as South Korea realised when it stops found an interesting place
to roost. One can't help feeling that the doves may be in for a
surprise. But the real test is - does it set a mood that reflects
both the Olympics and something of what we want to tell the world
You can watch the ceremony live on the BBC tonight. Coverage starts at
7pm on BBC One. The man who will be guiding us through it all is Huw
Edwards. You've been watching the rehearsals, are we in for a treat?
We are in for a treat, I will say that straight away. I'd say
something else, too, having listened to your chat with Lord Coe.
Of course he is nervous, and he's right to be nervous. We are all a
bit nervous because we all wanted to go well. It is a showcase for
London and for the UK across the world. But it is quirky, it's a
little eccentric at times, very British I suppose you could say it.
It's a very unexpected elements. I should say, too, for those of you
who imagined that those on the commentary team have all the
secrets, there are some critical pieces of information that have not
been shared with us, so it will be as much of a surprise for us on the
commentary team as it will be for you watching at home when things
unfold in this Stadium this evening. That is why we are all really on
tenterhooks. You know what the scene is like here. It is very
tranquil. It is very green. It is very calm. But it is no secret that
this is going to change, and the changes will be dramatic, they'll
be colourful, there will be some fantastic music and there will be
some very big names involved. A process of change to reflect the
way British society has changed over the last two to three
centuries. I'm not going to say much more than that. It brings it
right up to the modern age and all of the developments and revolutions
of the modern age. With some brilliant soundtrack and, as I say,
some big mysteries, too. There will ring that big bell at the start of
the ceremony? How will the torch come to the stadium? Who will carry
it in? Who will be the torch bearers here? They are very big
questions and will set the seal on what I think is going to be a real
treat all of us. A tantalising glimpse their inside the Olympic
Stadium. That is it. It has been seven years in the planning and
preparation, but now the waiting is almost over. In three at this time,
the Opening Ceremony will begin, the athletes will enter the stadium,
the Olympic flame will be it. London 2012 will be under way. From