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London 2012 Opening Ceremony

london 2012 olympic opening ceremony
london 2012 olympic opening ceremony
After a very late Friday night I had to be up very early this Saturday morning, off to help tourists for the day in all my bright pink and purple glory. I couldn’t quite muster the idea of getting up and sat reading tweets in bed whilst the US west coast was watching the opening ceremony of London 2012, and this tweet was my very favourite: London, there appears to be a party in your house. Oh Chris, how right you are.

london 2012 olympic opening ceremony
I have no time for anyone who is not excited by the games at this point. I have set aside everything I felt didn’t go perfectly in the seven years leading up to this and now I am here to enjoy without a grudge. On Friday, I started the morning on Westminster Bridge for All the Bells: an art project with the idea of all the bells anyone can find to be ringing for three solid minutes. From the bridge I could hear forty rings of Big Ben from 8:12 in the morning, plus a handbell choir in the crowd, the chimes of Westminster Abbey and what we think must have been St Paul’s in the distance. And my favourite bells of all? A crowd of cyclists who pulled to the side at exactly 8:12 and rang their bicycle bells like crazy for three whole minutes. Bells rang all over the country and it was sweet and simple and lovely.

Then I spent the day helping out in front of City Hall, in the shadow of Tower Bridge, including the arrival of the torch in the middle of the Thames, arriving at a set of floating rings and eventually heading indoors until finishing the journey during the ceremony.

london 2012 olympic opening ceremony This was my favourite part – the most dramatic part of the Suffragettes choreography wasn’t shown on the BBC footage we were watching, but it was such a beautiful moment.

And then there ceremony! I actually watched on a big screen at the Royal Naval College (with The Boy, Kelly and Stephanie) but earlier in the week I had attended one of the final dress rehearsals for the show, and I was allowed to take my camera. So I have pictures! I couldn’t share them until the appropriate moment in the actual ceremony, so I did a bit of ‘live’ tweeting while watching until my phone ran out of battery.

I knew from the moment I sat down and saw the ceremony’s opening set that the hymn Jerusalem had to be involved. I know I am not really British, but Jerusalem always makes me cry. It turns out it makes me cry even more when I hear a voice singing it from the crowd and turn to realise he’s just there, a few rows to my right. And that was just the start of the show. I loved every minute.

I’ve uploaded my favourite snapshots from the ceremony here and they are licensed under Creative Commons so they can be used by anyone for free. If you want to scrapbook the ceremony and need some pictures – feel free. You don’t even have to ask. If you want to blog about the ceremony, you can use them! All I ask is that if you use them on the internet, you include a credit link. That’s all. I got to see the ceremony for free and I want to pass them on in the same spirit.

london 2012 olympic opening ceremony
And to those of you who have been guessing at what my second Olympic project might be, I’ll finally tell you. A bunch of you guessed that I was in the show last night – and I wasn’t. I had friends in the show and was so excited for that! But I was definitely sat on the ground aside the Thames watching from Greenwich. I do however jump straight back into rehearsals this weekend. Because that super secret second Olympic project for me is the closing ceremonies. I still can’t tell you anything, but I will be dancing in the show and I’m at the beginning so don’t be late. Schedule your TV viewing now, yes?

Yes, London, there is a party in this house. And there’s going to be a big finale too, we promise.

But first! Let’s play some sports! If you’re local and have no tickets but want to watch something today, you can catch the cycling road race for free. And the screens at Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Potter’s Fields, Greenwich (old Greenwich, not North Greenwich!) and Blackheath (um, right in front of my flat!) are all free to enter. Most are running a 7am to 11pm schedule. If the weather turns, your better option might be a Vue cinema. They are also devoting screens to free BBC coverage of the games.

Right: I better go help some tourists find their way from Tower Bridge to the Globe or Earl’s Court! Have a fabulous weekend.


28 July 2012

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91 Comments for London 2012 Opening Ceremony

  1. Ana Frazee Says:

    Loved the ceremonies, they were fabulous! Thanks for making the pictures available, might need to use a couple for a layout. Oh, good luck in the finale!

  2. Alison Says:

    How very exciting to be part of it all Shimelle!
    Alison xx

  3. Chris Says:

    I could feel the party all the way over on the West Coast. When I was a little girl, my Irish grandmother would ring cow bells on NeW Year’s. There is something special about it. The sounds clear the air and change the energy. It creates spark and life. In Feng Shui they do something similar to scare off negative energy in a space. I think all that bell ringing did something. It was London’s final preparation to welcome the world. I hope some of your photos end up in the WSJ! xoxo

  4. k8 Says:

    Oh, Shimelle! I am so excited for you! Have a wonderful Olympic experience…I’ll be looking for you on the telly at the closing!


  5. Mary Ann Jenkins Says:

    Amazing, simply amazing! We loved watching every minute of it here in California! Thanks for the awesome photos. I’ll be looking for you in the closing ceremony :)

  6. Anne E Says:

    Yes, London is having a party and I have an invite to the Basketball on Wednesday – yippee! Thanks for sharing your photos, please could you let me know how to get the link to work as it says private, even though I can see your other pohotos. Enjoy the closing ceremony I’m sure it will be an amazing event. x

  7. Margareta from Paper Pile Kitten's Blog Says:

    That was a totally amazing ceremony!!! The best Olympic Games inauguration I have ever seen! Being there, even at the dress rehearsal, must have been sooo awesome! And I love the All the Bells project idea! Looking forward to watch you dance. :)

  8. Vicky Says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos. It’s all so amazing and I still can’t believe it – to think the eyes of the world are on our tiny corner of London!!! I’ll be looking out for you at the closing ceremony – Enjoy (I know you so will!!!) :)

  9. Joanne Says:

    So excited for you, Shimelle. I told my partner I was looking out for you during the opening ceremony just incase, I think he thinks Im nuts haha. Thanks for sharing your photos, wish I could see them all but when I click thru it says they are private.

  10. Sue Says:

    Shimelle – you are not the only one who tears up at ‘Jerusalem’. When it started last night I was gone. Like you, I am totally caught up in this, and have been loving the BBC coverage.
    Thank you too for sharing your photos – I tried taking photos of the TV screen last night, but they didn’t come out too weel.
    Have fun for the next 2 weeks. I’ll be on vacation when the closing ceremony is on, but I’m sure there are TVs in Copenhagen!

  11. Jacky S Says:

    So exciting for you to be in the Finale.I thought the Opening Ceremony was amazing.

  12. Linda321 Says:

    oh wow! What a great night! Love your photos Shimelle and thanks so much for sharing:) Good luck for your job as a games volunteer and the closong ceremony!

  13. Sandra K Says:

    What exciting news, Shimelle. It was MAGICAL!! I gave me goosebumps. I loved every part of the opening. And even the Queen Mum participated! How lovely is that! Have fun these Olympic days and enjoy. Sandra :)

  14. naomi Says:

    The Cemerony was great – I watched all of it (at home!), it’s just a pity BBC couldn’t let us watch it all though.

    Your photos are fab – thank you so much for letting us use them :)

    And the closing ceremony – WOW!! I’ll be sure to look out for you :D

  15. Donna B. Says:

    Well you will just do anything for a scrap opportunity won’t you? LoL this is all so exciting, the Olympics always make me cry and I am not even a sports fan! Maybe I will print a few of your beautiful photos and do a layour or 2 in honor of you and this amazing time of year!

  16. Debbie Green Says:

    Thanks so much for the piccies-although I actually come from Stratford I haven’t been able to face going back to see what it’s like now, and my claustrophobia can’t face the crowds :( enjoy every minute of this unique experience, and I’ll watch it on the telly :)

  17. Linda In Aus Says:

    Amazing photos, I feel so excited for you. Will be watching the closing ceremony for sure.

  18. Madeline Says:

    WOW great pictures Shimelle, thanks for sharing them. Hope I manage to see the closing ceremonies and can catch a glimpes of you

  19. LisaE Says:

    Thanks for sharing these! It is so much more interesting to hear from someone who has been part of the anticipation of the event and now gets to enjoy parts of it live.

  20. Sue Says:

    Would love to see pics but says private. It was a great opening ceremony

  21. senoritascrapper Says:

    Thanks Shimelle for the pictures. Good luck at the closing ceremony. So happy for you!

  22. Laura Says:

    I’m getting a Private on the photos too – although they DID show up this morning. Will look forward to the Closing with interest. :)

  23. Jen Says:


  24. KateT Says:

    Really enjoyed the coverage on the beeb last night, but didn’t manage to spot my dancing friend. Will be looking out for you at the closing ceremony.

    Would like to scrap some pictures as part of my Olympic pages, but can’t view them, like Laura said.

    ** Kate **

  25. SIgrun c Says:

    Thanks Shimelle!!! My old grumpy Olympic self is now no more!! I loved the opening ceremony! I also saw 5 members of the American Olympic team at the Sainsburys in Greenwich and they were tall!!!!! I did not know there was a screen in Greenwich so I might go and check that out!!! have fun and I will watch out for you in the closing ceremony!

  26. Dawn Cheshire Says:

    Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see you in the Closing Ceremony!

  27. Krisje Says:

    We were loving the ceremony yesterday! So great! My favorite part was when they showcased British music. And I confess, I searched for you amongst the dancers ;-) But now I know you will be in the finale, you can count on it we’ll be watching!

  28. Anne Says:

    How awesome that you are in the closing ceremonies ! Have fun!

  29. L McCarty Says:

    Hi Shimelle,

    Thanks SOOO much for the write-up. This is the person who wrote to you about wanting to live there for a while, and last night’s opening did NOTHING to dispel that notion ;*)

    Thanks for your personal coverage. The NBC coverage was awful – with lots of talking over bits where they should have been quiet and lots of explanation of things that should be self-evident.

    Anywho, enjoyed it immensely and think Boyle deserves the knighthood for putting UK’s vast history on one glorious stage.

  30. Gunvor Says:

    How exciting for you Shimelle! Thanks for sharing this with us in your blog, and you can be sure that I’ll be watching for you in the closing ceremony

  31. PjP Says:

    You go, girl! Have a fab day on behalf of all of us who can’t be there.

  32. Andrea Says:

    So cool! Thanks for sharing!

  33. lizziejohns Says:

    I got chills when I saw the rings rising upward. Loved the Opening Ceremony.

  34. Meghann Andrew Says:

    I was trying not to look at your tweets b/c my boy (who is British) had an MBA class last night, so we watched the ceremony later in the evening. I am the same about Jerusalem. It was the first hymn that we played in our wedding ceremony because it is very special to my husband. It always makes me cry. So exciting to be involved in the closing ceremony. Can’t wait to see you!

  35. Donna B Says:

    I loved every moment of the opening from the beautiful voice of an angel to begin to the voice of Sir Paul at the winding down. Wonderful! Oh how I love your excitement about the games. Enjoy every moment of a once in a lifetime experience.

  36. Carolyn Staat Says:

    I am so very happy for you and all the memories you will have of this special time. I know you are enjoying everymoment of it. All I have to say is WOW!

  37. Vicki J Says:

    You were the first place I checked this morning. I feel like you are my personal on the scene reporter! Enjoy the olympics! I know I am super jazzed!

  38. JoanneG Says:

    Wow love your pictures, loved the ceremony, it was uniquely British, absolutely loved the cauldron. A little question for you, I have Tickets for the Walk race finishing on the Mall on the 11th August Para Olympics athletics in September besides being so excited I was wondering what the best camera / lens combo to take? Thanks, I am loving your insider knowledge!!

  39. Deanna Says:

    Oh my goodness! I know I don’t really know you but I feel like I know you so I kept thinking of you during the ceremonies! It was all wonderful and magical and here in the central US I enjoyed it so much. I guess I’ll just keep thinking of you in you pink and purple as I catch as much coverage as I can possibly fit in. Great job Brits!!!

  40. Antoinette Says:

    Well… I’m sure I was born in London in a previous life, so I’m proud to be British :D Awesome show and what an opportunity for you to participate in the closing ceremony. I will be waching, for sure!

  41. Alison Day Says:

    We PVR’d the ceremony (I’m on the West Coast of Canada) so my husband and I could watch it when he came home from work and the whole time I was looking for you! It was AWESOME!!! Jerusalem always brings tears to my eyes too and the Scot in me cried seeing Edinburgh Castle! Actually, children’s choirs tend to tear me up no matter what they sing!
    Enjoy the next 17 days!! I agree with your sentiments about leaving the last 7 years behind and embracing the Games for all their worth. During Vancouver 2010 there were some protesters, protesting the Games and I thought “WTF are you protesting? The Games are HERE you morons! There’s nothing you can do except enjoy them and show your Canadian pride!!” Clearly some people have trouble laying down their causes! anyway, have fun and I will for sure be looking for you in the Closing Ceremony!! So awesome!! Congrats!

  42. Tara Says:

    Thank you for Sharing your photos and perspective! I wish I was there – but I have my tv tuned in lol! And I think it’s so sweet that you are volunteering and helping direct the tourists. Can’t wait to see your part in the finale!

  43. Iliana Says:

    How awesome that you will be in the closing! I hope there will be someone there to capture the memories. Hope you do an Olympic Scrapfest series.

  44. Melissa Says:

    I was watching for you last night (just in case), so I’m glad to know where to look now – must set the TV to record the closing ceremonies! Your pictures are fab- thanks for sharing.

  45. Jackie A xxx Says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos, what a awesome experience for you to be involved with it all. I cried at the singing as well, and when Sir Steven Redgreaves and the old olympians gave up their chance to light the final flame to the young ones – true gold medalist in my book. Enjoy the rest of your volunteering and will set timer on my TV for the closing ceremony.

  46. Karla Says:

    Thanks for sharing! It must have been amazing to be there. Can’t wait to see what you do in the closing ceremony!

  47. Lynsey Says:

    Wow Shimelle, great pics! I watched it on telly and it looked amazing must be even better IRL!
    Hugs Lynsey x

  48. Darby Says:

    Have a great time Shimelle! Revel in it! :)

  49. Kathy Says:

    Hmmmm. Flickr tells me the link page is private and I can’t see it. Did I miss a step somehow?

  50. Renee W Says:

    Wonderful pictures!! I have decided that I will scrap some. I saved the rings, stadium and the industrial rev towers. Those were awesome! Thanks for allowing us to use these on our pages.

  51. Angela Dawes Says:

    I loved every minute of the opening ceremony – you’re so lucky to be in the middle of all of this!! Amazing pictures too.
    I can’t wait until the end of August, we will be in London for 2 weeks & hope to have tickets for the Para-Olympics – so excited to be part of this amazing history.

  52. Kristin A. Says:

    I can’t imagine the power of listening to the bells for three minutes. WOW! My hubby and I watched the opening ceremony last night (we’re in Seattle). It was absolutely incredible! Throughout the whole thing I was speculating if you were in it and watching for any glimpses. I kept guessing – dancing nurse, dancer through the decades, country sign holder, etc. So very excited for you to be participating in the closing ceremony! What an honor!

  53. Heatheranne Says:

    Loved the opening ceremony! Had the chance to spend the day in London today and had a ball – the atmosphere was amazing and all those guides were so helpful. We even took the train out to the Olympic Park just to get a bit closer to the event! Never thought I would be so interested because sport is a complete anathema to me!

  54. Louise Says:

    I’ve been waiting for you to post Shimelle. It must be so amazing to be involved……and there i was last night wishing i had some photos of the opening. Thank u so much for sharing xx

  55. Sue Says:

    we watched the ceremony in Australia and loved every minute of it…I was wondering if you would be in it. Will most definitely watch the close as well. Thanks so much for sharing the photos and I will use some for sure!! xxx

  56. Jude.x Says:

    Oh my! I was hating the thought of it until I got up yesterday morning, just in time to hear the bells, on the radio – I’d had no idea. Suddenly I’m really excited. My daughter told me two pieces of music, written by her fella were being used in the Opening Ceremony – and that was it; Hook, Line and Sinker! LOL Danny Boyle did us proud. I am sooo proud to be British. Great pictures – TFS and allowing us to share. Have a wonderful 16 days – and Closing Ceremony. (And the music? When the video played, showing the source of the Thames and following the river – that’s his; and then after David Bowies “Heroes” playing in Team GB had finished – his music started!)

  57. Kim Strother Says:

    I loved the opening ceremony! London ROCKED it big time!!!

  58. Kathy Rohe Says:

    I am so happy for you. It sounds like you are having so much fun. So kind of you to share your photos, thanks. I’ll be looking for you at the closing ceremony.

  59. Carrie Rosalind Says:

    Ooooh that is SO exciting! LOVED watching the opening ceremonies last night…can’t wait for the closing!

  60. Barb in AK Says:

    My favorite part of the Opening Ceremony was the lifting of the caldron! How amazing was that!!! Second best was the Queen segment. Third: The Jerusalem song. Beautiful! Oh and of course — the FIREWORKS! :-D I love them anywhere, anytime!
    Oh wow! I hope you stick your face right into the NBC camera during Closing Ceremony! I’ll be watching for you :-)

  61. GilmaH Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures,you are one pretty awosome person and best of luck for the closing ceremony, that is pretty cool!

  62. Monica Says:

    We are soexited over the London games since my husband was on a two year LDS mission in London some 30+ years ago and love the country and the people. He wish he could have been there right now!
    The opening cermony was amazing. The best ever. Will love to watch all the sports now!
    You are such a darling for letting us use your photos, thank you! Hope you enjoy every minute of it all!

  63. scrappysue Says:

    Shimelle, I’m so excited for you being in the closing ceremony, do hope we spot you!!! It all rather rocks that’s for sure. Thanks for your kindness in sharing your photos, I will want to put at least one in my Project Life. Enjoy the Olympics everyone! x

  64. Jen Hart Says:

    I went on Monday and it was magical, I still haven’t gotten over it :D I was so excited to see it again on friday. My neighbour, whom I had never met before, and I were clutching at each other’s sleeves and pointing to all the different aspects. Cried at Jerusalem and when the drummers were standing in front of us with that amaaaaazing beat and the rings raising, hair stood on end the whole way through.
    Congratulations on being a gamesmaker or ambassador, well done for helping and I cannot wait to see the closing ceremony now! Well I might enjoy the actual Olympics first :D xx

  65. Sandy G Says:

    What an awesome experience! Thank you for sharing your photos, and allowing us to use them.

    I’ll be looking out for you at the closing ceremony!

  66. Gerry Glowacki Says:

    How exciting! Truly a once in a lifetime experience. Congratulations on your role in closing ceremonies!

  67. Sinead Says:

    Wow I can only imagine the amazing-ness of it all Shimelle! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures and I cannot wait to catch you in the closing ceremony. If it’s anything like the opening, it will definitely be worth watching! Hope you are having a fabulous time :D xx

  68. Mel J Says:

    I was in London for the games today and was looking out for you when we’d lost our hotel – but there’s a lot of visions in pink and purple!

  69. Lynn Darda Says:

    thanks for sharing your incredible photos. I was at an outdoor event and missed viewing the opening ceremonies so I’m glad I got to see these. Enjoy your gig at the closing ceremonies.

  70. Lynne Rudolph Says:

    Shimelle! How awesome about the closing ceremony – I will be watching it on a big screen avidly searching for you! Thank you so much about your first-hand account of the opening ceremony; we watched with awe as those rings came together and thoroughly enjoyed the whole show…a tip of the cap to London!

  71. Marie Says:

    I have to confess I was watching out for your in the opening ceremony. I figured that was your olympic secret. Will keep our eyes out in the closing.
    We were blown away by opening ceremony. Loved it! Hope you’re having fun directing the tourists. xMx

  72. Laura Says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos and allowing their use. So psyched for you to be in the closing ceremonies!! We’ve got Olympic fever over here (U.S.) so can’t imagine how crazy cool it must be over there (amidst the inconveniences.)

  73. cjb Says:

    Thank you for sharing your photos. They are awesome!

  74. Sofia D. Says:

    Totally looked for you! I loved the transitions in the beginning and how awesome that JK Rowling read from Peter Pan?! Good luck in the closing and thanks for the sharing, will use for PL.

  75. Lisa M. Zepponi Says:

    So excited about the Olympics!! I kept looking for you in the opening ceremonies! I had decided you were carrying the country sign! But I am so glad to hear you will be dancing in the closing ceremonies!!! Can’t wait to see the layouts you will create! These are some incredible pics! Favorite part of the opening ceremonies was James bond and the queen “parachuting” into the arena!

  76. Kathy R Says:

    So excited for you! And, thank s for the great photos. I’ll be watching for you in the closing.

  77. Rachael Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the photos. When we got married the vicar wouldn’t let me have Jerusalem and it makes me feel extra teary because of that!!

  78. Sharon (Sherelm) Says:

    The reviews here are so positive for the opening ceremony – they said the UK had a tough act to follow (China) and knowing Brazil would no doubt do a bang up job, but many kudos to the Brits!

  79. j Says:

    Thanks for the post and photos. The attention to detail in the ceremony was amazing….some of the Suffragettes were played by their ancestors!

  80. Louise Rafter Says:

    Hi Shimelle, Thank you so much for sharing your incredible pictures, Wasnt it spectacular? I did wonder if you were there, now Ill really have my eyes peeled for the closing ceremony.

  81. Lynn W Says:

    Thank you for the amazing photographs. My daughter is volunteering in Canada Olympic House and having an absolutely amazing time in London. she has never travelled before and went all,that way by herself from Canada. She is staying with a home stay family in Hendon. Both she and I are scrap bookers and would love to use your photos because she was not able to see the opening ceremonies. She has many pictures from her adventure and these will help her to create a fabulous scrapbook of her adventure. I am wondering if you can tell me if there are any good Scrapbooking stores in London that she could go to to get Olympic scrapbook paper!! I hope you will great pictures of the closing ceremony as well.

  82. glee Says:

    yea! love your post; will be looking for you during the closing ceremonies. have fun, I know you are!!

  83. Miriam Rogers Says:

    Just to say thank you for the pictures Shimelle. The Olympics, just so wonderful. x

  84. Lynn W Says:

    I was wondering if you were able to get any photos of closing ceremonies that you will be sharing!!

  85. Germany Says:

    The national anthem of Germany is called ‘Lied der Deutschen’, which in English means ‘Song of the Germansa’. It was adopted in 1922. The lyrics have been written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben and the music has been composed by Joseph Haydn.

  86. Germany Says:

    The national anthem of Germany is called ‘Lied der Deutschen’, which in English means ‘Song of the Germansa’. It was adopted in 1922. The lyrics have been written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben and the music has been composed by Joseph Haydn.

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    really enjoying this post

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