2040: It's only gone and stopped raining. I don't know who's powerful enough to make that happen, but that is some trick. Dark is closing in at the Olympic Stadium in London, the odd flashlight is going off inside, and we are seriously close to the start of the Opening Ceremony now.
THE 2012 OLYMPICS IN NUMBERS
According to LOCOG, (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), these are the key stats for London 2012:
- 26 sports
- 39 disciplines
- 34 venues
- 8.8 million tickets
- 10,490 athletes
- 204 National Olympic Committees
- 302 medal events
- 21,000 media/broadcasters
- 17 competition days
- 2,961 technical officials
- 5,770 team officials
- 5,000 anti-doping samples
2117: WOW. Giant smoking chimney stacks burst from the ground before thrusting into the sky. It's all gone very mechanical, you can't see the countryside anymore. There go the Suffragettes - the movement that obtained votes for women in the UK. This will be the most British thing you ever see in your entire life. Am I allowed to well up?
2122: Honestly, if you can't see this right now, make you do as soon as you can. It's hauntingly magnificent. Passengers from the Empire Windrush, which arrived in 1948 carrying 493 Jamaicans aiming to start new lives in the UK, appear, before a gaggle of Chelsea pensioners and then the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel takes center stage.
2126: The scene ends with steel workers appearing to create a giant ring from molten steel which rises up from the ground to form part of a fiery Olympic rings. The actors promptly applaud the audience inside the Olympic Stadium. Magical. Hang on, here comes James Bond...
2128: You don't need pics, Ben - let me tell you the story... OK, this is the best bit by miles - Daniel Craig, as James Bond, is in Buckingham Palace meeting the Queen. The actual Queen of England, Elizabeth II! It's really her! Bond has to cough to get the Queen's attention, before they jump (they didn't jump) into a helicopter and fly across London. Guess where they're going...
2131: Scratch that - this is the new best bit. Um, it is strongly inferred that James Bond and the Queen of England jump out of a helicopter into the Olympic Stadium below. And now here is the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year, along with the Duke of Edinburgh. Massive applause - let's be fair, we all love the Queen, don't we?
2136: Golden. After the armed forces get involved and a children's choir sing the National Anthem, we've got the background sound of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells music. We're celebrating the National Health Service, and some of the beds have been arranged to spell the word 'Gosh'. Again, the visual effect is stunning.
Lord Sebastian Coe:
"To my fellow countrymen, I say thank you - thank you for making all this possible. In the next two weeks we will show all that has made London one of the greatest cities in the world. The only city to have welcomed the Games three times. Our history has prepared us for today. This is our time."
IOC chief Jacques Rogge:
"Thank you London for welcoming the world to this vibrant, cosmopolitan city once again. I want to thank the organising committee, led by the excellent Lord Coe, for their hard work. And to the volunteers who have been so generous with their time, their energy and their welcoming smiles."
0016: Yes it is, Piers. No question. By the way, Jacques Rogge is still talking. We've literally got seconds left until the Olympic flame is lit. Oh my word I don't think I've ever been this excited...
IOC President Jacques Rogge:
"I now have the honor of asking the Queen to open the Games."
Queen Elizabeth II:
"I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era."
0020: Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered in 1993, is one of the people carrying the Olympic flag into the stadium, along with Ban Ki-Moon and Haile Gebrselassie. It's tear-jerker after tear-jerker tonight.
0021: My word, there's Muhammad Ali - and you will never hear a cheer as loud as the one he just got at the Olympic Stadium. I'm struggling here...
0025: We're listening to the Olympic Hymn now. Not a dry eye left in the house, I'll bet. Now we're going to see what's happened to the Olympic torch - we're with David Beckham on the River Thames again. Who's he going to pass to? It's Sir Steven Redgrave, Great Britain's five-time Olympic champion.
0026: Sir Steven Redgrave is carrying the torch into the Olympic Stadium. But is he going to light the flame?
0030: The torch, which has travelled 12,800 miles on its journey, appears in the Olympic Stadium to wild cheers, accompanied by the men and women who built the Olympic Park. Here is Sir Steven Redgrave, who won gold medals at five Olympics in a row from 1984 to 2000. I don't think I'll ever not have goosebumps again. Hang on, he's passed the torch on to a bunch of kids...!