1900: Ladies and gentlemen, the Paralympics have come home. Gather round if you will. In 1948 a German doctor caring for World War II veterans outside of London came up with a revolutionary idea for getting his patients out of their hospital beds – a wheelchair archery contest.
Almost 70 years later Dr Ludwig Guttmann’s ‘lightbulb moment’ paved the way for an internationally recognized sporting event bringing together more than 4,000 disabled athletes from 166 countries…
1903: Welcome to the London 2012 Paralympics.
1927: OK, so the flame is running a little behind schedule. Around 75 minutes in fact. But what’s the big rush? Get comfortable because there’s a multimillion pound stadium spectacular show to watch.
The Opening Ceremony is due to kick off around 8.30pm London time.
1937: Cast your mind back to July 27 and it was all roller-skating nuns and the Queen jumping out of a helicopter. There probably won’t be any flying royals this time around (and fingers crossed Harry keeps his clothes on) but there is a zip line positioned teasingly above the Olympic Stadium…
1939: This time it’s all about one word: Enlightenment. All right, two: The Enlightenment. You know, that intellectual revolution which occurred between 1550 and 1720?
1940: As London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe has told us to expect:
“Everything from Newton making sense of gravity and motion to Napier with logarithms and Harvey with blood circulation.
“It's really about ceilings, about human understanding, about limitations and the importance of knowledge. Within that period some quite profound things were being said about the rights of man. You can probably gather what it's trying to say.”
1946: Which means expect apples, glass ceilings, LED lights and a special narrator…none other than Mr Stephen Hawking.
2003: Over the next 11 days of competition, Paralympians will be competing for over 500 gold medals across a range of disciplines. From Boccia to "Murderball", you won’t miss a medal with our live blog. Just under 30 minutes until the Opening Ceremony begins, the excitement is certainly building.
2015: In a nod to Isaac Newton and his sterling work with gravity, every member of the crowd at the Olympic Stadium has been given an apple. Why? You ask, the answer is simple – an attempt to break the world record for the most people crunching into an apple at one time. Setting world records before the competition has started? Well done, London 2012.
2018: What do you love about the Paralympics? The inspiring tales? The eyecatching sports? The uplifting sentiment?
Or perhaps, like London Mayor Boris Johnson, it's just the brutality of wheelchair basketball: "I went to watch the Paralympic basketball at Beijing and it was far more violent then I imagined."
2029: Opening Ceremony....HERE WE GO!
2034: From the Big Bang to a big umbrella...It's Rihanna kids. Rihanna!
2039: Professor Stephen Hawking tells the 80,000-strong crowd and people all over the world:
"Look up at the stars, and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious...
"...however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at."
2045: It's the Queen! No helicopter?
2046: The Union Jack, carried by service men and women is now being carried around the stadium to some serious trumpets.
Ok, thoughts so far?
2055: And here they come. The athletes start entering the stadium for a lap of the track. Led by giant umbrellas no less. A big difference to the Olympics where they enter at the end of the show.
2057: The athletes pour into the stadium, one of the first of them is the incredible Fahim Rahimi. The 32-year-old lost a leg after stepping on a landmine at the age of 12 and he is Afghanistan’s sole representative at the Games. Surely Rahimi, who will compete in the men’s -75kg powerlifting competition, is the epitome of the Paralympic spirit?
2103: Myself and Tom have made a pact to try and not overdo the word 'inspiring' these Paralympics. But well, it's pretty hard.
Take Martine Wright for example...
2107: Ok, we're backtracking a bit here. But some of you have asked what actor Sir Ian McKellen was doing in the opening moments. He was acting out some of Shakespeare’s famous play The Tempest.
Hang on a second and I'll tell you exactly what that means...
2112: He was of course playing protagonist Prospero and the lady in the flying wheelchair was his daughter Miranda.
2117: Athletes continue to make their way around the track. We’re up to China now, who topped the Paralympic medal table on home soil four years ago with an astonishing 221 medals and 89 golds. Second in Beijing was Team GB, who will be out to top the Chinese this time around. It’s a little while yet before the host nation arrive in the stadium, expect an explosion of noise when they do.
2125: Croatia out in the stadium now, among the team is swimmer Mihovil Spanja. He goes in the S7 100m backstroke tomorrow, when he will hope to earn a first Paralympic gold medal after three bronzes in 2004.
2135: The German ladies enter the occasion looking resplendent in pink. We’re roughly halfway through the procession, I will be surprised and impressed in equal measure if any team can top those vibrant jackets. The style stakes have been upped!