Putting an end to London's seven-year countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games, the biggest sporting extravaganza of this year finally began with a nearly four-hour long opening ceremony Friday night.
The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games was a colorful, fanciful and dramatic celebration of the host country, and as Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle said, it was a "celebration of the creativity, exuberance and, above all, the generosity of the British people."
There was no celebrated Olympian to light the cauldron that will keep on burning until Aug 12. Instead, the organizers chose seven young athletes to do the honor, thus symbolizing the London Olympic Games' idealistic aphorism to "inspire a generation."
Boyle, who masterminded the show, paid homage to some of the greatest moments of the British history - from Jerusalem to The Jam's "Going Underground" to Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers," from National Health Servide (NHS) to British literature and many more. He also included a sequence showing a stunt, in which the 86-year-old Queen, along with Daniel Craig, entered the stadium by parachuting in from a helicopter.
Popular music of the United Kingdom from club music to rock was also celebrated with picture flash backs of the old times to the present. While kissing scenes including Prince Williams and Kate Middleton on their wedding day depicted love and affection, Emeli Sande's hymn "Abide With Me" to a gripping choreography soothed all the spectators out there.
The flaming Olympic rings going high up in the sky was also one of the eye-catching scenes of the wonderful London evening.
The thousands of audience, packing the Olympic stadium to watch the opening ceremony worth around $33.23 million (£27 million) included wholehearted Londoners, celebrities and dignitaries including U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama as well as presidents, prime ministers and European royalty, The Telegraph reported.
This was the first time when the parade of athletes included a woman in every country's team. Three Muslim countries - Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar - finally included women into their squad, with the latter two marked the occasion with female flag bearers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Following speech by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, Queen Elizabeth declared open the third Summer Games to be held in London to cheers of the 80,000 people at Olympic stadium in Stratford.
Have a look at the videos and photos of top moments from the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony below.
The Olympic Cauldron REUTERS
Fireworks set off during opening ceremony of London 2012, 27 July. REUTERS
Team GB athletes' parade REUTERS
The Olympic Cauldron REUTERS
The seven young athletes who lit the Olympic Cauldron REUTERS
A performance during opening ceremony of London 2012, 27 July. REUTERS
The Olympic cauldron is seen alight during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium. Reuters