Olympics Watch: What Was Your Favorite Moment From the 2012 Opening Ceremonies?

Simply smashing! That pretty much sums up Friday night’s spectacular, occasionally mind-bending, and wonderfully irreverent (Queen Elizabeth, you go girl!) Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Trying to single out a most memorable moment from NBC’s extensive primetime coverage would be akin to choosing the most dazzling shot in a Roger Federer five-setter, but here goes.

Amidst all the Union Jack-inspired pageantry, angel-voiced school children, and cameos showcasing Britain’s most shining stars –- Kenneth Branagh, J.K. Rowling, Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean), David Beckham, Sir Paul McCartney, to name a few — my absolute favorite moment had to be the eye-popping sight of Queen Elizabeth II (the real one, not Helen Mirren) arriving at the opening ceremonies by popping out of a helicopter and parachuting her way into Olympic Stadium, with companion James “007” Bond (Daniel Craig) in tow.

Cue the Bond theme, Liz is in da howse! Let the Games begin!

Of course, the 85-year-old monarch’s spectacularly daring entrance was actually part of a short film (watch it here) directed by London resident and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (also the opening ceremony’s Artistic Director, talk about multi-tasking!), but I loved the unabashedly British wit and “let’s not take ourselves so seriously” sentiment. This promises to be a Summer Games to remember.

What was your favorite or most inspiring moment from the Opening Ceremonies? Which flag bearer rocked his or her country’s costumes the best? Leave your comments below!–Mitch Rustad

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159 Comments
  1. alexde80 says:

    Not Good… Not good at all…

  2. RUCookie says:

    I loved the Doves on bicycles riding around the stadium and one accending into the sky – it was beautiful.

    • coke24 says:

      Ah, I didn’t register that they were dove’s at first, however having recently read about the tragedy at the Seoul games where the doves were all burned alive, I saw that since then, doves are to be kept in the games but symbolic. I was just wondering what happened to them when your post gave me the much needed flashback. Thanks for that :)

  3. Katerina says:

    i really hated it …what was the theme had to do with the olympics??? in one word boring !!!!

    • coke24 says:

      Coubertin (the father and creator of the modern day olympics) wanted the games to be about Sport and Artistic achievements. To celebrate the artistic side, the general rule is that the for the opening ceremony, “The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, singing, dance, and theater representative of its culture, history, and the current Olympic game motto” (in this case, “inspire a generation.”)

      no matter how boring you personally found it, you can’t deny that it didn’t fit the theme of the Olympics????

  4. Bernadete says:

    The Queen and 007, Sir Paul (‘Na na na na na na na na na na na HEY JUDE!), Mr. Bean and his keyboard. But what I really loved was that dance sequence where they showed some of britain greatest musicians: The Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Queen, David Bowie, Sex Pistols among others!

  5. mia says:

    While I was grateful the CTV coverage here in Canada wasn’t full of too much commentary, the broadcast cut out a bunch of great bits like JKR and the Mary Poppins thing.
    .
    The Bond/Queen bit was fab (and her corgies!?) As was the Mr Bean bit (so funny!). I also really liked the industrial revolution stuff.
    .
    There was too much time spent on the journey through music section. Got kinda boring after a while. They could have cut that down to include some more iconical things.

  6. Matthew says:

    I turned it off because I couldn’t stand Matt and Meredith’s commentary on what we were seeing. We aren’t idiots!!!

  7. dave says:

    Here in Italy they showed the whole thing without commercials or interviews, but unfortunately we have to listen to our stupid commentary, too…even though it was made by former italian athletes, at least they knew what they were talking about…

  8. Bobby says:

    I loved that part where they walked around in a circle for two hours. Riveting television.

    • coke24 says:

      not really something to criticise it for though, it’s a fundamental part of all the games. Not sure where you are from, but the UK presenters kept saying that this year (because there’s more countries and athletes than previous games) they had to speed up the procession. You could see the girls carrying the country signs trying to move them faster. Also, that’s why they had the drummers all the way round and a fast tempo, to encourage the athletes to walk faster. If it had gone at the standard pace, we’d still be watching it now!!!

  9. Lorie says:

    The Queen rocked! The 80’s music had me dancing in front of my TV, although I was surprised they didn’t include Duran Duran (unless I missed it). Bob & Matt were getting on my last nerve. Do they never get tired of hearing their own voices?! I said “Shut up” out loud countless times.

    • Deena says:

      I am so glad someone else noticed Duran Duran was missing from the 80s music! I mean, there was so much wrong with last night but if you are celebrating British music, how do you leave out the band that practically ruled pop music for more than half that decade? Unless NBC was in commercials which wouldn’t surprise me.

      • coke24 says:

        I agree that I would have loved to see them too but it’s possibly had more to do with the fact that they were playing live to ticket holders in Hyde Park in front of the big screens. They had Paolo Nuttini, Sterophonics, Snow Patrol and Duran Duran to represent Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England respectively. The concert was run alongside the ceremony finishing round about the same time apparently

  10. Lime says:

    I loved it, but I love all of the opening ceremonies. There were some parts that I was baffled by, but overall came away with a good impression.

    Favorite parts: the music in the beginning, starting with the young soloist and going through the raising of the rings. The drumming was so powerful! Kenneth Branagh. Mr Bean (but mostly because I enjoy slow motion running to the Chariots of Fire theme). The cutest, fattest corgis EVER! I also loved the torch/cauldron-how special was it that each country carried a piece of it in to the stadium?

    Least favorite parts: the children’s stories sequence. Way too long, in my opinion. I get why it was there, the great tradition of English storytellers, but there was way too much. Also Frankie and June, for the same reason. Featuring the best of Britain’s music was important, but could have been handled better.

    As for people complaining that China’s was better, I disagree. All opening ceremonies are supposed to reflect the culture and the histories of the host nation. China’s was grand, on the scale that only China could provide. Great Britain produced a show that perfectly reflected British sensibilities, on a scale that was comfortable to them. To me, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Stop worrying about it and just enjoy the show!

  11. Trisch says:

    Oh my gosh, I was waiting for a Doctor Who moment myself!! But I did finally see that Matt Smith (my doctor) got to run with the torch. All in all, I thought it was great! I didn’t care at all for the commentary, but I don’t care for the Today show people anyway.

  12. alisonfaith297 says:

    MR BEAN:)

  13. iella says:

    The rising of the chimneys and the forging of the rings was EPIC! The petals were very beautiful and as for the rest…it certainly wasn’t dull, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed glued to the telly for 3 3/4 hours! (BBC)

  14. Kristen says:

    I truly didn’t get the whole dance about the internet.. I thought that it was kinda cool that he was British but really didn’t understand why it needed a generation thing.

    • coke24 says:

      because the World Wide Web was created before most of those kids were born, yet it paved the way for social networking which is such a huge part of life today. I think it was meant to get the younger generations to appreciate why life is the way it is, but also to think what the world will be like in another 20 years from now. Actually it wouldn’t surprise me if a load of 18/19 year olds out there were watching this thinking, “OMG, the inventor if the WWW is still alive?” not realising how recent a discovery it actually is.

  15. Rick witham says:

    NBC should be ashamed. Talk about dragging out a recorded event. They actually made a nice evening very frustrating. Let Canadian TV broadcast the event tor all of North America
    .

  16. Nancy says:

    NBC’s coverage was dreadful. The camera shots were badly done, and the editing was disjointed. As Americans, do we relly need Meredith, Matt, and whomever else translate from English to English? I imagine that the ceremony was so much better in person.

  17. Pat says:

    My favourite part was David Beckham on the boat, my least favourite Paul McCartney, I don’t know why they keep dragging him out now that his voice has gone, closely followed by the internet section, I switched over when that was on, is that the Frankie and June thing that people are referring to? I was surprised that there was no reference to Charles Dickens as he was one of our greatest writers and is world famous, and yet so much was made of our NHS which I found boring and would have been confusing for the rest of the World

    • coke24 says:

      They did make reference to Oliver Twist which is Charles Dickens (albeit it didn’t get as much press as JK and JM)

  18. Selek says:

    NBC, like the rest of American media, sort treats its audience with disdain and panders to the lowest common denominator. Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer and Bob Costas vomited the worst jingoistic pretend-we-care-about-other-countries-but-we-really-don’t I’ve ever listened too, Their color commentary was insulting, boorish and completely unnecessary. But because they think all American’s are dumb hicks, they have to spell stuff out in with huge letters because they assume most, if not all of us, won’t get it.

    What the heck was Ryan Seacrest doing there as well?

    I’m sorry my two years of college made me smarter than the average American, but I clearly understood what was going on with out those nimrods talking over the imagery. Danny Boyle did a fantastic job, and deserves the accolades for pulling off something that has been done horribly before.

    American is not the greatest nation in the world, and the arrogant discussions about the opening ceremonies shows how we are horrible in acknowledging another country like Great Britain could pull something this spectacular off.

    NBC deserves an F for Lauer, Costas and Vieira (who is not horrible as compared to the other two wastes of skins). This is why the Peacock Network is in third place. By putting profit and shareholder value over logic and doing what’s right, they’ve scrapped the barrel in what should be an awesome coming together of nations.

  19. V says:

    Horrible, really.

  20. Mikey says:

    Folks who are complaining about every thing…you guys are the problem. You look for a reason to be unhappy. I was moved a number of times, and personally Bob Costas commentary was a highlight. So perhaps you might think of taking yourself a little less seriously.

  21. Daniel says:

    I thought they were spectacular, I was a very proud Brit. We had our own commentator issues (Trevor Nelson????) but on the whole it was a good night, endless procession not withstanding. Danny Boyle did a great job.

    Perhaps there should have been The Doctor in it. But in a show like this, you’re never going to hit all the icons and he’s current enough to take it – new series soon remember. We rarely get to see new Mr. Bean, and to have Bond with the actual Queen and not someone like Jeanette Charles was priceless.

    Have to say I’m very impressed with some of the comments on this thread, a far cry from the blinkered American stereotype we see so much – love for the Artic Monkeys is particularly pleasing. Now, if you could just get that idiot Romney to take his views and stick them somewhere the sun doesn’t shine hopefully we can all be better off :)

  22. Hutch says:

    Overall I enjoyed the opening ceremony, though after reading these comments I may have to watch it online to see the parts NBC cut. Don’t understand why we can’t get the full show when other countries do. Anyway, loved the Queen and 007, Rowan Atkinson, and the tour through British children’s lit and music.

    Liked the symbolism of lighting the torch, but the BEST EVER torch lighting was Barcelona. The archer launching a perfect arrow to light the torch was breathtaking!

  23. CJ says:

    My son and I watched and we both thought it was AMAZING. It was even better when we watched it the 2nd time in 3d

  24. hum... says:

    So here is what I got out of the opening ceremony.
    GB used to be beautiful, then in a bid by some greedy men they forced many of their people to trash their country creating an environmental nightmare (yay!) Which then lead to a national health care system which was needed because it seems that smoke stacks pumping out toxic fumes cause bed fulls of small children who, it also seems have horrible nightmares. (This may be because there is a good tradition of writers in the country and people read scary books to their kids or potentially due to toxins in the air?) But don’t worry, Mary Poppins will save them.
    These kids will then grow up to be attached to their cell phones, and party in clubs (if any one knows the history of the music you will follow me on this next line) and most likely end up doing drugs and possibly become angry punks.
    Over all the whole thing was very disjointed and odd. If you are going to pick the best of your country to open the Olympics, I get showing comedians and musicians and writers and “Chariots of Fire” but I am not sure I understand smoke stacks, protestors, and the like.

  25. melanie says:

    Katie Taylor carrying the Irish Flag into the stadium brought a tear of pride to me!

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