Azerbaijani President and his spouse attend the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 Olympic Games (PHOTO)
The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games has taken place at the 90,000-seat Olympic Stadium in the British capital. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva attended the ceremony.
London has already hosted the Olympic Games on two occasions, in 1908 and 1948. More than 10,000 athletes from 205 nations will compete for a total of 302 gold medals in 36 kinds of sport in London.
The Opening Ceremony called "The Isles of Wonder" has been designed and coordinated by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle.The $42 million-ceremony featured the largest harmonically-tuned bell in the world, as well as a rain-producing cloud.
Performers dressed as miners and factory workers have also been seen going into the stadium, and one set piece is a model of the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948.
After the Olympic Anthem was played athletes from each country participating in the Olympics paraded in the Olympic Stadium, preceded by their flag. Per tradition, the national team of Greece entered first, as the progenitor of the Olympic Games, and the host country - Great Britain - marched into the stadium last.
Azerbaijan`s team in the Parade of Nations included more than 100 athletes, coaches and specialists led by chef de mission Ilham Madatli. Azerbaijan`s flag bearer was judo fighter Elnur Mammadli, the national team`s captain, a Beijing Olympic champion.
President of Azerbaijan, president of the National Olympic Committee Ilham Aliyev warmly greeted the Azerbaijani team from the stadium`s VIP area.
Some 53 Azerbaijani athletes will vie for Olympic medals in 16 kinds of sport, making debut in such events as cycling, rowing, women`s boxing, and artistic gymnastics.
Once all the nations arrived into the Stadium, chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) Seb Coe gave a speech, followed by President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge. They ended their speeches by inviting Queen Elizabeth II to officially declare the Games open.
This followed by an Oath taking ceremony, which saw a participating athlete, judge and coach from the Host Nation stand on the rostrum and, holding a corner of the IOC flag in their left hand and raising their right, take the Oath, vowing to compete and judge according to the rules of their respective sport.
The big finale was the entrance of the Olympic Flame into the Stadium. It was passed through the athletes to the final Torchbearer, who ceremoniously lit the Cauldron, indicating the beginning of the Games. The Flame will continue to burn for the whole of the Games.
The four-hour Opening Ceremony was watched by an estimated audience of four billion worldwide.
In Azerbaijan, the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was broadcast live by the Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, and Idman Azerbaijan channel.
The Azerbaijani athletes will be in action in the Olympic Games from July 28.