Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bang for the Buck(ingham Palace): Olympics start in London with Opening Ceremonies

By: Olivia Arbogast
All eyes were on England last night as the Opening Ceremonies kicked off the 2012 Summer Olympics. Fans from all over the world gathered around the city to watch the ceremony, filling places from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park to Green Park.
In a small nook in the middle of London, more than 1,000 eager spectators watched the events unfold on a small projector in the Duke of York Square, by Sloan Square.
The countdown for the London Olympics began more than seven years ago when it was first announced that the city won the bid for the games. The sign in Trafalgar Square displayed the countdown until the final minutes.
“We run lots of events with the projection screen,” said Will Lewis, the manager of Duke of York Square. “We did throughout the summer … for a variety of events, including Wimbledon, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the English National Ballet.”
The spectators stayed actively involved throughout the ceremony, standing when “God Save the Queen” played and cheering for Mary Poppins when she defeated Lord Voldemort.
“I’m not going to lie, my expectations were very low for the opening ceremonies,” said Patrick White, of London. “But I was close to tears within the first five minutes of the ceremonies. It exceeded everything I thought it would be, and I loved how they highlighted the Industrial Revolution.”
Hadrian’s Wall native, Anna Roberts, agreed.
“Everything is usually underplayed in England,” she said. “Expectations are never built very high. It was interesting to see how they chose to represent the country – from an engineer to J.K. Rowling to a couple of different musicians.”
Not even rain could detour the audience as gray clouds threatened the event all evening and well into the night.
“We actually wanted it to rain a little more so people would leave,” Roberts said. Then, he said, there'd be better seating for them.
But seating was not in short supply, as Lewis brought in extra chairs for spectators, as well as extra security guards.
Viewers gather in the Duke of York Square to watch the Opening
Ceremonies. BBC reported more than 27 million viewers for
the ceremonies, 
“This is a very unique occasion,” Lewis said. “It is always difficult to guess the crowd, but we figured that it was going to be big. We hired a bunch of extra security for this event in particular to watch for crowd control that sort of thing.”
Vendors from around the area set up tents to offer their services to the spectators.
“All of the vendors belong to the square – 35 all together,” Lewis said. “It is a prime local area, and this event helps them to get the word out about their services.”
In addition to the Opening Ceremony, Lewis said that the square would also be projecting the Games for nine more days.
“We will also be showing the 100-meter dash and the closing ceremonies, among other events,” he said.

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