London (Sun, May 06) – The Olympic stadium to be used for the 2012 London Olympics Games was formally opened on Saturday by a 9-year-old schoolgirl who lives down the road. The stadium was opened 82 days (2,012 hours) ahead of the scheduled kick off of the event in July 27.
Niamh Clarke-Willis from east London
stood along Lord Sebastian Coe on stage during a unique event at the venue
where she pressed a button, releasing 1,000 white balloons into the sky.
|Niamh Clarke-Willis, 9-year-old schoolgirl, opens Olympics stadium along with Sebastian Coe|
Over 40,000 spectators watched as a flow of white balloons exactly 2,012 hours before the Games begin. Capping off an evening of music, comedy and fun sports events, Paralympic gold medal-winning archer Danielle Brown shot arrows at spinning targets to select the name of a youngster in the audience to open the east London stadium. Niamh Clarke-Willis emerged as the lucky one to join the Lord Coe on the stage.
Coe, himself an Olympic gold medallist, said it felt "barely believable" to be opening the stadium, adding: "I'm just so grateful to everybody who's come here tonight to help us celebrate this moment in history."
"The seven years have just flown by," he said. "Tonight is only the start of the story. We want thousands of young people to be inspired to take up sport. We hope that for a few of them it will be the start of their journey."
Saturday's event, named "2012 Hours to Go: An Evening of Athletics and Entertainment", allowed organisers to test the Olympic Park's airport-style security checks.
It was also a major test of London's transport system ahead of the Games as the Underground train network's Jubilee line, which serves the stadium, was further crammed with football fans leaving the FA Cup final in north London.
The crowds at the stadium watched as Olympic rowing champion Steve Redgrave and "Downton Abbey" actor Hugh Bonneville joined other celebrities and sport stars in a series of fun contests to test out the running track.
Former Spice Girl Melanie C and comedian Jack Whitehall performed, while the Military Wives, a group of British soldiers' wives whose charity single topped the charts last Christmas, led a rendition of the national anthem.
Earlier, students had tested out the stadium as part of the British Universities and Colleges Sport championships.
Watch the glimpses of the event in the video clip below:
Report Tags: London, London Olympics, London Olympics 2012, 2012 London Olympics, London Olympics Stadium, olympics Stadium, Video, Youtube, Niamh Clarke-Willis, Sebastian Coe