London 2012 Summer Olympics were officially opened yesterday (July 27) by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. These games make London the only city to have hosted the Olympic Games thrice — in 1908, 1948 and 2012. Let us find out more about these Games so that you can enjoy and understand it more.
The opening ceremony, titled The Isles of Wonder was directed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, with the music by Rick Smith and Karl Hyde of the electronic music duo, Underworld. The Games are scheduled to include 26 sports and a total of 39 disciplines, with over 14,000 athletes from 205 Olympic teams and 170 Paralympic teams will be competing at the London 2012 Games.
The Games will come to an end on 12 August 2012, and as is the tradition, after the Olympic Games, on the same venues 2012 Summer Paralympic Games will take place between 29 August 2012 and 9 September 2012, when athletes with disabilities, from all over the world, will compete.
Many of you must know that the Olympic Rings that are seen on almost everything related to the Games, are five interlocking rings that stand for the five original continents, (Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe) and are in the colours blue, yellow, black, green and red respectively. They were chosen because at least one of these colours is found on the flag of every nation.
The Olympic motto is ‘Swifter, higher, stronger’, that encourage athletes to give his or her best during the competitions. There are also Olympic values that the sports men and women are supposed to adhere to and these are ‘friendship, excellence and respect’, while for the Paralympic Games nurtures the following values: inspiration, determination, courage and equality.
Since the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, each Games have had an official mascot or more than one, reflecting something of that country and its people. Cartoon animations named Wenlock and Mandeville are the mascots for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively. Wenlock is named after the small town of Much Wenlock where the Wenlock Olympian Society held its first Olympian Games in 1850 and Mandeville is in honour to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, which first organised a competition for injured soilders and is considered as the birthplace the Paralympic Games.
Wenlock and Mandeville are animations with skins made of highly polished steel and so they reflect the personalities and appearances of the people they meet. They have just one central eye, which is actually a camera lens that films whatever they see — truly modern mascots for sure. Both have a yellow light on top of their head, with their initial in the middle, and they were the Olympic rings as friendship bracelets.
Wenlock has three points on it head represent the three places on the podium. The body, though mainly silver in colour, also contains flashes of gold and bronze and the Olympic logo, while the shape on the front of its head reflects the shape of the Olympic stadium roof.
Mandeville is basically the official Paralympics mascot for London 2012 and on its head are three prongs that represent the three parts of the Paralympic emblem. Mandeville’s tale and hands are aerodynamic to represent ‘Spirit in motion’ the Paralympic moto.
The official song for London 2012 is Survival, by the English band Muse and you are sure to hear it a lot during the next few days.
The 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals are kept in the Tower of London, which also stores the Crown Jewels, till they will be awarded in 805 victory ceremonies, taking place from today. The Olympic medal features the Greek goddess of victory, Nike on the front, stepping out of the Panathenaic stadium and on the back is the River Thames, under the London 2012 logo.
The Paralympic medal has a section of one of Nike's wings on the front and a depiction of the surface close to her heart on the other. But those athletes who will miss winning the gold, they should not feel dejected because the gold medals are not fully made of gold. In fact they are made of 92.5 per cent silver, 1.34 per cent gold and the rest copper; the silver medal is 92.5 per cent silver, the rest copper; and bronze medal is made of 97 per cent copper, 2.5 per cent zinc, 0.5 per cent tin. The medals weight 375-400g and are 85mm across and 7mm thick.