London Olympics start

The 30th Olympic Games are going on in London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. The opening ceremony was held on July 27, and was watched on TV by over one billion people. Queen Elizabeth II, the current Queen of the United Kingdom, officially declared the Games open. The ceremony showed a video of James Bond (played by Daniel Craig, the current actor who plays as James Bond) and the Queen (played by the Queen herself) taking a helicopter ride to reach the Games. You can watch the video here

One of the unique features of the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games is how the flame in the Olympic Cauldron is lit. In these Games, the cauldron is a structure made out of 204 petals, where each petal represents a competing nation. At the opening ceremony, the petals were laying flat, and some of the petals were lit. The flame spread to all the petals, and once all the petals were lit, they lifted to form one large flame. Here is a video.

The oldest competitor at these Games is Hiroshi Hoketsu, a 71-year old Japanese equestrian rider.  Michael Phelps, the  27-year-old American swimmer, set a record for having won the most number of medals at the Olympic Games. He now has a total of 22 medals. The previous record was set by Larisa Latynina, a Soviet gymnast, 48 years ago. She won a total of 18 medals. Phelps also has the most number of gold medals (18) at the Olympic Games. The person who runs the fastest 100 meters gets the title of the “fastest man on Earth”.  This race was won by Usain Bolt, the 25-year old Jamaican runner. He ran the race in 9.63 seconds. (He holds the world record at 9.58 seconds that he set in 2009.) He is nicknamed “lightning bolt”.

The Olympic flag has a white background with five interlaced rings with different colors – blue, yellow, black, green, and red. At least one of these colors appears on every national flag of the world at the present time. The five rings represent the five parts of the world that come together for the Olympics: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Did you know?

Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter, was the oldest athlete ever to compete in the Olympics. He was 72 years old when he competed in the 1920 Olympic Games.

Image Credits: eageriseager for the Olympic cauldron’s image, Marylandstater for Phelps’ image, Erik van Leeuwen for Bolt’s image