Let the London Games Begin

According to London’s official visitor guide, tonight’s Opening Ceremony parade will feature 10,000 athletes from 205 nations. Award-winning film directors Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot”) will oversee what is sure to be the UK’s biggest-ever live show.

In honor of tonight’s festivities, here are a few historical points of interest about the Opening Ceremony:

  • The first opening ceremonies were held during the 1908 Olympic Games in London. 
  • The procession of athletes is always led by the Greek team, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order (in the language of the hosting country), except for the last team, which is always the team of the hosting country. 
  • The Olympic flame is a practice continued from the ancient Olympic Games. It first appeared in the modern Olympics at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.  The Olympic Torch Relay was added in 1936.  The torch is passed from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city, and then kept lit until the Games have concluded.

Go here for other interesting Olympic facts.