Residents to get preview of Games opening

DannyBoyle and model of ceremony. Pic: London2012

Tower Hamlets residents are being given  the chance for a sneak preview of the eagerly awaited Olympic opening ceremony, which is being directed by Oscar-winning Danny Boyle.

As a Mile End resident Boyle was keen to get the local community involved, therefore 800 tickets for the technical rehearsal of the ceremony are up for grabs for Tower Hamlets residents. The rehearsal takes place on July 23.

The opening ceremony for every Olympics and Paralympics is a moment of spectacle where the host country expresses their pride in holding this worldwide event by putting on a fantastic show. The lucky applicants will get a sneak preview of the ceremony that is set to attract a billion television viewers worldwide.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “I want to make sure that Tower Hamlets residents have every opportunity to feel part of the Games and am thrilled that residents will have the chance to watch the opening ceremony technical rehearsal.”

“The ceremony is a great platform for London to celebrate the best of what London has to offer to the world. Lucky residents who apply will have the opportunity to have an exclusive look at what to expect on July 27.”

The performance is said to be designed to celebrate all things British – with the Olympic Stadium being transformed in British countryside. Boyle does not do things by halves so real farmyard animals including 70 sheep, 12 horses, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, 9 geese and 3 sheepdogs will feature in the performance for authenticity.

The animals will perform alongside 10,000 volunteers who have been rehearsing for months in the hope of wowing spectators. It has been announced that Underworld will provide the soundtrack to the show, but there are also rumors that Brit-pop band Blur will make an appearance.

Tower Hamlets residents have until Thursday July 12 at 11.59 to apply for tickets. To apply visit:

The borough’s central role in the Games is being further highlighted by the storage of the Olympic medals  in the Tower of London.

The 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals are currently being housed alongside the Crown Jewels in the historic building.

Yesterday, Jan du Plessis, chairman of Rio Tinto, the mining company that provided the precious metals handed the completed medals over to Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) so that they can be kept in the Tower for safekeeping ahead of the 805 victory ceremonies.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, said: “To the athletes competing to win these medals they are as precious as the Crown Jewels, so it is fitting that they should be stored for safe keeping in the same iconic location.”

British artist David Watkins designed the medals, which are emblems of the athlete’s success. They feature the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, stepping out of the depiction of the Parthenon to arrive in the Host City.

Lord Coe, who witnessed the medals being handed over, said: “For an athlete, winning an Olympic or Paralympic medal represents the conclusion of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport.”

“The victory ceremonies then provide the moment they can truly celebrate their success. It’s great that the London 2012 medals will be kept safe and secure at the Tower of London until then.”

An enormous sculpture of the five Olympic Rings now hangs on the neighboring Tower Bridge as the excitement about the Olympics mounts with just over 3 weeks until the Games start.

By Louisa Plumstead

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