Londoners have been suffering severe bouts of POD (Post Olympics Depression) this last few weeks, so it was good that the Paralympics have finally arrived and last night was the opening ceremony, which I was lucky to attend.
The theme for the evening was one of exploration, both of ourselves and the universe we inhabit, and the narrator was none other than Professor Stephen Hawking.
After a colourful opening (see below) the teams from the 164 competing nations filed round the track in the usual alphabetical order.
Typically, Iran and Iraq are alphabetically close to Israel but luckily the partying Irish are in the middle to diffuse any underlying tensions.
The Israeli team received a warm welcome when they emerged from the tunnel, as you can see here:
But nothing beats the noise and emotion when the home nation emerges as here with Paralympics Team GB:
I know we aren’t supposed to feel sorry for the athletes. But, as they filed round I couldn’t help feeling upset by the missing limbs on such young people while imagining the hardship this must entail every day of their lives. The organisers didn’t shy away from the issue and surprisingly played a version of Spasticus Autisticus by Ian Dury.
Finally, after three and a half hours we were sent on our way after a very moving rendition of I Am What I Am by Beverley Knight:
From last night also: