London opens 2012 Olympic Stadium

The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Stadium took place in London on Saturday 2012 hours before the start of one of the world’s most anticipated events.

­Some 40,000 people gathered in East London despite the rain and chilly weather as the stadium opened its gates to the public and athletes for the first time.

Nine-year-old Niamh Clarke-Willis and Lord Sebastian Coe, the head of the London Olympics Organizing Committee, pushed a button which launched balloons into the sky, kicking off a seven-day test of the Olympic Park. The 80,000-seat stadium will host more than 140,000 spectators over the coming days.

"It's a fantastic feeling. The seven years have just flown by. Tonight is only the start of the story,” Lord Coe said. "We want thousands of young people to be inspired to take up sport. We hope that for a few of them it will be the start of their journey."

London : Chairman of LOCOG Sebastian Coe (2nd R) prepares to press a button alongside nine-year-old Niamh Clarke-Willis (L), Paralympian Danielle Brown (2nd L), presenters Gaby Logan (3rd L) and Vernon Kay (R) as they officially opening the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park in London on May 5, 2012. (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
London : Chairman of LOCOG Sebastian Coe (2nd R) prepares to press a button alongside nine-year-old Niamh Clarke-Willis (L), Paralympian Danielle Brown (2nd L), presenters Gaby Logan (3rd L) and Vernon Kay (R) as they officially opening the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park in London on May 5, 2012. (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
The lights go on at the official opening of the London Olympics stadium, inside the Olympic park, London May 5, 2012. (Reuters / Paul Hackett)
The lights go on at the official opening of the London Olympics stadium, inside the Olympic park, London May 5, 2012. (Reuters / Paul Hackett)
Alan Kennedy goes through his skip during the Men′s triple jump during the British Universities and Colleges Sport Athletics Championships (BUCS), a part of the London Prepares series of test events, at the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park in in London on May 5, 2012. (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
Alan Kennedy goes through his skip during the Men's triple jump during the British Universities and Colleges Sport Athletics Championships (BUCS), a part of the London Prepares series of test events, at the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park in in London on May 5, 2012. (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
Reuters / Paul Hackett
Reuters / Paul Hackett