"An opening ceremony so British": The world's media react to London 2012 opening ceremony


British and world newspapers hailed a spectacular opening ceremony to the 2012 London Olympics.

The Independent  led the way amongst the British press with "London Sets The World Alight," after seven teenage athletes were given the honour of lighting the elaborately assembled "petal" Olympic cauldron that will burn for the duration of the Games.

The Guardian described it as a "Night Of Wonder" on its front page.

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle organised the show, which was never designed to match the stunningly extravagant opening ceremony of Beijing four years ago, but still set hearts racing.

Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport website said it was "a lavish and spectacular opening ceremony which matched and maybe bettered expectations".

Some pundits in and outside the United Kingdom had feared the showcase would be viewed as too British but France's L'Equipe website revelled in that very fact.

"With a show that mixed humour and the grandiose, Danny Boyle modernised the traditional athletes' parade on Friday. An opening ceremony so British!"

Germany's Bild raved: "A gigantic spectacle. What a show!"

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald said it was "an unforgettable start" and "breathtaking" while American website Sports Illustrated described it as "loud and proud".

Columnist Alex Wolff added: "Flipping the script from Beijing, director Danny Boyle gave the London Olympics a distinctly British entrance that gave us a chance to celebrate protest and dissent."

Queen Elizabeth declared the Games open after playing a cameo role in a film clip with James Bond actor Daniel Craig. Doubles for the pair then skydived towards the stadium and moments later, the queen made her entrance in person.

The Sun offered a typically amusing front-page splash: "Her Majesty's Secret Service", with a secondary headline declaring "Queen's Surprise Acting Debut With Bond Kick Off London 2012 Games".