Jul 24 2012
British athletes saw the Union Flag raised and heard the national anthem for what they hope will be the first time of many at London 2012 as the host nation were formally welcomed the Olympic Village.
Competitors from a variety of sports were present at Team GB's induction ceremony, which saw the National Youth Theatre put on a colourful show of song, dance and street performance. Such ceremonies have been going on for a week for visiting squads but it was no surprise that the host nation attracted by far the biggest crowd.
Among those looking on were former Olympic stars such as Dame Kelly Holmes, Tessa Sanderson and Duncan Goodhew, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt and shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell represented the world of politics.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt, who represented the British Olympic Association at the ceremony, was left enthused by the event and hopes home fans will get plenty of more opportunities to see God Save the Queen played this summer.
"It's always a special time when the home team arrives in the village and although we've been rolling in for two weeks this was that magical moment when your flag goes up and you celebrate," he told Press Association Sport.
"The atmosphere has been building and building literally by the hour and although we're quite away from things here, when you leave the village you really feel that. It's amazing.
"I think the country is getting really excited by these Games and getting right behind this team. Hopefully they'll see the flag raised a massive amount of times."
David Beckham has said he will appear at the opening ceremony but is keeping tight-lipped about what it will involve.
The former England skipper who missed out on a longed-for spot in the Team GB football squad to compete at the Olympics said he feels "privileged" to still be involved in the Games. Beckham forged a strong respect for London 2012 chairman Lord Coe when they were key members of the bid team which won London the right to stage the Games.
"For him to keep me involved I feel very privileged," Beckham told ITV News. "He has talked to me about a few things. I am playing a small part in the Olympic ceremony."