London 2012 officially opens Olympic Stadium
London 2012 has officially opened the Olympic Stadium, ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games. Nine-year-old Niamh Clarke-Willis, who lives in Hackney, East London, was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to declare the newly-built venue open, as she joined London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) Chairman Seb Coe on stage at a star-studded event in the stadium on 5 May.
Clarke-Willis and Coe pushed a button to launch balloons into the sky in front of 40,000 members of the public, who were at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to witness the opening, which also included a laser light show and performances by former Spice Girl Melanie C, rapper Chipmunk and comedian Jack Whitehall.
Coe said: "It's a fantastic feeling. The seven years have just flown by. Tonight is only the start of the story.
"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.
"I'm grateful to everyone who came here tonight to celebrate this moment in history."
The "2,012 hours to go" event was used by LOCOG to test the Olympic Stadium’s management and security ahead of the 2012 Games. Clarke-Willis was chosen to join Coe on stage when Paralympic and Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning archer Danielle Brown shot arrows at two spinning targets to select a name from 100 pre-selected eight to 14-year-old girls and boys. The lucky youngster also received two free tickets to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, which takes place on 27 July.