Stockholm shows its sunny side during Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony took place on 6 July. The attendance was given as 13,653, and the crowd witnessed a superb spectacle. “Stockholm was in its most festive dress,” reads the Official Report. “The sun shone from a cloudless sky and lent its radiance to the thousand flags of the competing nations, as the colours, fraternally mingled, swayed and flaunted over the crowded streets.”
The athletes, around 3,000 of whom had convened at the nearby Ostermalm Athletic Grounds, proceeded to the stadium and in what is now time-honoured tradition, they entered in their national delegations in alphabetical – with the exception of Sweden, who came in last. The Games were declared officially opened by King Gustav V of Sweden after a traditional Swedish prayer had been uttered and a hymn sung. “May the grand thought that found expression in the Olympic Games in classic times be so held in honour by our age too, that these competitions may become a powerful means to promote the physical health and development of every people,” read part of his speech – emphasising the particular importance of a “pure” Olympics as mentioned earlier.
Finally, competition got underway with a gymnastic display by teams of male and female Swedish gymnasts that set the scene for 10 days of competition.