What you missed as the 2022 Commonwealth Games opened


The 2022 Commonwealth Games exploded into life with a dazzling opening ceremony on Thursday that put a modern spin on the sporting event. Ten years after the 2012 London Olympics it was Birmingham’s moment in the spotlight, as Prince Charles declared the Games open.It was a day filled with sorts: music stole the show, human rights activist Malala Yousafzai made a heartfelt speech, and earlier Australian athletes had a humorous run-in with royalty. Fireworks are seen during the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium. Source: Getty / Alex DavidsonIt’s Australia’s biggest contingent for a foreign Games — 435 before some late withdrawals — and the squad looks set to trump the 80 gold medals they won four years ago on the Gold Coast.Here are the key details of the extravagant opening ceremony that you may have missed out on. Australia’s grand entranceElectric Light Orchestra’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ played as the team in wattle green was the first country to march into the arena on Thursday night for the 22nd instalment of the Games.Australia’s team members enter the stadium during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham. Source: AAP / AP / Aijaz RahiAustralian flag bearers, hockey and squash champions Eddie Ockenden and Rachael Grinham, were the first athletes to walk into Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium as the Commonwealth Games kicked off.Ockenden is gunning for a fourth-straight hockey gold medal in Birmingham and incredibly hasn’t lost a game in his three previous campaigns.Grinham has won eight medals, including two gold, ahead of a record-setting sixth Games appearance.The raging bullBefore the players’ joyous entries, the history of the city affectionately known as Brum was represented by a 10-metre tall iron-clad bull that was detailed in front of 30,000 spectators.The ceremony told the story of Stella and The Dreamers, a group of young athletes from around the Commonwealth exploring the working-class city’s history of industrial innovation, struggles and success.The Raging Bull during the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Source: AAP / PA / Tim GoodeThe bull took five years to build and represented the workers who went on strike, demanding better pay. During the show, the bull shed its outer skin layer in a nod to the workers’ success. Paying homage to Birmingham’s car manufacturing heritage, locals drove 72 red, white and blue vehicles onto the arena to create a Union Jack. That’s how they welcomed the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.Prince Charles and the ‘Aussie’ jokeBefore the opening ceremony began, Prince Charles met with athletes in the village who represented countries from around the world, including Australia, Scotland and Rwanda. He even cracked a joke with some of the members of the Australian team that “all the rest are terrified of the Aussies”.Australian Dolphins swimmer Mitch Larkin and diver Melissa Paige were among those who were able to have a candid conversation with the Prince. Malala’s speechNobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai made a special tribute to Birmingham, the place she calls her “second home”. Ms Yousafzai is a human rights activist who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman and spent part of her recovery in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In her speech, she conceded she had never heard of the city until she moved there and felt the warmth of its people around her. Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai addresses the crowd in a warming speech about Birmingham and pursuing dreams. Credit: David Davies/AP”Birmingham, when I first came to this city I had never heard its name. But I would come to understand it through the doctors and nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Through the teachers who inspired me at school, helped my mother to learn English, and taught my little brothers to drive,” she told the audience. “The young athletes who will compete over the next two weeks represent millions of girls and boys across the Commonwealth.”Every child deserves the chance to reach her full potential and pursue her wildest dreams.” Duran Duran steals the showThe proceedings ended with a bang as Duran Duran returned to their hometown, performing a medley of their greatest hits.Duran Duran performs an iconic set during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Source: AAP / AP / Kirsty WigglesworthThe new wave band arguably stole the show as audience members and TV viewers worldwide sang along to some of their classics under a canopy of fireworks. It’s the start of an 11-day sporting feast featuring about 5,000 athletes from 72 nations competing in 280 events across 19 sports.With Reuters.