Paralympics Opening Ceremony 2012: Kate will witness spectacular celebration of ability
29 AUGUST 2012
Oscar Pistorius, the poster boy for the 2012 Paralympics, has promised that these Games will change the perception of disability forever.
"Everybody here will be absolutely speechless when they see what these athletes can do, and they will be concentrating only on the phenomenal sport," said the perenially upbeat South African sprinter. He also praised Britain for its commitment to the Paralympic movement.
This will be celebrated in a spectacular opening ceremony, watched by the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with an audience of one billion around the world.
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Six athletes will fly into the stadium in golden wheelchairs, led by Britain's greatest ever Paralympian, 11-time champion Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Entitled 'Enlightment' the show will celebrate scientific achievements and the intellectual revolution that took place between 1550 and 1720.
Lord Coe, the chief organiser of London 2012, said: "It focuses on that extraordinary period in European history and the great intellectual revolution that took place between 1550 and 1720.
"Everything from Newton making sense of gravity and motion to Napier with logarithms and Harvey with blood criculation.
"It's really about ceilings, about human understanding, about limitations and the importantce of knowledge.
"Within that period some quite profound things were being said abou the rights of man. You can probably gather what it's trying to say."
In keeping with the emphasis on shooting for the stars, the show will begin with a fly-past by Aerobility, a charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.
Another highlight will be an appearance by Professor Stephen Hawking, who suffers from motor neurone disease.
The famous scientist's distinctive computerised voice will reportedly be heard in a pre-recorded segment filmed for spectators.
Some 3,000 performers including 50 disabled volunteers, who learnt circus skills from scratch will also feature.
Among the stars on the line up are Sir Ian McKellen, who will read from Shakespeare's The Tempest, in an echo of the main Olympic opening and closing ceremonies and Beverley Knight, chosen for her "stadium-filling voice, said officials.