It was a day filled with all sorts of things: the music took over, human rights activist Malala Yousafzai delivered a moving speech, and earlier Australian athletes had a humorous run-in with royalty.
Fireworks during the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium. Source: Getty / Alex Davidson
This is Australia’s largest contingent for overseas Games – 435 before some late withdrawals – and the team looks poised to surpass 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.
Grand entry into Australia
The Electric Light Orchestra performed “Don’t Bring Me Down” as the green-weave team became the first nation to enter the arena on Thursday night for Part 22 of the Games.
Members of the Australian national team enter the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Source: A MONKEY / AP / Aijaz Rahi
Australian flag bearers, ice hockey and squash champions Eddie Okenden and Rachel Greenham were the first athletes to enter Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium when the Commonwealth Games began.
Greenham won eight medals, including two golds, ahead of a record sixth Games performance.
The ceremony told the story of Stella and the Dreamers, a group of young athletes from across the Commonwealth who explore the history of industrial innovation, struggle, and the success of a working city.
Raging Bull during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022. Source: A MONKEY / Pennsylvania / Tim Good
The bull took five years to create and represented the workers who went on strike for higher wages. During the show, the bull shed the outer layer of skin as a mark of respect for the workmen’s success.
This is how they greeted the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Prince Charles and the Australian Joke
Australian dolphin swimmer Mitch Larkin and diver Melissa Page were among those who were able to speak candidly with the prince.
In her speech, she admitted that she had never heard of this city until she moved there and felt the warmth of its inhabitants around her.
Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai addresses the gathering with a warm speech about Birmingham and the pursuit of dreams. Credits: David Davis/AP
“Birmingham, when I first came to this city, I never heard its name. But I understood it thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Through the teachers who inspired me at school, helped my mother learn English. and taught my little brothers how to drive,” she told the audience.
“Every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential and fulfill their wildest dreams.”
Duran Duran steals the show
The hearings ended in a bang when Duran Duran returned to their hometown with a medley of their greatest hits.
Duran Duran performs the iconic set during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Source: A MONKEY / AP / Kirsty Wigglesworth
The new wave band arguably steal the show as audiences and TV viewers around the world sang along to some of their classics under a fireworks canopy.