The opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games, entitled “Enlightenment,” welcomed 4,200 athletes from 165 nations in an extravaganza billed as a voyage across “a sea of ideas.” British Physicist Stephen Hawking stole the show which included the recreation of his work, The “Big Bang” Theory Wednesday night.
Inspired partly by Shakespeare play, The Tempest, the ceremony featured a “Big Bang,” Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity, lots of umbrellas, an airborne golden wheelchair, and Shakespeare’s words.
Britain’s most-famous living scientist Stephen Hawking, diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, began the ceremony by reading, guiding the fictional Miranda, a young disabled actress, to “be curious.” The ceremony included a recreation of Hawking’s work, The “Big Bang” theory, with the stadium being transformed into a space-like atmosphere.
“The Paralympic Games is about transforming our perception of the world,” the famous physicist said through his famous voice synthesizer.
“We are all different, there is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being but we share the same human spirit. What is important is that we have the ability to create.”
“This creativity can take many forms, from physical achievement to theoretical physics. However difficult life may seem there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Be curious,” Hawking said.
A total of 165 countries will compete in 20 sports, including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, cycling, equestrian, and sitting volleyball.