City stars at opening ceremony as Scots boxer has an early night before fight

The Olympic cauldron is lit
The Olympic cauldron is lit
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IT was the spectacular watched around the globe by an estimated audience of one billion people – and the Capital found itself at the heart of last night’s Olympic opening ceremony as two of its biggest stars took centre stage.

Cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy and Harry Potter author JK Rowling were among the highlights as a cast of thousands took part in a show which touched on major elements from British life.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling

One of the biggest honours of the entire games fell to Sir Chris, who was handed the honour of bearing the flag as he led representatives of the Great Britain team out onto the track at the Olympic Stadium.

And the Edinburgh-born four-time gold medal winner shed tears of joy as he took to the track to a rapturous applause from the packed 
stadium.

The British team was last to parade but the crowds still took to their feet to applaud the athletes round the stadium.

Before the ceremony, Sir Chris tweeted his fans in response to a flood of good luck messages, saying: “So many messages . . . Thank you for all the kind words. Tonight is going to be something special, hope you enjoy it!”

Sir Chris Hoy carries the British flag at the head of Team GB

Sir Chris Hoy carries the British flag at the head of Team GB

And fellow Team GB member, veteran judo star Euan Burton, 33, who lives in Edinburgh, had a message for fans watching all over the country.

“And we are coming in!” he tweeted. “Go team GB.”

Edinburgh author JK Rowling also delighted the crowds during the ceremony when she read from the opening section of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan.

The reading was presented as a bedtime story for all the children of Britain, although it also featured some ghoulish nightmares in the form of her famous villain Voldemort, as well as the child catcher from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And the Capital was also featured as part of a video-montage tour of the UK which kicked off the spectacular, with scenes of the Big Breakthrough choir, made up of youngsters from Edinburgh’s 
Broomhouse Estate, shown singing Flower of Scotland on Edinburgh Castle.

The show, directed by Danny Boyle, even managed to fit in a clip of Princes Street from one of his most famous films, Trainspotting.

While the three-hour spectacular was watched around the world, however, Prestonpans boxer Josh Taylor, 21, was set for an early night in the Olympic village as he avoided the pomp of the opening ceremony to concentrate on making his Olympic debut one to remember.

The lightweight fighter, who is considered a medal prospect, made the decision to relax after learning that by attending the opening spectacular he might not arrive home until after 
midnight.

Taylor made weight yesterday and drew Brazilian contender Robson Conceicao for his debut bout.

Terry McCormack, 47, his coach at Lochend ABC Boxing Club, said Taylor was so focused on tomorrow’s fight that he may barely watch the launch of the Games on TV.

“Josh isn’t going to the opening ceremony because this fight means too much to him and he doesn’t want to be getting home at 1am,” he said.

“It can be quite an exhausting night with all the hype, and it was his choice and no one else’s to rest up and get 
prepared.”

And he added: “He might watch it on TV but he’ll want to be in his bed shortly after 9pm, even if it’s hard to sleep.

“It shows maturity and focus from Josh. Anyone would love to go there and walk around the track in a party atmosphere but he’s prepared to miss out for the boxing.”

Josh’s mum Diane said she was “a little disappointed” her Olympian chose not to attend the athlete’s parade but understood he needed the rest.

“He’ll be lying in his bed chilling with earphones in,” she said. “He likes a bit of Oasis and that kind of thing.

“He just likes to be on his own in his room chilling before a fight. He doesn’t like to speak when he’s got a fight coming up and just wants to get in the zone.”

The parents of volleyball star Jo Morgan were not watching the ceremony from the comfort of the sofa, having abandoned their home to follow their daughter as she competes in the games.

Jo revealed that her mum and dad had left the Capital to see her play in every match of the Games, pitching a tent just outside London and catching the train to the venue whenever she competes. And with her first match taking place today their minds would have been less on the performers on stage and more on her own performance.