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The London Olympics opening ceremony … in TED Talks

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Last night’s Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics was filled with symbolism and storytelling over centuries of UK history. Intrigued by the stories and players? Dive into these related TEDTalks!

The Olympic pageant begins with an idyllic vision of green fields — coolly surveyed by a top-hatted engineer with grand plans to build the UK into an industrial powerhouse. Played by Kenneth Branagh, that engineer was Isambard Kingdom Brunel. At TEDGlobal 2009, Tim Brown tells his story:

[ted id=646]

Then the Industrial Revolution begins — with the beat of a drum, played by legendary percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. Watch her TEDTalk, in which she teaches us how to listen:

[ted id=103]

In a gloriously surprising segment celebrating the National Health Service and children’s dreams, Harry Potter author JK Rowling steps up to read from Peter Pan. Watch her Best of the Web talk, full of advice to dreamers and overachievers:

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/1711302 w=400&h=300]

And in the musical segment called “Frankie and June say … Thanks, Tim” — the Tim of the title is Tim Berners-Lee. While NBC’s on-air commentators pretended not to know who he was, TED fans do — in fact, it was at TED2009 that he laid out his vision for the next phase of the World Wide Web that he invented, linking data sets together into the Semantic Web:

[ted id=484]

(He updated us a year later.)

Someone else who knows who Tim Berners-Lee is: Ian Ritchie, who had a chance to invest in the fledgling World Wide Web … and turned it down:

[ted id=1244]

In the photo at top, you can see Berners-Lee live-tweeting (on a NeXT box) from the middle of the stadium. Here is what he wrote:

[tweet https://twitter.com/timberners_lee/status/228960085672599552%5D