OPINION: Oh Danny Boyle. The man who has gone from Slumdog Millionaire to mastermind, the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics set the bar immensely high.
His Beckham, Bean and Bond build up, starring Queen Elizabeth II in a speaking role was extraordinary, the show in the Olympic stadium nothing short of astonishing.
Not surprisingly, because the British are not slow to heap praise where they think it is due, there are calls for him to be honoured with a knighthood for his artistic direction.
So as the first week of full competition draws to an end, have the competitors provided an equally high level of entertainment? The answer has to be yes.
We have seen world records in the pool, Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian and the US and China pick up medals for fun.
New Zealand has been kept updated around the clock with video and pictures from the Stuff website, Prime TV and a multitude of Sky channels. We had cheered two bronze medal efforts before competition overnight, and there were high hopes the tally would be increased by this morning.
We have had plenty to cheer about. The women's hockey team scored a fantastic win over Australia and the women's soccer team beat Cameroon to qualify for the next stage.
The women also featured in the heartbreak story of the Games for the New Zealand team when the women's quadruple sculls crew looked sure to row to a place in the finals. Instead they were left stranded when Louise Trappitt's blade caught something and snapped on Lake Dorney.
A wonderful thing about Olympics is that daily diet of human interest stories it has thrown up. Whatever the debate over the varying qualities of competitors, those who are extraordinarily bad by comparison with their Olympic peers invariably win fame.
We have seen in earlier Games Eddie the Eagle, Britain's decidedly average skier, and Eric the Eel, Equatorial Guinea's equally decidedly average swimmer. This time we have, from Niger, slow rower Hamadou Djibo.
We have also seen the remarkable self-inflicted failure of an athlete who ate his way out of London.
Georgian boxer Merab Turkadze went all the way to Olympics only to be disqualified because he couldn't make the bantamweight mark.
A team mate reported the Games village food was very good. Controversy has included the disqualification of four badminton pairs who set out to lose games to ensure they played weaker opponents in the next round. We have also had the expected bad calls in boxing - and one decision overturned.
Yesterday we celebrated seeing rowers Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh on the podium. A day earlier it was equestrians Andrew Nicholson, Jonelle Richards, Mark Todd, Jock Paget and Caroline Powell.
By the time you read this we may already be celebrating another success, because what's certain is we can expect more of everything - the drama, the controversy, the records, and, for New Zealand, more medals.
- Taranaki Daily News
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