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Manny Lopez signs the Truce Wall.
Welcome ceremony resembles West End show, says Philippines team leader

21 Jul 2012
London, England: “There is only one word to describe it – fantastic!” So said Manny Lopez, Chef de Mission of the Philippines delegation at the London Olympics, following the team welcome ceremony at the Olympic Village on Saturday morning. Performed by the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, the team welcome ceremony is a radical break from Olympic tradition, combining street theatre with acrobatics in a Cirque du Soleil-style riot of colour and energy.

“It gives us a taste of the West End – without having to pay!” added Lopez. “We are very fortunate to be here to witness something so special. “It was very artistic and well choreographed. It is unusual for a team welcome ceremony, and perhaps the first time like this at an Olympic Games. It makes us very proud and very honoured to be participating in the Olympic Games.”

The Philippines and Vietnam were welcomed at the same ceremony by the Olympic Village Mayor, Sir Charles Allen, CBE. As part of the ceremony the team leaders sign the Truce Wall, before the delegations are escorted out of the International Zone over a red carpet and back into the Residential Zone by the performers.

While the brash inter-active ceremony may come as a shock to senior NOC officials more accustomed to a solemn, serious ritual, there was no doubt everyone was into the swing of things by the end of the 30-minute production.

“I think it loosened up all the pressure and the tension on the athletes which has been building up during their preparations,” Lopez added. “It loosened up their minds and their muscles. They were serious and tense and this has put them in a very jovial mood. They were so happy, you could see.”
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