Aust team dance through opening ceremony

For a bunch of lawn bowlers, they know how to have a good time.

Led by flagbearer Lauren Jackson, the Australians wore their classic look well, but didn't let a blazer and tie stop them enjoying themselves at the Olympic opening ceremony in London on Friday night.

It was a departure from the casual look of previous Games and at a ceremony which focussed so much on history, the Australians looked appropriately elegant in their heritage bottle green blazers and ties with white slacks and skirts.

The fashion may not have been casual, but the pace was.

It wasn't so much an orderly march, more a skip and a joyous stroll for the 208 Australian athletes who were in no hurry to complete their lap of the Olympic Stadium as they repeatedly stopped to take and pose for photos.

At one stage, the Austrian team had to stop before they became part of the Australian stragglers.

But, you can't hurry when you're singing and dancing.

"Leading the whole team out, they're just fantastic, and it's just such a huge honour," Jackson said.

"It's a whole new feeling.

"To be honest I can't compare this to anything I've done.

"It just feels very unreal, I'm loving it.

"I'm singing, I'm dancing, it's great."

Wrestler Farzad Tarash climbed on a teammate's shoulders for a better look at the crowd of more than 70,000 and athletes from 203 other nations, while hockey player Timothy Deavin and water polo player Victoria Brown couldn't have wished for better birthdays.

Almost half the team, including many of Australia's biggest medal hopes, the cyclists, rowers and swimmers, missed the march, watching back at the athletes village as they prepared for competition on Saturday.

While the Australians paid homage to the past with their "heritage" look, the Czech Republic team paid respect to the English weather, carrying umbrellas and wearing gumboots.

The Germans defied their staid reputation with bright blue and pink jackets for the boys and girls, while Liechstenstein dressed down in jeans.

But the most audacious and presumptuous dressers were the host nation.

To the booming soundtrack of David Bowie's Heroes, the British marched in all white with brilliant gold trimmings.

They've put some pressure on themselves.

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