Bradley Wiggins, who last Sunday became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France, has been honoured in his home country by being the person who rang the Olympic bell today in the Olympic Stadium to commence the Opening Ceremony. The bell ringing is the climax to the countdown to the official start of the Games.
The Olympic bell is the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world. It was made only a few miles from the stadium in Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the same foundry that created the Liberty Bell and Big Ben. The Olympic bell weighs 23 tons and is 2m by 3m in size.
Wiggins, 32, is competing in his fourth Olympic Games and has medalled in each of the previous three Olympics. The Briton earned two gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games in the individual and team pursuit on the track and has six Olympic medals in his palmares in total: three gold, one silver and two bronze, all earned on the track.
Wiggins will compete on the road at the London Games in both road events: the 250km road race on Saturday, July 28, an event in which teammate Mark Cavendish is a favourite for gold, as well as the 44km individual time trial on Wednesday, August 1, where Wiggins himself is a contender for the gold medal.