London 2012 Olympics: Designer kept in dark on cauldron test glitch
The mechanical Olympic Cauldron that wowed the world at the opening ceremony of the Games failed on one of its final test runs, its designer has revealed.
Billions of people around the world tuned into Danny Boyle’s spectacular curtain-raiser that climaxed with 204 copper petals moving together to form one symbolic flame.
But Thomas Heatherwick, the inspiration behind the cauldron, said one of the stainless steel rods holding the burning metal basins became jammed in a secret run-through the day before.
“We had been perfecting it throughout the week,” he said.
“At the last test session a pin on which one of the petals pivoted had not been put in right.”
The designer, 42, said his team did not let him know about the glitch, which took place during a series of rehearsals at the Olympic Stadium during the early hours of Thursday morning.
They worked desperately to ensure it was fully operational before Friday night’s showpiece.
Mr Heatherwick added: “On the night I was watching in silence, staring, not aware of anything around me and gripping the bars in front – ‘What’s going to happen, what’s going to happen?’
“When it worked there was an outpouring of relief.”
On the night the 8.5-metre tall cauldron, which was crafted in a workshop in in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, worked perfectly with the separate petals seamlessly coming together in ten rings to create a dandelion of fire after being lit by seven young athletes.
The designer, from London, said: “It really would have been a head-in-your-hands moment if it had not happened on the night.”
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