Birmingham opened its Commonwealth Games in spectacular style with a captivating, hopeful ceremony at Alexander Stadium on Thursday.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai emphasised the importance of education in a surprise appearance while diver Tom Daley made a show of support for LGBTQ+ rights as the baton relay concluded.
But the biggest shock perhaps came when a 10m tall animatronic bull came steaming into the stadium as part of a ceremony that celebrated the multiculturalism of both Birmingham and the Commonwealth
As the parade of athletes concluded, each of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were warmly received before host nation England arrived in a cloud of confetti to send the volume skyrocketing with a crowd rendition of We Will Rock You.
The Games are officially open, with events beginning on Friday and more than 5,000 athletes representing 72 nations and territories across 19 sports and 280 medal events until 8 August.
By Ferdinand A. Baah, Sports Journalist