| WEYMOUTH, England, July 28
WEYMOUTH, England, July 28 A battle for the
winds erupted in Weymouth Bay on Saturday as an anarchic troupe
of acrobats, actors and dancers fought to banish the doldrums on
the eve of the Olympic sailing regatta.
Not to be outdone by London's spectacular opening ceremony,
the English seaside town that along with its near neighbour
Portland is hosting the world's best sailors, staged its own
At the end of the "Battle for the Winds" the waters of
Weymouth Bay were set alight as 2,012 people waded into its
murky depths holding flaming torches above their heads.
Thousands flocked to the beach to catch the show, which
included disabled performers from the UK and Brazil, and
captured some of the carnival atmosphere more normally
associated with Rio de Janeiro than the cooler waters of
England's south coast.
"I doubt we'll ever get a bigger audience than this," said a
beaming Jamie Beddard, 45, who was one of the directors who
masterminded the ambitious production.
The winds - north, east, south and west - were represented
by local groups clad in a variety of Monty Python-esque costumes
and elaborate headgear adorned with wings and whirling blades.
The doldrums arrived dramatically from the sea in the form
of a grotesquely made-up character brought ashore in a burst of
red flares by a group of British marines aboard a launching
craft from HMS Bulwark, which has been stationed off the coast
and is responsible for marine security during the games.
After a convoluted war between the winds, "Doldrum" is
finally defeated and Aeolus, the wind father is able to proclaim
that the breezes will be fair for the Olympic sailing hopefuls
who for the next two weeks will be fighting their own battles
with the winds, and each other.
(Editing by Justin Palmer)