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Fact Check-Giant puppet at 2012 London Olympics ceremony is Lord Voldemort, not ‘death figure holding a needle’

Hundreds of users on social media are sharing the unfounded claim that the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony featured a “death figure holding a needle.” The puppet, however, was Lord Voldemort from the famous Harry Potter series, and he was holding a wand not a syringe.

Users are also referring to this alleged figure to further make the baseless allegation that the event was a form of predictive programming ( here ) for the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts, a notion that has been previously debunked by Reuters.

“Remember the London Olympics 2012 opening ceremony, with the giant death figure holding a needle, the dancing nurses and all of the children in hospital beds? It's starting to make a lot more sense now, isn’t it? They have had this planned for a long time," part of a Facebook post reads here . Other iterations with the same claim can be seen here , here , here ).

“This is sickening ! I didn’t watch the Olympics in 2012. They always tell us what they’re going to do before they do it,” one Facebook user commented. “Been planned for a long time.. and more to come,” another one wrote.

It is not the first time misleading online claims have spread about the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters addressed social media posts that similarly alleged the event had contained a symbolic ritual predicting the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 ( here ).

The opening show, entitled ‘Isles of Wonder’, was designed by Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle as an ode to British history and culture ( here ) . Boyle paid homage to the National Health System (NHS) and to British children’s literature ( here ) .

It is not accurate to say one of the puppets displayed at the show was a “death body with a syringe,” as claimed by some users online.

In fact, what users are pointing to is a puppet of famous wizard villain Lord Voldemort of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series ( here ). The figure is also viewable in a Reuters photo ( here ) with the caption, “A huge puppet character from the Harry Potter saga is pictured during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium.”

A Reuters photograph here a closer look to the puppet and clearly shows the artifact in its hand is not a syringe but a wand. Video of the moment can be seen here ( youtu.be/4As0e4de-rI?t=3023 ) .

It matches the shape of Lord Voldemort’s characteristic wand, viewable ( here ) .

The character was among other literary villains created by British authors that made an appearance during the ceremony, including Cruella De Ville ( youtu.be/4As0e4de-rI?t=3020 ), Captain Hook ( youtu.be/4As0e4de-rI?t=2996 ) and the Queen of Hearts ( bit.ly/3lx4teg ).

VERDICT

False. The London 2012 Olympics ceremony didn’t feature a “death figure holding a needle”. Social media users making this claim are pointing to a puppet representing Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort. The show paid homage to British national health system and British children’s literature.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.

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