Gary Connery jumps as the Queen
London, July 29: The man behind arguably the greatest Bond stunt, who parachuted into the Olympic park dressed as Queen Elizabeth, said yesterday that the experience had been “indescribable”.
Gary Connery leapt 500 feet from a helicopter wearing a peach-coloured dress identical to the one worn by the monarch when she attended Friday’s opening ceremony.
Moments after Connery had landed and was ushered out of view, the real Queen Elizabeth appeared in the royal box to rapturous applause.
Yesterday, Connery, 43, from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, west of London, said: “It was a very sort of British moment and shows that we can laugh at ourselves. In truth, I didn’t get to take in and absorb a lot of what was there. We were working to a timing cue and we had to be on the button.
“In the helicopter prior to the run-in, we were joking and laughing. When the door opened about 30 seconds before the jump, I remember looking out beyond the stadium and seeing what looked like some kind of hospitality tent, a garden party that was going on.
“I remember capturing that as an image and thinking, wow, those people are going to see the most amazing thing in a minute and they don’t know it’s coming. We did very well keeping it under wraps. I heard the cheer from the stadium which was wonderful. I’ve never experienced that before. It was indescribable.”
He added: “From my perspective, I’ll always have been the Queen who jumped into the 2012 Olympic Games and that never changes. I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to do it.”
Connery and Mark Sutton, the parachutist who replaced the actor Daniel Craig as Bond, took off at 8.50pm as Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at the Olympic Park.
For half an hour, as Queen Elizabeth mingled behind the scenes, the helicopter hovered above east London, moving over the stadium at 9.30pm. The sequence worked perfectly, creating the impression that Queen Elizabeth had performed the jump.
When the idea was pitched to Buckingham Palace by Sebastian Coe, chairman of the Olympics organising committee, Queen Elizabeth embraced it. A London 2012 spokesperson said the monarch had “really liked the concept” and “didn’t take much persuading”.