The big opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics was conducted Friday. But now that the preliminaries are over and done, it's time for the real attraction: the games themselves.

Olympic schedules can be a little confusing to follow, so we've compiled a guide to some of the biggest events at the games, with a special emphasis on American athletes.

While the Olympic kickoff was on Friday, competitions were held in only one sport that day: ranking rounds for men's and women's archery. OtherS won't begin until Saturday morning. A full schedule of events appears on NBC's Olympic website.

All times listed in the guide below are Eastern Daylight Time.

The U.S. men's basketball team is possibly the most-hyped collection of athletes at the event. Consisting of Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and others, the squad has drawn comparisons to 1992's "Dream Team."

The dates, times, and opponents for their scheduled first five games are as follow:

-- Sunday, 9:30 a.m., France.

-- Aug. 1, 5:15 p.m., Tunisia.

-- Aug. 2, 5:15 p.m., Nigeria.

-- Aug. 4, 9:30 a.m., Lithuania.

-- Aug. 6, 5:15 p.m., Argentina.

After that point, the quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 8, the semifinals are set for Aug. 10, and the gold-medal game is scheduled for Aug. 12 at 10 a.m.

At the last two Olympic Games, American swimmer Michael Phelps took the world by storm, winning a total of 14 gold medals in Athens and Bejing. This year, he will be taking part in fewer events than in Olympics past, but he will still be a presence at the games. Phelps' first event is the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday. Preliminary heats are at 5 a.m., with the final at 2:30 p.m.

After that, Phelps will be in the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay on Sunday at 3:54 p.m. Qualifying rounds for the 200-meter butterfly take place on Monday, with Phelps expected to compete in the final at 2:47 p.m. on Tuesday. The same day, Phelps will be in the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay at 3:47 p.m.

On Aug. 2, Phelps will race in the 200-meter individual medley at 3:16 p.m. and compete in qualifying rounds for the 100-meter butterfly, possibly going onto the event final the next day at 2:38 p.m.

The track world also has some huge events in store during the Olympics.

Among fan favorites, American Lolo Jones will square off against Australian Sally Pearson on Aug. 7 at 4 p.m. in the women's 100-meter hurdles, while Usain Bolt will be competing in the men's 200-meter event on Aug. 9 at 3:55 p.m. The 200-meter race is considered Bolt's best event, and he is expected to make a strong showing. Concluding that same day is the men's decathlon, with American Ashton Eaton being favored.

So you now have a schedule for the big events planned out, but you're not sure where to watch the Olympics? Don't worry. We've got you covered. Show times and channels will vary somewhat depending on your location and TV provider, but all Olympic coverage will be done by NBC.

In the U.S., NBC's range of channels are the only ones that will be offering live TV broadcasts of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

NBC has created a website to make the process of finding out which channel will broadcast your favorite events as easy as possible.

Olympics watchers in the U.S. can click this link, enter your ZIP code, and type in your cable provider, which should produce NBC's local listings for your area displayed in a comprehensive 2012 Olympics TV broadcast schedule.

Depending on your cable carrier, various 2012 Olympics events will be shown on channels including Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC, NBC, NBC Basketball, NBC Soccer, and NBC Sports, as well as Telemundo, which will offer live coverage of the 2012 Olympics in Spanish.

If you don't have cable TV, but still want to watch the Olympic games, NBC has options for that, too. It has set up a series of online feeds that will show 302 events from the games live. Check the listings at NBC's live-streaming headquarters.