The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, dubbed Isles of Wonder, will take Friday, July 27, 2012, and will bring together the world's best athletes, foreign dignitaries from all reaches of the earth, and dedicated sports fans in one massive spectacle.
Expected to be viewed by more than a billion fans at home via live TV broadcasts, the day is not the first day of 2012 Olympics fun.
The Summer Olympics really begin on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, with a number of football (soccer to Americans) matches taking place, and Thursday, July 26, 2012, is another day of nothing but football.
But on Friday, July 27, 2012, the three-hour Opening Ceremony will kick off the London Games in all of their glory.
According to the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony's official website,the Opening Ceremony is a celebration showcasing the best of the Host Nation. It also features a parade of all competing nations and the highly anticipated entrance of the Olympic Flame, which ignites the Cauldron and signals the start of the Games.
This year's Olympics Opening Ceremony will kick off with the sound of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe, produced by the Whitechapel Foundry, and the Stadium will be transformed into the British countryside for opening scene 'Green and Pleasant', which includes real farmyard animals. The Ceremony will also include a special sequence celebrating the best of British, featuring volunteer performers, according to the London Olympics website.
The day will proceed with the introductions of heads of states, the parade of athletes, speeches, creative performances, Olympic Anthem, Olympic flag presentation, oaths, and the grand finale. And it is slated to cost 27 million British Pounds, according to the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper.
That will buy what is shaping up to be quite the exciting day, as the Daily Mail reports that The stadium will be packed with at least 62,000 spectators, 16,000 athletes, 10,000 performers, 70 sheep, 12 horses, ten chickens, three cows, two goats and even dogs and geese. Traditional countryside cottages will stand together with a mining wheel, harking back to the country's proud industrial heritage, all drenched in faked pouring rain to reflect Britain's typical weather. And mimicking scenes across the country every weekend, a cricket pitch has even been laid with a game planned for during the ceremony. But the main contents of the three hour multi-million pound extravaganza is still a complete mystery.
Stellar creative directors Danny Boyle, Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey and their teams are taking the lead in planning and pulling off the creative aspects of the ceremony and its series of exciting performances.
More information about the performances that will take place during the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony is not currently available on the ceremony's official website, but is supposed to become available at this link as the day approaches.
The Olympics opening ceremony's grand finale begins with the carrying of the Olympic Flame into the stadium, where it will be passed among the competing athletes and finally handed off to the ceremonial Torchbearer, the lucky soul who gets to light the Olympic cauldron, symbolically kicking off the 2012 Summer Olympics in London before the world's very eyes. The cauldron will burn until the end of the 2012 Olympics.
Though July 27, 2012 will also feature a number of Olympic archery competitions earlier in the day, it is the Opening Ceremony that is the big draw of the launch day of the 2012 Olympics in London.
About 15,000 performers will take part in the creative performances over the course of the ceremony, and on Saturday, July 28, 2012 -- the day after the joy of the opening ceremony -- all the sporting fun really begins with a full slate of events. The first medals will also be awarded on the 28th, in athletics, cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.
A lot of speculation has been floated about who may have roles in the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony beyond the athletes who will actually be participating in competitions during the London Games, and the attending dignitaries and functionaries. Muhammad Ali is in London, and is expected to perhaps take part in the ceremony, and David Beckham -- the world-famous English footballer who now lives in America, where he plays for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy -- has told Sports Illustrated that he will have a role in the festivities.
But for the 62,000 spectators who the Daily Mail reports were lucky enough to enjoy a Monday night rehearsal Opening Ceremony -- and sworn to secrecy after doing so -- it won't be as much of a surprise.
For the rest of us, it's just a waiting game until the Opening Ceremony blows the roof off the Olympic Stadium at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London. Let the countdown begin.