The 2012 London Games are here and billions around the world are anticipating three weeks of exciting action from their country's finest. Over 10,000 athletes will participate and represent 204 nations in 302 events. Before the medals are handed out however, the world will be focused on a spectacle that will unite a concert, theater production, film, art, politics, and sports: the opening ceremony.
The ceremony will begin at 9 p.m. London time or 4 p.m. EST in America. However, U.S. viewers will have to wait until prime time on both the Eastern and Pacific time zones to watch the ceremony on which will air on NBC. The American network will not have online coverage of the event, but can be seen here: http://olympics2012live.org/
After witnessing the spectacular performances in the Beijing opening ceremony, creative directors Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry had their work cut out for them, and they are ready to impress. This is set to be the largest live show in London's history, with over a billion people expected to tune in around the world.
The proceedings will begin with the sound of the largest ringing bell in Europe, which was created at the 442-year-old Whitechapel Foundry. The bell will mark the beginning of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, which will be titled "The Isles of Wonder" and was inspired by Shakespeare's play, 'The Tempest."
The ceremony is intended to grasp the mythical nature of the British landscape and will turn Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London into a sea of green pastures. It is reported that farm animals will even be included to depict rural British scenes.
Reports from the Sunday Times suggest that the show will also feature characters from fiction classics such as "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan," and even feature a showdown between Harry Potter villain, Voldemort, and characters based on Mary Poppins.
British television viewers will enjoy a special skit which was filmed inside Buckingham Palace on BBC in which actor Daniel Craig, as agent 007, receives a mission from the Queen to launch the Game. In the skit, Craig will parachute from a helicopter into Olympic Stadium to start the Games.
On Wednesday, a Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will open the Olympic Games at the 80,000-seat Stadium. They are also set to open the Paralympic Games at the same venue on August 29.
After Queen Elizabeth opens the ceremony and some 15,000 performers awe viewers, the procession of athletes will begin. Teams will enter in alphabetical order based on the English language with the only exceptions being the Greek team, which will enter first, and the British team, which will enter last.
Each nation will be headed by a nominated flag bearer. Some of this year's notable flag bearers include Russia's Maria Sharapova, the first woman chosen for the honor in Russia, Pau Gasol for Spain, Novak Djokovic for Serbia, Alexandros Nikolaidis for Greece, Saori Yoshida for Japan, Caster Semenya for South Africa, Agnieszka Radwanska for Poland, Simon Whitfield for Canada, and Chris Hoy for Great Britain.
Following the procession, speeches, oaths, and the raising of the Olympic flag, the grand finale will begin with the carrying of the Olympic Flame into the stadium. The athletes will pass the flame to the ceremonial Torchbearer, who will proceed to light the Olympic cauldron. This will symbolically kick off the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Olympic Flame will burn until the end of the Games.
While organizers have only released select details about specific content of the ceremony, Sir Paul McCartney has confirmed that he will perform during the closing of the opening ceremony. Don't be surprised is the world begins singing along to the Beatles hit "Hey Jude" as the ceremony comes to a close.
A day after the excitement of the opening ceremony, the sporting events will be in full gear. Basketball, beach volleyball, gymnastics, football, and tennis are among the many sports that will kick off on July 28.