When Do The 2012 Olympics Start? Opening Ceremony, Schedule, First Sporting Events & More

The London Summer Games Opening Day is fast approaching, and the world's best athletes and fans of sport from every corner of the globe are readying for the opening ceremony and other 2012 Olympics kick-off events. 

The Summer Olympics fun begins 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 Friday, July 27, 2012, is the big day everyone is waiting for, as it is the date of the eagerly-anticipated 2012 Summer Olympic Games opening ceremony in London.

The ceremony is one of the most tradition-steeped events in all of sport, and it will begin at 9 p.m. GMT, or Greenwich Meridian Time (4 p.m. EST, or Eastern Standard Time, for Americans), on Friday, July 27, 2012.

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.

The name of this year's Olympics opening ceremony is Isles of Wonder, and it 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.

The Olympics opening ceremony's grand finale begins with the carrying of the Olympic Flame into the stadium, where it will be passed through the athletes and given to the ceremonial Torchbearer, who will proceed to light the Olympic cauldron, thereby symbolically kicking off the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Olympic Flame will burn until the end of the 2012 Olympic Games.

There will also be one or more Olympic archery competitions taking place earlier in the day for anyone who wants to see some 2012 Olympics sporting action before they head to the Olympics opening ceremony.

A total of 15,000 performers will take part in the creative performances, and the opening ceremony is projected to be watched an estimated four billion people throughout the world.

But Saturday, July 28, 2012 -- the day after the joy of the opening ceremony -- is when all the sporting fun really begins, as a full slate of events will take place, with everything from volleyball and tennis to swimming and basketball kicking off all on the same day.

The first medals will also be awarded on the 28th, in athletics, cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.

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