Although the football competition is already underway for both the men and women, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London will officially start on Friday, July 27, at 9 p.m. local time in London, or at 4 p.m. EST.
It will be live-streamed by NBC, provided you have an adequate cable provider.
On the ground in London, the show is certain to be very British, if nothing else.
Also, expect this summer's kick-off party to be much more modest than the marvelous and somewhat bizarre presentation of Chinese culture in 2008 in Beijing, which featured a dazzling display of light pollution unlike anything the world has ever seen.
The ceremony has already been dubbed the "Isles of Wonder" by the London Organizing Committee (LOCOG).
The show is set to begin with the sounding of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe, followed by the opening scene entitled "Green and Pleasant"—a tribute to the lush British countryside featuring authentic farm animals.
LOCOG Artistic Director Danny Boyle promises that the ceremony will display the absolute best of Great Britain:
"Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony that we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people."
With Boyle—the Academy Award-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire—directing the spectacle, it is certain to be an excellent show.
Most of the ceremony has been shrouded in secrecy, but the legendary Sir Paul McCartney is expected to make an appearance (via Jillian Eugenios, MSNBC.com).
The show is also expected to feature characters from famous British literature:
“There's a very close connection between some of the great writers of children's literature who have been immortalized actually by Disney: Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook, Alice in Wonderland, The Queen of Hearts, but actually they originated in British literature. And the most famous of that is Peter Pan.”
No official word on whether or not The Doctor will be there—but we can only assume (and hope) he will be.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth will be there, but her role in the ceremony is still somewhat uncertain.
As per tradition, she will be officially greeted by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge in what will be a key part of the ceremony.
There will also be the traditional parade of athletes in alphabetical order of country, aside from Greece, which will be first, and Great Britain, which will be last.
Rogge and LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe will both speak before allowing Her Majesty to officially open the Games.
It hasn't yet been revealed who the final torchbearer will be.
No matter who it is and no matter the mysterious details, I expect the ceremony to be classy above anything else.
Boyle is known for capturing emotion in his films, and the opening ceremony should do just that—capture the emotion and passion of the Olympic Games.
Make sure you tune in on Friday to see what should be nothing less than an amazing spectacle.
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