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Olympics 2012: Opening ceremony -- when it starts, what to expect

July 27, 2012|By Rene Lynch

Coverage of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics begins at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific time zones) Friday on NBC before an audience that will include not just the queen herself but athletic royalty, political royalty and even showbiz royalty.

Among the 60,000 spectators at Olympic Stadium will be Queen Elizabeth II, who'll officially open the games, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, and London's most eligible bachelor, Prince Harry.

More than 80 heads of state and government from around the globe will also attend. Representing the U.S.: First Lady Michelle Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

OLYMPICS 2012: Can't-miss moments

The Associated Press reports that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might be in attendance, and the buzz is that soccer legend and Brit David Beckham will play some key role in the ceremony, details of which are being kept under wraps. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali might also be involved.

The opening ceremony itself is hotly anticipated. Directed by Britain's Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"), the extravaganza is titled "Isles of Wonder" and was inspired by William Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest." The ceremony will culminate in a performance by Paul McCartney.

As the Olympics commence, one of the challenges facing viewers is how to keep track of a record 5,535 hours of Olympics coverage on a variety of channels, and knowing when to tune in to events being held several time zones away. (London is eight hours ahead of L.A.)

The Los Angeles Times put together this nifty TV-watching guide.

NBC has figured out virtually every way to deliver the Olympic Games to you in whatever format you desire.

To start with, has several cool features to help you keep track of events across the pond, including a way to search for localized TV listings based on your ZIP code and cable TV provider. The events are being shown, not just on NBC, but also NBC Sports Network, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

True Olympic junkies (you know who you are) can watch all 32 Olympic sports and 302 Olympic events unfold live, online.

If your boss frowns on you spending your work time watching sports online, you can arrange to get alerts on general Olympics-related news, the Olympic photo of the day and the daily medal count -- and that's just for starters. You can even arrange to get an alert only when the USA pockets a gold medal. 

Want more? There's Live Extra streaming content.

As the world's attention turns to London, it's only appropriate that Friday's Google Doodle honors the quest for gold.  The doodle shows five athletes participating in different sports -- archery, the javelin throw, track and field, soccer ... and synchronized swimming? Or perhaps women's water polo? Hard to tell. What do you think that woman in green is up to?

The Google Doodle is also noteworthy for what it does not show. There's nothing that screams London, and there's no sign of the iconic Olympic rings, representing the five continents that are brought together in these Olympic games, or even an indication of what countries those cartoon athletes hail from.

Perhaps that's because the powers behind the Google Doodle know that we'll be seeing those Olympic rings everywhere, including in our sleep, over the next the next 17 days. And playing favorites is not what the Olympics are about, anyway.

Let the Games begin.


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