- (Photo: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor)
The schedule for the 2012 Summer Games gets under Friday with an extensive opening ceremony beginning at 9 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) at the Olympic Stadium in East London.
The Internet has been buzzing with questions about what will be involved in tonight's three-hour opening ceremony, but event organizers have managed to keep the details pretty discrete, even coining the Twitter hashtag phrase "savethesurprise."
Prime Minister David Cameron has described the highly secret opening ceremony, which reportedly cost 27 million British pounds, as "spine tingling" and "the greatest show on earth."
Some details, however, have inevitably been leaked. It is known, for example, that celebrity soccer player David Beckham will somehow be involved in the opening event, most likely in a procession accompanied by other famous celebrities.
Additionally, the opening scene, which is directed by Danny Boyle, who also directed the movie "Slumdog Millionaire," is entitled "Green and Pleasant," taken from William Blake's poem "Jerusalem," and meant as a description of the idyllic English countryside.
Farm animals, including chickens and geese, will reportedly be involved in this segment of the ceremony.
Although many Olympians are excited to walk in the opening ceremony as it signifies the beginning to one of their most exciting athletic competitions in their careers, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps will be sitting out of this year's opening ceremony.
Phelps is competing in the 400-meter individual medley early Saturday morning, and wants to avoid any leg fatigue by walking during the opening ceremony.
As the opening ceremony quickly approaches, the Olympic torch is on its final leg before it arrives at the stadium. Church bells are also being rung all over the city, as well as from the famous Big Ben clock tour, to symbolize the beginning of the festivities.
The event will broadcast on the East Coast of the U.S. at 7:30 p.m. and can be viewed online via a live NBC stream. It can also be viewed through regular cable using a Cox or DISH network.