The Games of the XXX Olympiad: LONDON 2012 UNZIPPED

Not since Pippa gave us an eyeful of her “London Derrière” during William and Kate’s spring Royal nuptials have the world’s eyes been so keenly focused on the British Empire’s ancient capital. The 2012 Olympic Games are a chance for London—the 2,000-year-old City-on-the-Thames—to captivate the 4 BILLION people—out of a total world population of 7 billion—who are expected to watch the games. Never mind the 4 million who are expected to descend upon the city for London 2012. (as of last week, 7 MILLION tickets for events had actually been sold).

The 2012 Summer Olympics begins Friday, July 27, and ends Sunday, August 12.

A total cast of 15,000 will take part in the London 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Scheduled entertainers include Russell Brand, who is set to perform a comedy version of the Sex Pistols’Pretty Vacant,” as well The Beatles’I Am The Walrus.” Koo-koo-ka-choo.

Live musical performances are scheduled to include Queen—which will perform “We Will Rock You” with Jessie J. and its late lead singer, Freddie Mercury, who will appear as a digital projection—Take That, Annie Lennox, George Michael, The Kinks’ Ray Davies, The Pet Shop Boys, and 1980s British ska band Madness, which will perform their hit “Our House”–a song that rocked Buckingham Palace –and, we hope, Her Majesty—last month during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee extravaganza.

A tribute to British fashion will feature supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Stella Tennant, Lily Cole and Georgia Jagger.

MILITARY DADDY ALERT: 160 of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards—also known as the Coldstream Guards—will march in a military-rendition of “Park Life,” by the band Blur. The Coldstream Guards is the oldest regiment in the British Regular Army in continuous active service, originating in Scotland in 1650.


The Opening Ceremony showcases the best that the Host Nation has to offer. It features a parade of the competing nations, and the highly-anticipated entrance of the Olympic Flame, which is passed through the athletes to the final Torchbearer, who ceremoniously lights the Cauldron, signaling the start of the Games. The Flame will continue to burn for the entirety of the Games.

The Parade of Athletes features a procession of 10,000 athletes, representing the 204 nations that are competing in the 2012 Games. (Teams enter in alphabetical order, according to the language of the Host Country—except for the Greek team, which enters first for the Olympics, and the team of the Host Nation, in this case, Team Great Britain, which marches in last.)

Once the Games have been declared open, the Olympic Anthem will be played, and the Olympic Flag will be unfurled horizontally, carried into the Stadium, and flown from its place of prominence and honor.

A member of Team Great Britain will intone the words of the Olympic Oath. The athlete—holding a corner of the Olympic Flag in his left hand, and raising his right hand—will say, “In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

NBC plans to stream all 32 sports events live online, at nbcolympics.com.

BUY THE NUMBERS:

Olympics Tickets Will Generate Over $1 Billion in Revenue.

ATTENDEES 16 years old and younger PAY THEIR AGE in British Pounds for a Ticket.

$457:               “Premium” Ticketholders Enjoy a Four-Course Lunch, Champagne Reception, and Open Bar at the $11.6 Million London 2012 Hospitality Pavillion.

$31:                 Opening Session Table Tennis Ticket.

$232:               Equestrian Jumping Finals Ticket.

$698:               Men’s Gymnastics Finals Ticket

$3,119:            Opening and Closing Ceremonies Ticket

2/3                   …of all unsold Tickets are for Soccer.

$31,000           …fine for Criminal Scalping and Price Gouging.

7 MILLION       …Number of Tickets sold as of last week.***

 

OLYMPIC-SIZED COMPETITORS

Keep your eye on these athletes while they keep their eyes on the Gold:

 

TEAM USA

LeBron James, 27 (Basketball) The Miami Heat guard/forward was the number one NBA draft pick in 2003 at the age of 18. With his help, the U.S. took home the gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Missy Franklin, 17 (Swimming) The first-time Olympian broke the American record during the 2012 U.S. Swim Trials.

Katie Hoff, 22 (Swimming) Known as the “female Michael Phelps,” she won gold at the 2011 World Aquatic Championships, and medals in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing.

Ryan Lochte, 27 (Swimming) Six-time Olympic medalist—specializing in the backstroke and individual medley—won the World Swimmer of the Year Award, and American Swimmer of the Year twice.

Michael Phelps, 26 (Swimming) 14-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the most successful athletes in the 2004 and 2008 Games. London 2012 is likely be his last Olympics.

Rebecca Soni, 25 (Swimming) A three-time Olympic medalist, she holds the world record for the 100m and the 200m breast stroke (short course).

Terrence Jones, 25 (Taekwondo) He defeated reigning Olympic silver-medalist Mark Lopez during trials, earning a place on the U.S. team.

Steven Lopez, 23 (Taekwondo) Two-time Olympic gold medalist, he is also the first Taekwondo fighter to win five world championships, learning the sport in his garage when he was 5 years old. Siblings Mark, Diana and Jean are also Olympians, and were team-mates at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Serena Williams, 30 (Tennis) She dominated Wimbledon this year, and she and sister, Venus, are likely to score big in Jolly Old England.

Tyson Gay, 30 (Track and Field) The former world record-holder in the men’s 100m sprint—before Usain Bolt broke it—he is a three-time winner at the World Outdoor Championships, but has never won an Olympic event.

Ryan Hall, 29 (Track and Field) The first American runner to break one-hour in the half-marathon, he posted the fastest marathon time—ever—by an American during the Boston Marathon.

…and other International Stars Who Are Likely to Shine:

AUSTRALIA: Matthew Mitcham, 24 (Diving) The openly-gay—and openly-hot—Mitcham is a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, and the first Australian to win a gold medal in diving since 1924. Johnson & Johnson’s Athlete Family Support Program sponsored Mitcham’s boyfriend to attend the 2008 Beijing Games. (And did I mention that smile?)

CHINA: Du Li, 30 (Shooting) She and sports-shooter husband, Pang Wei, have a house full of medals. True story: on opening day of the 2008 Beijing Games, Du Li gave birth to their son.

FRANCE: Teddy Riner, 23 (Judo) Also known as “Teddy Bear,” the 6’8”, 306-pound Judo champ is the first judoka to have won five world titles. Although he brought home the bronze in 2008 Beijing Games, he has yet to touch the Olympic gold.

GERMANY: Peter Joppich, 29 (Fencing) Considered among the world’s best foil fencers, he won his first world championship when he was 21.

GREAT BRITAIN: Tom Daley, 17 (Diving) Daley was 13 years old when he became the youngest competitor to participate in a final, representing Britain at the 2008 Beijing Games. He started diving at 7, and won the 2009 FINA World Championship at 15, followed by two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

IRAN: Sara Khoshjamal Fekri, 24 (Taekwondo) The first Iranian woman to qualify and compete in the Olympics for taekwondo.

JAMAICA: Usain Bolt, 25 (Track and Field) “Lightning” Bolt is—without question—the fastest man in the world. A five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist, he holds the current record for the 100 and 200 meter races.

JAPAN: Kohei Uchimura, 23 (Gymnastics) The Olympic silver medalist made history in October 2011, becoming the first gymnast to win three consecutive all-around world titles. As they say in Japanese, 熱い! (“Hot!”)

RUSSIA: Ekaterina Gamova, 31 (Volleyball) At 6’8,” Gamova is one of the world’s tallest female athletes. She is also the world’s highest-paid female volleyball player, playing the net for as much as 1.5 million Euros.

SCOTLAND: Christopher Hoy, 35 (Track Cycling) Make that “Sir” Chris (the Scottish-born Hoy was knighted in 2009). A three-gold-medal-winner at the 2008 Beijing Games, he is the first Brit to win three gold medals in a single Olympic game since 1908, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time.

SOUTH KOREA: Im Dong-Hyun, 25 (Archery) His eyesight—20/200!—is so bad, that he’s considered legally blind, but he is widely held to be the world’s best archer. A two-time Olympic gold medalist (2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing) who does not wear corrective glasses or contacts during competition, and has refused offers of free eye surgery to improve his vision, he will attempt to earn his third Olympic gold medal in London.

The Road to Rio

The London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony on August 12 will include a Handover of the Olympic Flag by London Mayor Boris Johnson to Mayor Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro, the host city of 2016 Summer Olympics. At the Closing Ceremony, the 10,000 competing athletes march together, instead of by nationality, a tradition that began at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games as a way to bring the athletes of the world together as “one global nation.”

Three national flags are hoisted, to the accompaniment of the respective national anthems: the flag of Greece to honor the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, the flag of the Host Nation (Great Britain), and the flag of the country hosting the next Summer Olympic Games (Brazil). Following the parade of athletes, the Victory Ceremony will feature highlights footage of the previous two weeks’ Games. Tickets to the closing ceremony are still available—with prices in the $2,282, $1,513, and $996 range, for an event its producer describes as “the biggest after-show party – the show being the sport.”

Citius, Altius, Fortius!

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Cliff Dunn