by Anna Wright
The 2012 Summer Olympics kicks off this Friday evening in London with the opening ceremonies at Olympic Stadium. The opening ceremonies, planned by Slumdog Millionaire’s director Danny Boyle, are expected to be a celebration of British culture past and present. Expect appearances to range from Bond to the Beatles, Poppins to Potter, and of course, the royal family. In celebration of her 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II of England opens the ceremonies.
This will be the second time that London has hosted the Olympics, 1948’s first bid was in the midst of World War Two. Brits are excited for a second chance to host, and for these games to have a more lighthearted feel. From parties thrown at Buckingham Palace to fireworks over the Thames, everyone is celebrating. During the next 17 days, viewers will have an opportunity to watch the world’s best of the best compete.
The name on the tip of everyone’s tongue is Michael Phelps, the swimmer who will become the most decorated Olympian in history if he wins only three more medals. Ryan Lochte also takes to the water for the USA, legend David Beckham competes on the soccer field, and Roger Federer wields his tennis racket in hopes of gold.
Tweeted by London 2012:
For the first time in Olympic history all participating teams will have female athletes
Much to the delight of all, more women athletes are participating in the 2012 games. Keep an eye out for Lolo Jones and her record-breaking hurdle skills, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jeannings’ beach volleyball duo, and 16-year old Gabby Douglas on the uneven bars. Make sure to catch Michigan native Jordan Weiber, defending her gymnastics title as the 2011 All-Around World Champion, while Tia Brooks of Grand Rapids competes in the women’s shot put. Even if shooting isn’t your thing, you may want to watch Malaysia’s Nur Suryani Taibi pick up her rifle this Saturday. Not only is she the first woman to ever represent Malaysia in the Olympics, she’s nearly 8 months pregnant and still competing!
Though the Olympics are held for an athletic purpose, they represent so much more. Teamwork. Ambition. Patriotism. Diplomacy. The entire world unites for a couple weeks to watch the elite compete – in a friendly way. For once in today’s tumultuous world, the competition is on the soccer field instead of the battle field. And that’s something worth watching.
Photo credits: London 2012
Tune into NBC tonight at 9pm EST to catch the opening ceremonies.
For more information on the 2012 London Olympics, including schedules, interviews and up-to-date footage click here:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anna Wright has a special place in her heart for Michael Phelps, as do many others. She was a sprinter in high school and has a great appreciation for sporting events and the human form.