An expectant London is getting ready to launch the biggest sporting display on earth with excitement reaching fever pitch ahead of the Olympic Video games opening ceremony.
Costing $ 14 billion and featuring much more than 10,000 athletes, the four-yearly sporting extravaganza will open officially following a rollercoaster develop-up.
7 many years after London defeated Paris for the proper to host the 2012 showpiece, the curtain goes up on superstars such as Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Roger Federer as properly as an army of ambitious amateurs.
Iconic venues and landmarks this kind of as Wimbledon, Lord’s and Hyde Park will form the backdrop to the Games while the Olympic Park complex, hosting swimming and athletics, has transformed a previously derelict portion of east London.
“We created five guarantees with the bid, among them to spot athletes at the centre of the venture, to generate a magical ambiance, to inspire the youth of the world and to leave a lasting legacy,” explained Games chief Sebastian Coe.
“It has been an extraordinary journey over seven years.”
The opening ceremony, starting at six.00am (AEST) and expected to be watched by 80,000 spectators and billions worldwide, is being staged by Oscar-winning British movie director Danny Boyle.
His fellow film-maker Stephen Daldry, the ceremony’s innovative director, said the show would highlight “the wealthy heritage, diversity, vitality, inventiveness, wit and creativity that actually defines the British Isles.”
Jamaican track star Bolt insists he is “prepared to go” in his bid to defend his double sprint titles.
“I’m often prepared,” stated Bolt, who will carry his country’s flag at the opening ceremony. “I’ve had slight problems, but I am ready to go.”
Fitness considerations, an early morning automobile crash and dropping more than both the 100m and 200m to compatriot Yohan Blake in the Jamaican Olympic trials raised serious doubts about Bolt’s capacity to defend his titles.
In the pool, Phelps, whose eight golds in Beijing took his general medal tally to 16, requirements 3 much more to surpass the all-time record of 18 set by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina between 1956 and 1964.
His 7-event programme offers him a great deal of room to make far more Video games historical past and anchor a US group established to continue its dominance against Australia and China.
Phelps is the two-time defending champion in all 4 of his personal occasions – the 100m and 200m butterfly and 200m and 400m personal medley.
One particular of his greatest challengers is crew-mate Ryan Lochte, who has emerged as a severe risk in both medleys.
Australia is bringing in the big artillery with James “The Missile” Magnussen and James “The Rocket” Roberts, in the prestigious 100m freestyle.
Magnussen is the 100m free world champion and the fastest man ever in a textile suit with a 47.10sec.
The US have a “Missile” of their personal, nonetheless, in 17-yr-old Missy Franklin, who is set to turn into the first US girl to swim seven occasions at one particular Games.
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, acknowledged as ‘Blade Runner’ simply because he runs with carbon fibre prosthetic working blades, will make background as the 1st double amputee athlete to compete at an Olympics.
At the velodrome, Bradley Wiggins, fresh from his historic Tour de France triumph, will fire up residence hopes.
Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, adds a royal lustre to the equestrian events at Greenwich.
Federer, getting won a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title, returns to the All England Club in southwest London looking to add singles gold to the doubles he won with Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka 4 years ago.
His rivals will be Djokovic and Andy Murray but there will be no defending champion Rafael Nadal, who pulled out to rest his ongoing knee troubles.
The United States will be at ease favourites in the men’s basketball with a Dream Group boasting LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
The last week of construct-up to the Games has endured a number of embarrassing setbacks, most of which have involved combine-ups above nationalities.
North Korea’s women’s football crew walked off the pitch at Glasgow’s Hampden Park in protest at their players’ photographs appearing subsequent to flags of South Korea.