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London Olympics 2012: Opening ceremonies, exhaustive coverage of games to begin

Torch lighting at the 2008 Olympic Games (Reuters)

Overture, curtain, lights. This is it, the night of nights. And, oh, what heights they'll hit.

At least they hope so. The big moment has arrived, the rehearsals are finished, the lights come up and broadcasters all over the world hope to nail their marks in showing the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in flawless fashion.

Organizers, too, hope things go off without a hitch and in London, they have an exceptionally tough act to follow, at least as far as Summer Games openings go. The 2008 prelude in Beijing was a spectacular feat of choreography, coordination and scope, and already there are fears that the London version can't possibly meet, never mind exceed it.

But, oh how they will try.

Make sure you have a comfy chair and perhaps somebody to check in on you now and again just to make sure you haven't expired during the lengthy salute to... whatever exactly they decide to salute. Could be just about everything you can imagine, as the show will run for 3 and a half hours. (It may seem longer, as their is a planned live performance of the melody challenged official song of the 2012 Games, "Survival," by British rockers "Muse."

[More: Yahoo! Canada Sports' Opening Ceremony live blog]

Dubbed "The Isles Of Wonder," (I dare CTV hosts Brian Williams and Lisa LaFlamme to honour that title by speaking only in Shakespearean English for the entire 3 and a half hours) the ceremony has been pulled together by two-time Academy Award winner, director Danny Boyle, who gave the world the smash hit Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.

Some interesting tidbits about the ceremony, as provided by the Olympic Broadcast Consortium media release:

  • 15,000 square metres of staging, equivalent to 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • 12,956 props, more than 100 times the amount used in a West End musical
  • 10,000 adult volunteer performers
  • 900 children volunteers from schools in the six host boroughs - Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest
  • 25 tonnes, the amount the flying system can lift; equivalent to the weight of five elephants
  • 23 tonnes, the weight of the largest harmonically-tuned bell in the world, measuring two metres tall by three metres wide

In Canada, the Olympic Broadcast Consortium, a friendly enough cooperative between Bell and Rogers, with Bell holding an 80 percent stake to Rogers' 20 percent (Toronto Maple Leafs' fans can only hope their soon to be green lighted co-ownership of the hockey team runs at least this well) will see wall-to-wall to ceiling television coverage, augmented like never before, with "multi-platform" content offerings online, through social media and digitally on your Smartphone, should you care to take the athletes and Brian Williams with you everywhere you go.

[Video: Even the IOC doesn't know who will light the Olympic flame]

Williams, a recent recipient of The Order Of Canada, as much for his charitable work as his extensive work as the dean of Canadian sportscasters, will helm CTV's prime time coverage on a nightly basis, as well as anchoring today's opener. He'll be tackling his 14th Olympics having last been seen, in that regard, eloquently putting the games of 2010 in perspective:

The ceremonies, which begin at 4 pm ET, will be previewed with a two-hour run up show just beforehand, starting at 2pm ET and hosted by James Duthie and Jennifer Hedger. Expect to see a lot of those two, as they are slated to host CTV's "Olympic Daytime," every day between noon and 6 ET. If they're not for you, try catching Michael Landsberg on TSN for mostly the same block of time. Or, switch over to Sportsnet for their extensive coverage as well. All three networks give you almost non-stop Olympic commentary throughout the day and night, right through the end of the games. The line up of hosts and times can be found here.

Good luck in your attempt to survive the opening ceremonies. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and hydrate. Always hydrate.

Related Olympics video from Yahoo! Canada Sports:

More London Olympics content on Eh Game:
"I Believe" makes unwelcome comeback
Clara Hughes in her comfort zone at Olympics
Slideshow: Inspirational Olympic celebrations
Video: Get to know Canadian trampolinist Jason Burnett

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