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What to Watch For in the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

I’ve been looking forward to the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London since … well, since the Closing Ceremony in Beijing in 2008. The ceremonies always promise to be an amazing spectacle, but there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss things. Here are some things (big and small) to be on the look-out for on Friday.


  • A faster parade of athletes 1 of 7
    A faster parade of athletes
    One of the best parts of the Opening Ceremony is cheering for our countries as they walk into the stadium. However, the parade of nations can get a little...long. This year organizers say they have a plan to speed up the marching athletes, but they won't say what it is other than it is "some device." A conveyor belt, perhaps?
  • It never rains but it pours. 2 of 7
    It never rains but it pours.
    The weather in Great Britain is famous for changing on a dime, so forecasts predicting rain on Friday night might not come to pass. No matter - you can be sure the Brits won't let a little water ruin the fun.
  • Unidentified Flying Objects 3 of 7
    Unidentified Flying Objects
    People throughout the entire world will be watching the opening ceremony, but will beings from other worlds be looking in too? Some British gamblers hope that is the case as the William Hill Gambling House is offering 1,000 to 1 odds that a UFO will appear in the sky during the ceremony. They're also taking bets on who will win the gold in gymnastics, if you like your bets a bit more traditional.
  • Dipping the flag 4 of 7
    Dipping the flag
    During the opening ceremony most teams briefly dip their country's flag as they pass the host nation's leaders as a sign of respect. The American team hasn't done this since 1908, however, but each Olympics there are rumors the American team will at last dip their flag as a sign of solidarity with the rest of the world. Will America's flag bearer dip the flag when he or she nears the Royal Box?
  • Royal watching, the unofficial Olympic sport 5 of 7
    Royal watching, the unofficial Olympic sport
    Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, Prince William and his wife Catherine, and Prince Harry will attend the opening ceremony, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will officially open the Olympics.
    Photo credit: Wiki Commons
  • He Who Must Not Be Named 6 of 7
    He Who Must Not Be Named
    Suffering from Harry Potter withdrawal now that the final film has been released? If so be on the look out for a special appearance by Harry's nemesis, Lord Voldemort.
    Photo credit: Digital Citizen
  • McCartney, everywhere you look 7 of 7
    McCartney, everywhere you look
    Two generations of McCartneys will play an important role in the opening ceremony. British athletes will wear clothes designed by Stella, the creative director of the British Olympic team, while her father, Sir Paul, will close out the show performing the Beatles classic, "Hey Jude."


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