Every four years, the world’s greatest athletes convene to test their skills and abilities against each other. Like past events, the 2012 summer games in London (July 27-Aug. 12), are filled with dramatic victories, record-setting performances and heart-wrenching defeats.
Whether you prefer team sports with world-renowned athletes like basketball and soccer, or individual pursuits like track, fencing or wrestling, the event offers something for every sports enthusiast.
Men’s and women’s soccer, with its far-reaching global appeal, is one of the highlights, with six venues across England, Scotland and Wales.
In the men’s draw, the groups are as follows:
· Group A: Great Britain, Senegal, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay;
· Group B: Mexico, South Korea, Gabon and Switzerland;
· Group C: Brazil, Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand; and
· Group D: Spain, Japan, Honduras and Morocco.
In the women’s draw, the U.S. team, which took the gold in 2008, will compete in Group G with France, Colombia and Korea DPR.
Basketball is another high-profile sport. The U.S. men’s team is slated to compete in Group A, which features top teams like Argentina and France. The U.S. women's team is in Group A with Angola, China and three other teams.
The London games will also feature significant star power. Among those to watch are Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder; swimmer Michael Phelps, who has won 16 Olympic medals; and hurdler Lolo Jones, a three-time NCAA title winner.
The spotlight will also shine brightly on the U.S. men’s basketball team featuring NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Top stars on the women's basketball team are Maya Moore, Sue Bird, Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi.
Hugely popular are the victory ceremonies, which take place shortly after the conclusion of a medal event.
Celebrating the achievements of the medal-winning athletes, these ceremonies are always emotional and dramatic as the national anthem of the winner is played and the flags of all three medal winners are raised.
Students from the Royal College of Art in London created the innovative royal purple podiums, and the flower bouquets were fashioned by Jane Packer, an internationally renowned U.K. florist.
NBC owns the broadcast rights for the London games. Viewers should check local listings to confirm broadcast times for events. There will be more than 5,500 hours of coverage, which is nearly 2,000 hours more than NBC’s combined coverage of the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Among those hosting and emceeing NBC’s coverage are Bob Costas, Ryan Seacrest and Dan Patrick.
For those on the go, NBC is providing live streaming video coverage of the online (www.nbcolympics.com) and in their mobile/tablet apps. All 32 sports and 302 events will be featured in live coverage.
If you can't attend, rest assured, you can see the London games easily on your television, computer or mobile phone.