Sports fans can start planning their trips to the London 2012 Olympic Games after organizers published the full competition schedule Tuesday.
Article continues below ...
The men’s 100-meter track final, always one of the blue ribbon events, will take place on Sunday, August 5 when Usain Bolt will be attempting to defend the title he won in a world record time in Beijing.
The heptathlon will be held on the first two days of competition — August 3 and 4 — and will be among the first track and field events decided. Britain’s Jessica Ennis will be expected to get the home team off to a rousing start with victory in the seven-discipline event.
Ennis had also harbored hopes of competing in the 100m hurdles, but with that event starting on the morning of August 6, it seems likely that the 24-year-old will concentrate solely on heptathlon glory.
The very first event of the London 2012 Games will actually not take place in the capital but 150 miles (241km) away in Cardiff. That will be a women’s soccer match at the Millennium Stadium at 4:00pm local time on July 25, two days before the opening ceremony.
Another event to be held early in the schedule will be archery, on July 27, several hours before the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.
No fewer than 21 sports roll into action the following day.
The first medals will be won on Saturday, July 28 in women’s weightlifting and the men’s air pistol and women’s air rifle shooting, but the real excitement that day will be in cycling’s men’s road race, which comes to a climax among the crowds in the Mall in central London.
The evening of the 28th will also see the first medals won in the Olympic Park, with four gold medals up for grabs at the Aquatics Centre: men’s 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley, and the women’s 400m individual medley and 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
The final weekend of the Games, August 11 and 12, will see gold medals won in volleyball, basketball, water polo, modern pentathlon, hockey, handball, sailing, gymnastics, soccer, diving, mountain biking, canoe sprint, boxing, archery, athletics and in the men’s and women’s marathons.
"This is a really big moment, a huge moment," said London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, who won 1,500-meter gold in 1980 and 1984.
"In this project, every day you get closer, every day it becomes more of a living creature.
"In my own experience as a competitor this is the point that it suddenly becomes very real."