Steve "Summer Olympics" Suter
A three-hour stadium spectacular is about to get under way in London, marking the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The parade of nations is expected to feature most of the roughly 10,500 athletes taking part in the games. The Olympic cauldron will be lit with a flame that was kindled in May at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece -- but, as always, the identity of the final torch-carrier is a closely-guarded secret. Speculation focuses on Roger Bannister, the first man to run a four-minute mile, in 1954.
One of Britain's most successful contemporary movie directors, Oscar winner Danny Boyle, is presiding over the ceremony. It's supposed to highlight the U.K.'s history and impact on the world.
There will be live animals to portray a vision of a green and pleasant land. There will also be darker, grittier segments that dwell on the industrial might upon which Britain built a global empire and shaped world history.
One segment features actor Daniel Craig as James Bond. Former Beatle Paul McCartney will lead a sing-along.
The $42 million show, with 15,000 volunteers, is expected to be viewed by a global TV audience of a billion people.