Canadians will have access to over 5,500 hours of Olympic coverage during the 2012 London Games, from the Opening Ceremonies on Friday evening, to the Closing Ceremonies on August 12th.
About one billion viewers worldwide are expected to watch Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle’s riff on Shakespeare’s The Tempest at London’s Olympic Stadium (a show that will reportedly feature thatched-roof cottages and live animals). There have been reports of “creative tension” with organizers, one thing is certain, they want to get the roughly £27-million ($42.8-million) curtain-raiser right.
Cycling: Men’s road race
Fresh off winning the prestigious Giro d’Italia, Ryder Hesjedal of Canada pulled out of the Tour de France early after a crash.
The Canadian team, appearing in the Olympics for the first time since the 2000 Games, opens preliminary round play against Russia.
Swimming: Men’s 400-metres freestyle
One of Canada’s greatest forces in the pool, Ryan Cochrane, won bronze in the 1,500 in 2008. He’ll challenge for a medal at this distance, too.
Judo: Men’s under-60 kilograms
Following in the footsteps of his father, a Brazilian Olympian in 1988, Canadian judoka Sergio Pessoa fights for the podium.
As group play continues, Canada takes on South Africa in its second match of the tournament.
Diving: Women’s synchronized three-metre springboard
Quebec divers Émilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel take aim at the podium.
Swimming: Men’s 4x100-metres freestyle relay
It’s expected to be a battle of swim world powers, as the Australians and Americans headline.
Cycling: Women’s road race
Multitalented summer and winter athlete Clara Hughes tries to break the record for the most career Olympic medals by a Canadian. (Hughes and speed-skater Cindy Klassen have six each.)
The tournament tips off with Team USA, packed with NBA stars, beginning defence of its Olympic gold medal with a preliminary round tilt against France.
Swimming: Men’s 200-metres freestyle
Rivals faceoff in the pool, as Ryan Lochte is primed to escape the shadow of fellow American Olympic superstar Michael Phelps.
Diving: Men’s synchronized 10-metre platform
It’s the first look at the 18-year-old who shoulders Great Britain’s weighty expectations, as Tom Daley teams with Peter Waterfield in the event.
Canada takes to the court again, with the crowd firmly against it, as it meets Olympic-host side Great Britain.
Gymnastics: Men’s all-around team
China has dominated men’s gymnastics for years, but this time, Japan and the United States appear ready to unseat it and take the coveted crown.
The grass of Wimbledon will challenge hard-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, who has three pro wins but none on grass. Daniel Nestor partners with Vasek Pospisil in doubles.
Diving: Women’s synchronized 10-metre platform
Canadians Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito must get past the dominant Chinese for Olympic gold.
Gymnastics: Women’s all-around team
Eight teams of five gymnasts try to unseat the world champion Americans. The Canadians are led by Kristina Vaculik, Victoria Moors, Brittany Rogers, Dominique Pegg and Ellie Black.
Swimming: Men’s 200-metres butterfly
Michael Phelps of the United States is the favourite to win his signature race for the third consecutive Olympics.
Rowing: Men’s eight final
The Canadian boat will be hard-pressed to defend its Beijing gold after mass retirements and coach Mike Spracklen fell into disfavour. Beaten by Germany and Britain at the world championships, but still a podium threat.
Cycling: Women’s individual time trial
Former speed-skating star Clara Hughes hasn’t forgotten how to win on a bike, taking gold at the Pan American Games time trial and road race in 2011.
Diving: Men’s synchronized three-metre springboard
Can Alexandre Despatie synchronize his springboard dives with Reuben Ross after suffering a concussion and gash on his head from hitting the board in a June 12 warmup? He admits preparation was “not ideal.”
Swimming: Men’s 100-metres freestyle
Australia’s James (Missile) Magnussen owns the best time in the event this year by a half-second and wants to take down the record 46.91 seconds Cesar Cielo of Brazil set wearing a high-tech suit.
Judo: Women, Men
Kelita Zupancic stars on the mat in the women’s under-70 kg class and Alexandre Émond in the men’s under-90 kg. Émond, 2011 Pan Am Games bronze medalist, has won nine medals at nationals, including five gold.
Swimming: Men’s 200-metres individual medley
The ultimate showdown in the pool pits Michael Phelps against teammate – and challenger to his throne – Ryan Lochte. Less than 1/10th of a second separated them at the U.S. trials.
Rowing: Women’s eight final
A veteran team from Canada strives to overtake the U.S. front-runners, who have beaten the Canadians the last two seasons in world events. It’s the third Olympics for Darcy Marquardt, who came back to rowing after being inspired by the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Gymnastics: Women’s individual all-around
Shawn Johnson (silver medal in 2008) leads a who’s who of U.S. returnees. Canada sends out determined three-time national champ Kristina Vaculik, who’s taken a year away from Stanford University.
Athletics: Men’s shot put
Canadian Dylan Armstrong starts his quest for a medal in qualifying rounds against defending Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski of Poland and German David Storl, the current world champion.
Swimming: Women’s 200-metres backstroke
Missy Franklin, probably the marquee female on the U.S. Olympic team, has perhaps her best chance at an individual gold medal here.
Rowing: Men’s pair final
New Zealanders Eric Murray and Hamish Bond rule the event, having won a World Cup in Switzerland this spring by seven seconds over archrivals Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Pete Reed of Britain. Canada’s Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen will try to spoil the party.
Canadian Jason Burnett reached the podium in 2008, taking home a silver medal. Can he win gold in his second Olympics?
Swimming: Men’s 4x100-metres medley relay
U.S. star Michael Phelps says he’ll retire after these Games, and if so, this will be his last event.
Tennis: Women’s final
Serena Williams of the U.S. seeks her first Olympic gold medal in an event that has not always smiled upon favourites.
Helen Jenkins of Britain hopes to add Olympic gold to her two world titles (2008 and 2011), but she’ll be pushed by a host of others, including 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Emma Moffatt of Australia and Paula Findlay of Canada.
Sailing: Men’s 470 event
Malcolm Page of Australia is the most-highly decorated 470 men’s sailor of all time, having won four world championships. He is the defending Olympic champion, although four years ago, he sailed with Nathan Wilmot. This time, his partner is Mathew Belcher.
Athletics: Men’s 100-metres
Usain Bolt of Jamaica will be back to defend his title, but it’s not a certain win. He was defeated at his national Olympic trials by Yohan Blake.
Cycling: Men’s omnium
Canada’s Zach Bell competes in one of six events (four-kilometre individual pursuit) that make up the omnium event. Last April, he had been tied with Australian Glenn O’Shea going in the final 1-km time trial at the world championships, but the Aussie was faster that day.
Tennis: Men’s final
The gold-medal match will go without defending Olympic champion Rafael Nadal, who is injured. That could leave 2012 Wimbledon champ Roger Federer and rival Novak Djokovic to battle it out for the win.
Equestrian: Show jumping team
Canada is back to wrestle with archrivals the United States in Round 1 of the team final. The U.S. won gold at the 2008 Games; Canada silver.
Kayak: Men’s K1 1,000-metres
Canadian paddler Adam van Koeverden begins his pursuit of a fourth Olympic medal as his only 2012 event opens with preliminaries.
Canoe: Men’s C1 1,000-metres
The son, grandson and nephew of four former Olympians, canoeist Mark Oldershaw can win the family’s first medal – as long as he survives the preliminaries.
The new U.S. Dream Team of NBA stars takes on world No. 3 Argentina in its final game of the group stage.
Kayak: Men’s K2 1,000-metres
Hugues Fournel (whose sister, Émilie, is competing in the women’s event) and partner Ryan Cochrane could sneak on to the podium. But first: the preliminaries.
Athletics: Men’s triathlon
Canadian flag-bearer Simon Whitfield races for his third Olympic medal. Does he still have it at 37?
Diving: Men’s three-metre springboard
Two-time Olympic silver medalist, Alexandre Despatie of Canada should be there for the semi-finals and final of his signature event.
Cycling: Women’s omnium
Two-time world champion Tara Whitten of Canada goes for gold she attempts to show why she has dominated the multiple-race track event.
Athletics: Women’s 100-metres hurdles
A trio of Canadians, Nikkita Holder, Jessica Zelinka and Phylicia George, could all potentially make the final.
Kayak: Men’s K1 1,000-metres
Trying to capture the gold medal that eluded him in 2008, Adam van Koeverden of Canada should challenge for his fourth Olympic medal.
Equestrian: Individual jumping
Canadian star Eric Lamaze, a double medalist in Beijing in 2008, attempts to defend his gold medal aboard Derly Chin de Muze, the horse replacing the late Hickstead.
Wrestling: Women’s 48 kilograms
Beijing gold medalist Carol Huynh of Canada takes part with an eye on a return to the podium.
Canoe: Men’s C1 1,000-metres
Fifth at the worlds a year ago, paddler Mark Oldershaw of Canada wants to go one step further and make the podium.
Athletics: Men’s 200-metres
The explosive Usain Bolt looks to defend his Olympic title in the event, perhaps against fellow Jamaican speedster Yohan Blake.
Boxing: Women’s 75 kilograms
Canadian Mary Spencer, the three-time world champion and Olympic wild-card entry, could be slugging it out in the final.
Wrestling: Women’s 55 kilograms
Tonya Verbeek of Canada competes in the class in which she claimed a silver medal in Beijing.
The United States has won three of the four women’s soccer tournaments at the Olympics, settling for silver in 2000. It is the favourite once again, as both the bronze- and gold-medal games take place.
Cycling: Men’s BMX
Tory Nyhaug of Canada is determined to compete despite a bad crash that cost him his spleen in May. Before his accident, he had made the final of three World Cup races.
Synchronized Swimming: Team final
It could be a Canada-Russia battle. The Russians have dominated the sport since its inception, while Canada’s last Olympic medal in the team event, a bronze, came in 2000.
Wrestling: Men’s freestyle
Canadians Matt Gentry (74 kilograms), and David Tremblay (55 kg) take to the mats in search of glory.
Cycling: Women’s mountain bike
Catharine Pendrel of Canada gave up horses and dressage for mountain bikes. It’s turned out to be a wise choice. The 2011 cross-country world champion has been building off her fourth-place finish in Beijing, and is considered a favourite in London.
Athletics: Men’s 4x100-metres relay final
All eyes will be on the track where the Jamaicans are the defending champions and Usain Bolt is keen for another victory pose.
Basketball: Women’s final
The female version of the U.S. Dream Team is aims to win its fifth consecutive gold medal.
Diving: Men’s 10-metre tower
Britain’s Tom Daley goes for gold in his favoured event. This is the medal all of England expects him to win, but the Chinese will be tough to beat.
Wrestling: Men’s freestyle
Arjan Bhullar of Canada grapples in the 120-kilogram class. Bhullar won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Basketball: Men’s final
Does the U.S. team earn lasting fame or nagging infamy? The men’s gold- and bronze-medal games will determine how the 2012 Dream Team is remembered.
Athletics: Men’s marathon
The race once again features the mighty Kenyans against the relentless Ethiopians. One of the prerace favourites is Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai, who won 2011 London marathon in record time.
The event signal the end of the show … and on to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.