The Olympics are a month and a half away, and already excitement is growing for the first games in London in more than 60 years.
The producers have released the details of the Opening Ceremony, set to take place on July 27 in London's new Olympic Stadium. British film director and Danny Boyle, known for his work on ambitious movies like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting," is at the helm, directing an army of more than 10,000 cast, crew and volunteers.
The ceremony, titled "Green and Pleasant," will transform the stadium floor into a verdant English countryside, complete with meadows, rivers, families taking picnics on fields, and real farm animals grazing. Boyle said the theme is an "attempt to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we have come, and where we want to be."
Ceremonial extravaganza--the Opening Ceremonies by the numbers:
• £27 million spent on the Opening Ceremony
• 1 billion people expected to watch
• 157 cast rehearsals have already taken place
• 12,956 props (for all four ceremonies)
• 23,000 costumes (for all four ceremonies), including 24,570 buttons for just one sequence in the Opening ceremony
• 2,632 lights and lamps
• 500 speakers and 50 tonnes of sound equipment
• 12 horses, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, 9 geese, 70 sheep and 3 sheep dogs.
• 2 short films will be produced by the BBC for the Opening Ceremony
Part of history
It's no surprise Boyle and his team are working overtime to make a big splash in the opener: Olympic opening ceremonies have provided some of the most memorable moments in past games.
A quivering Mohammad Ali surprised the crowd at the 1996 Atlanta games as he stepped out to become the final torch bearer and light the Olympic cauldron.
The Athens Games in 2004 were particularly special, as the Olympics came home to Greece for the first time in more than 100 years. The spectacle was appropriately breathtaking.
Considered one of the most dramatic cauldron-lighting moments, the 1992 Barcelona Olympiad featured paralympic archer Antonio Rebello shooting a burning arrow to ignite the flame.
At the controversial 2008 Beijing games, every moment was extravagant and dramatic. Thousands of fireworks, a sumptuous lightshow, and what turned out to be a lip syncing little girl awed audiences around the world.