The Olympics Are Here! Our Guide to the Sports Your Kids Will Want to Watch

Competition in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is already underway, and tonight's Opening Ceremonies promise to be a spectacle worth letting your kids stay up late to watch. But chances are you don't want your kids glued to the TV for the full span of competition -- 36 sports over 17 days! -- and we're not sure that canoeing and sailing would capture their interest, anyway. What will? Check out this list of exciting events your kids will want to watch:

Archery
Kids who loved Brave and were wowed by Merida's skill with a bow and arrow will want to watch the Olympic archers aim for the bullseye -- both in individual and team (who knew?) competition. Thwack!

Cycling - BMX
Making just its second appearance as an Olympic event, BMX, or bicycle motocross, requires fast pedaling, dangerous dips and spectacular airborne jumps over mounds of dirt. Expect wipeouts and lots of intense action. Can you say "boy nirvana"?

Diving
Forget the jack-knife -- Olympic divers complete multiple flips and twists in every dive, and even do handstands on the trecherously high 10-meter platform (that's nearly 33 feet high!) Their goal? To hit with water with little or no splash. (Yes, that's the complete opposite of the cannonballs your kids probably love to do!)

Football

Got a budding soccer star who can bend it like Beckham? (And admit it: Mama just likes to watch Beckham!) Football -- or as we call it, soccer -- can certainly have long stretches where not much happens, but if your kid already loves the sport, nothing can beat the excitement of watching those fast feet, headers and corner-kick goals.

Gymnastics - Artistic
Moms may remember Mary Lou Retton, but little girls can look to their own pint-sized heroines on the U.S. Gymnastics team. The fearless girls will flip, twist and leap on the vault, uneven parallel bars, balance beam (just 4-inches wide!) and floor exercise. On the Men's side, don't miss the high-flying, look-ma-no-hands action of the Horizontal Bar.

Gymnastics - Rhythmic
It's the lesser-known cousin of artistic gymnastics, but rhythmic gymnasts wow in their own right, by leaping, spinning and dancing with props like ribbons, hoops, clubs and balls -- without dropping them!

Synchronized Swimming
Precision movements are the hallmark of synchronized swimming (along with shellacked hair and oodles of makeup). We're betting any little kid who loves ballet will also love the sparkly swimsuits and dance-like movements of these athletes -- and will be amazed that they're doing it all while staying afloat!

Trampoline
The newest gymnastics event -- it debuted at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney -- trampoline is the one that might thrill your kids the most. Besides the requisite flipping and twisting, the athletes can bounce to dizzying heights -- more than 30 feet up in the air! 

All set to cheer now? Get the full sport-by-sport competition schedule here. And check out more iVillage Olympics coverage here.

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