Photo Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are finally here! For the first time ever, each of the 205 participating nations sent at least one woman athlete -- and U.S. women outnumber the men. So get set for a huge TV weekend on NBC and its networks. Here are some of the highlights of what to watch!
Opening Ceremony, Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The only event on today’s schedule, Opening Ceremony details have leaked, perhaps not surprisingly with 10,000 performers and 10,000 journalists involved. Directed by Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle, the $42-million ceremony's theme is "Isles of Wonder," inspired by William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Also: a cameo by David Beckham!
Swimming, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Saturday night’s 400m IM is the first swimming final of the games, and the trials suggest the event will be one to watch. Catch Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the first night of the finals, which includes the men’s and women’s 400m IM events.
Beach Volleyball, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Saturday’s primetime coverage also includes beach volleyball, featuring two-time gold medal winners Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings of Team USA taking on Team Australia.
Men’s Gymnastics, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Rounding out Saturday night’s lineup is the qualification round for men’s gymnastics, where Team USA is said to be gold-medal-eligible in 2012 if standouts like Danell Leyva and Jon Orozco perform at their best.
Men’s Soccer, Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBC Soccer
Among the larger dramas surrounding Olympic soccer this go round: The Egyptian soccer team will try to restore national pride surrounding the sport, after it saw more than 70 fans killed in a stadium riot in February in the wake of the political revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak. Wake up early (or set the DVR) to watch them take on New Zealand in a Group C preliminary round early Sunday morning.
Women’s Gymnastics, Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, NBC
After dozens of interviews and magazine covers, we finally get to see the tiny, teen sensations of the women’s gymnastics team in action on Sunday night. Though it’s only the qualification round, expect to see Olympic darlings (and rivals) Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas stand out.
Swimming, Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, NBC
Tune in for the men’s 4x100m relay final on Sunday night – you’ll remember the race from 2008, when anchor leg Jason Lezak surged from behind to take the gold for Team USA.
Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.