Olympic 2012 Opening Ceremony schedule: 2012 London Olympics times and events for Friday, July 27

The Games begin in grand and royal style as London, the first city to host the Olympics three times, welcomes the world with Queen Elizabeth II officially opening the Games.

Coverage begins tonight at 7:30 on WPTV. NewsChannel 5 will begin immediately after the ceremonies at midnight -- when we will be unveiling our new set, so make sure you tune in!

The Opening Ceremony, directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Danny Boyle ( Slumdog Millionaire) also features the Parade of Nations, as athletes from more than 200 countries march into the Olympic Stadium together in one of the most powerful symbolic events in the world.

The pageantry culminates with the always highly anticipated lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.

Fencing star Mariel Zagunis will lead Team USA in the ceremony. Zagunis, a two-time gold medalist, will serve as flag-bearer for the U.S.

This is also a time of remembrance - the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Olympics when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed in Munich.

The IOC would not allow a moment of silence at the ceremony. NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas, however, plans an on-air minute of silence of his own.

Saturday preview: 14-time gold medalist Michael Phelps' first swim of the London Games is in the qualifying heats of the 400m individual medley, the first of his four chances to become the first male swimmer to win an individual event at three consecutive Olympics. Daytona Beach, Florida's Ryan Lochte is the reigning world champion and has dominated the event of late, including a head-to-head victory over Phelps at the Olympic Trials.

Plus, LIVE coverage of beach volleyball, always one of the most electric sports of the Games, from the heart of ceremonial London, at Horse Guards Parade, and the first day of the rowing competition, from prestigious Eton Dorney.

Visit our Olympic Zone page for live streaming video, slideshows, athlete profiles and more. Click here: http:// bit.ly/NyjtnC

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