What to watch at the London Olympics
The release of the Olympic competition schedule (PDF link) is always a high spot for me in the four-year Olympic cycle.
As BBC Sport's head of major events, I get very excited - as my colleagues will testify - at the prospect of looking for those events and moments that are likely to capture the audience's imagination during the Games.
Since Barcelona in 1992, I've been planning the detailed television sports schedules and my approach has always been to look for the stories each day. Who are likely to be the stars of the Games? Can our heroes of four years before repeat their successes? Where will the dramatic action take place? Will history be made? We'll shape our plans accordingly.
What follows are some first thoughts which inform our plans but are equally relevant when deciding which tickets to try to buy. On which days should you try to get the unique experience of being there? Which are the days to spend 15 hours on your sofa watching all the action, without missing a moment?
It's your choice, of course, but we'll benefit both ways with full stadia and large TV audiences creating a great atmosphere for both spectators and viewers at home.
The Aquatics Centre, seen in a computer-generated image, will be home to much of the early London 2012 action
Wednesday, 25 July (Day minus-two)
The Olympic Games literally kicks off two days before the opening ceremony with the start of the women's football competition. You should expect live network TV coverage of Team GB's first match; one of six being played around the country at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Coventry and Glasgow.
Note that all the matches will be covered and shown live. We have made a public promise to show all the sporting sessions at the Games, ticketed or otherwise (such as those events on the roads of London), across our platforms.
Thursday, 26 July (Day minus-one)
The next day, it's the turn of the men. Once again we will offer live network coverage of Team GB's first game; it will be one of eight matches taking place at Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.
Friday, 27 July (Day zero)
No agonising to be done here. The focus of the day will be the opening ceremony.
Whatever the creative proposition behind what we expect will be a spectacular event, it will draw a worldwide TV audience measured in billions rather than millions. Tickets will be much sought-after, but there is a potential consolation for those unsuccessful in securing one.
We will be following the progress of the torch right around the country from the moment it arrives on 18 May next year. On this day, it makes its final journey through the streets of London. Good pictures for us and a great opportunity for you to view it first-hand - and it will be free!
Saturday, 28 July (Day one)
The first day proper with the action starting just after eight in the morning and finishing around midnight; 16 hours which sees the first 12 gold medals of the 302 that will be won across the next 16 days.
The actual first gold medal will be in shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich - the women's 10m air rifle. However, the first morning will be dominated by rowing and swimming heats; an early chance to assess the form of British crews at Eton Dorney and a glimpse, perhaps, of the legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps as he begins his campaign to be a multi-medal winner again.
There are free views not just on the streets of London but out as far as Box Hill in Surrey as the six-hour men's cycling road race dominates the middle of the day. Starting at ten, we expect the winner - could it be Britain's Mark Cavendish? - to cross the line in front of Buckingham Palace (that bit is ticketed) between three and four.
The evening will be dominated by the first four swimming finals, but two more sports that I will be looking out for are the start of the tennis and the men's team archery. That's simply because they take place at two of the world's great iconic sports venues: Wimbledon and Lord's Cricket Ground. Let's not forget that Horse Guards Parade stages the start of the beach volleyball, too.
Sunday, 29 July (Day two)
A memorable day four years ago as Britain's Nicole Cooke won the first of Team GB's 19 gold medals in Beijing. Our focus in 2012 will be on her event - the women's road race. Shorter than the men's, it starts at 1200 but finishes around the same time.
There are more rowing and swimming heats in the morning, in which we'll hope that Rebecca Adlington can emulate her success in 2008. The women's 400m freestyle has heats in the morning and the final in the evening.
The hockey competition starts in the Olympic Park with six women's preliminary matches, while Wembley stages its first games of the football tournaments.
We'll also be paying close attention to the sailing, which gets under way at Weymouth. Britain has been the most successful nation at the last three Games and the pressure will be on to make it four in a row. The good news, for spectators and the TV coverage, is that there are good land-based vantage points to watch the action close-up.
Monday, 30 July (Day three)
This is the first of Tom Daley's two dates with destiny. Expect to see him and his partner today in the final of the men's 10m synchronised diving. That starts at 3pm, followed soon after by the first of the artistic gymnastics finals: the men's team, which takes place in the magnificent setting of the O2 Arena (or as it will be known at Games-time, the North Greenwich Arena).
Nearby, Greenwich Park stages the spectacular cross-country phase of the equestrian three-day event. Watch out too for the rowing men's four heats, with the British crew trying to win the event for the fourth Games in succession, and the evening peak-time attraction will again be the action in the swimming pool.
Tuesday, 31 July (Day four)
The spotlight falls again on Greenwich Park with the climax of the three-day event - the show jumping phase. Team and individual medals will be awarded, with Team GB hoping to improve on bronze in both events in 2008.
It's the turn of the women's teams in gymnastics and there's more swimming and rowing too. However, we'll also be watching out for some more dramatic water-based sport. The first canoe slalom medals will be awarded at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Broxbourne.
Finally, Britain's women's football team can secure a quarter-final place today.
Wednesday, 1 August (Day five)
The day starts with attention directed towards the rowing. The first of four days of finals features three gold-medal events, including the prestigious men's eight and the women's quadruple sculls, in which Team GB have had to settle for silver in the last three Games.
There's more cycling action when the women's and men's time trials are staged at yet another iconic venue, Hampton Court Palace.The men's all-around gymnastics champion will be crowned in the early evening, followed by four more swimming finals. We'll also find out if Britain's men's football team have reached the quarter-finals.
Thursday, 2 August (Day six)
Team GB won a grand total of seven track cycling gold medals in Beijing, alongside another three silvers and two bronze. No wonder we, you and the team itself will look forward to the first day of events in the Velodrome.
Medals will be won in the women's and men's team sprints. Also in the late afternoon/early evening slot is the women's all-around gymnastics. There are three more rowing and four more swimming finals, along with the final day of canoe slalom.
Heptathlete Jessica Ennis will be the focus of British aspirations within the Olympic Stadium at London 2012
Friday, 3 August (Day seven)
The Games go up a gear today with the start of the athletics. Just think of the pressure Jessica Ennis will feel - she is the current world champion and favourite for the heptathlon; 100m hurdles and high jump in the morning, followed by the shot put and the 200m in the evening.
It's a big day too for Rebecca Adlington, who will be hoping to defend her 800m freestyle title this evening during the penultimate night of swimming.
There's only one more day of rowing to go, while the first badminton final - the mixed doubles - takes place at Wembley Arena. Lord's stages the final day of Archery, in the shape of the men's individual event. Meanwhile, semi-final places are at stake in the latest round of women's football matches.
Saturday, 4 August (Day eight)
We'll probably call this a 'super Saturday' with 25 gold medals to be won and the action relentless from morning through to night.
The women's triathlon, based around Hyde Park and beyond, kicks the day off. Jessica Ennis is back in action in the long jump and javelin in the morning athletics session, with the gruelling climax - the 800m - to come at the end of the night. It's also the day you can catch a first look at the sensational sprinter Usain Bolt.
The rowing ends with the men's four and lightweight men's double sculls finals - both British gold medals in 2008. It's the last day of swimming, day three of the track cycling, the women's singles tennis final and the men's football quarter-finals.
This is simply an outstanding day's sport from beginning to end, with a great day to follow tomorrow. If you can't get a ticket, this might well be the weekend to stay at home and let us offer you the best seat at the Games!
Sunday, 5 August (Day nine)
After super Saturday, this could be sensational Sunday. Just imagine the scenes in the Mall if Paula Radcliffe wins that elusive Olympic marathon title. The race is off at 11am with a finish after 1pm.
What if Ben Ainslie can take a fourth successive sailing gold medal at Weymouth? The first sailing finals get under way at 1pm, as does the men's singles final at Wimbledon; a date with destiny for Andy Murray perhaps?
Can Usain Bolt repeat his Beijing success at 100m and break the world record in the process? The evening's athletics finishes shortly before 10pm with that final. Earlier that evening it's the women's 400m final, which Christine Ohuruogu won in style four years ago.
Twenty-three gold medals are at stake today, including the final two in the badminton competition at Wembley Arena. There's only one gold medal to be won at the track cycling but it will require a superhuman effort to win it, as today is the climax of a new event, the men's omnium: six disciplines over two days. Watch out, too, as history is made with the Olympic debut of women's boxing in the afternoon session.
Monday, 6 August (Day 10)
A quieter day after the weekend's excitement, but this is one with plenty of potential to create headlines. Keep an eye on the sailing at Weymouth - the Lasers are decided today.
By this stage, matches in team competitions are becoming ever-more crucial. For instance, today sees the final round of women's preliminary hockey with semi-final places at stake. Hopefully Team GB's women's football squad will have already secured a semi-final berth; the games are at Wembley and Old Trafford.
In track cycling, the women's omnium gets under way in the morning session and in the late afternoon the highlight will be the men's sprint final. Could Sir Chris Hoy repeat his Beijing triumph? Earlier in the afternoon, Greenwich Park stages the team show jumping final and we hope Beth Tweddle will feature on the second day of the gymnastics apparatus finals, on the uneven bars.
It's a busy night in the Olympic Stadium, ending with the men's 400m. Meanwhile, the second night of men's boxing quarter-finals follows the afternoon's women's quarter-finals; all winners at this stage are guaranteed a bronze medal at least.
Tuesday, 7 August (Day 11)
It will be an early morning start for Usain Bolt as he begins the defence of his 200m title. Watch out, too, for a first sight of Beijing silver medallist Phillips Idowu in men's triple jump qualification.
The men's triathlon gets under way at 11.30am in Hyde Park. The finish is followed by the final artistic gymnastics session of the Games, ending with the women's floor. It's also the final day of track cycling with the women's omnium decided ahead of the men's keirin and women's sprint - titles won four years ago by Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.
This is also the third day of sailing finals, with the windsurfers competing for gold - remember that Team GB won four golds, one silver and one bronze last time and have a proud record to defend.
The men take to the semi-final football stage at Wembley and Old Trafford and there's a full programme of athletics in the evening, as well as the men's and women's semi-finals of the beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade.
Wednesday, 8 August (Day 12)
The first medal of the day will be won at Eton Dorney. This time, it's the sprint canoeing and the K1 1000 metres - an event won by Britain's Tim Brabants in Beijing.
It's a crowded afternoon: women's boxing semi-finals feature in the Excel Arena; basketball action has transferred from the Olympic Park to the North Greenwich Arena, where it's men's quarter-finals day; the individual show jumping final take place at Greenwich Park; and women's hockey has reached the semi-final stage.
In the evening, it's the women's beach volleyball finals; the last night of men's boxing quarter-finals; and four more athletics titles are decided in the Olympic Stadium. Finally, it's the last chance to see any table tennis - the finals of the men's team competition - and a first opportunity to savour BMX, with the seeding runs.
Thursday, 9 August (Day 13)
No doubt that worldwide attention this evening will be on Usain Bolt in the men's 200m final, while British hearts will be willing on Phillips Idowu to men's triple jump gold. However, there's much more quality sport to savour today.
The women's 10km open water swim is the lunchtime attraction in Hyde Park while Coventry stages the women's football bronze-medal match. There's also more BMX and the men's hockey semi-finals.
The first-ever women's boxing finals will be fought over in the late afternoon followed by the women's football final at Wembley. Once again, but for the final time, beach volleyball - the men's finals - ends the day.
The temporary Basketball Arena hosts basketball preliminaries and handball finals during the Games (computer-generated image)
There'll be no shortage of drama today as the relays are the focus of the evening athletics session, and there are bound to be thrills and spills at the BMX as Britain's Shanaze Reade goes for gold.
It's the turn of the men to have that lunchtime open-water swim in the Serpentine and there's plenty of team competition to savour. As well as the women's hockey medal matches, there are men's basketball semi-finals to enjoy and the men's football bronze-medal match is staged at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
It's a crucial day at Excel with all the men's boxing semi-finals, and it's the third of four days of taekwondo action. However, all eyes in the evening will be on teenage diver Tom Daley as he competes in the men's platform preliminaries.
Saturday, 11 August (Day 15)
It should be a terrific evening at the last night of the athletics, featuring all the excitement of the sprint relays followed by the men's 10m diving final - that second date with destiny for Tom Daley.
He must first come through the morning's semi-finals, which share top billing with the last day of canoeing, where all the finals feature the new 200m sprint distance. It's the final day of sailing, too, with the new women's match racing class.
The early afternoon is taken up with the women's mountain biking at Hadleigh Farm, but the centrepiece of the day is the men's football final at Wembley. A 3pm kick off, and defending champions Argentina will be unable to make it three in a row as they have failed to qualify.
In other team action, there are the men's hockey and women's basketball and volleyball finals. A total of 32 gold medals will be won today. Five of those will be won in the first boxing finals session, which starts at 8.30pm, including the middleweight division won by Britain's James Degale in 2008.
Sunday, 12 August (Day 16)
Before the end-of-Games party can begin, after tonight's closing ceremony, there are still a further 15 gold medals to be won.
The first event to start and the last to finish will be the women's modern pentathlon, in which Team GB has done so well at the last three Games; 8am for the fencing, followed by swimming and riding, and ending with the combined running and shooting phase which starts at 5pm.
In between there's the men's marathon, which gets under way at 11am. Wouldn't it be a fairytale finish if the legendary Haile Gebrselassie could crown his career with a victory today?
That's followed by five more boxing finals, the men's mountain biking and team finals in men's basketball, handball, volleyball and water polo.
All that remains is a closing ceremony to celebrate a feast of sporting achievement and draw the XXX Olympiad to a close. The flame will be extinguished and the Olympic flag passed on to Rio. There'll be many memories to treasure, with some eight million people having had the chance to experience the Games at first hand.
For those who can't, the BBC plans to offer the next best thing with our most comprehensive Games coverage ever across TV, radio and online. Plans are well under way so there's no need to panic. Suddenly, though, the Games seem a lot, lot closer!