Build-up to London 2012 Olympic Ceremony

Key Points

  • The public have started entering the Olympic Park ahead of the opening ceremony which begins at 21:00 BST. BBC One's special programme, available online in the UK, is from 19:00 BST
  • The Olympic flame has travelled down the Thames and will stay in City Hall until it appears at the opening ceremony for the cauldron lighting
  • Today's Olympic events got under way with preliminary archery at Lord's cricket ground, where the first two world records of London 2012 were claimed by South Korea

Join the discussion

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions


    Our live text is on the move now as the BBC 2012 team's coverage continues on this Sport page where we will bring you all the build up to the opening ceremony. Please do join us there.


    Alice Fraser, 11, Fleetville Junior School, St Albans is on the Olymic Park as she's a volunteer in the ceremony. She said: "Currently eating in the handball arena. The seats are multi-coloured and everything is pink and purple. The mascots are here and waving and hugging people."


    A reminder of the schedule for this evening: At 19:00 BBC One's special programme begins, covering the build-up to 21:00 when Danny Boyle's spectacular opening ceremony gets under way. That is due to last beyond midnight and the identity of the person lighting the Olympic cauldron remains a closely guarded secret.


    Earlier Lord Coe said there would not be an empty seat in the house for tonight's ceremony as a "handful" of unsold tickets for the extravaganza had now been allocated.

    Toni Minichiello, coach to GB heptathlon medal hope Jessica Ennis

    tweets: "On my way back to the hotel at our holding camp, last big session done by @J_Ennis a little food then watch the opening ceremony."


    Mr Blair said "I think people will see that nobody can put on the Olympics in quite this way with quite this style, with a very British passion, raising the roof and raising an eyebrow. It's a combination of Olympic spirit with great British spirit.


    Tony Blair, who was British prime minister in 2005 when London won the bid to host the Olympics, told the BBC it was "incredibly exciting" that the day had arrived. "The dream we had those seven years ago is becoming a reality," he said.

    Nick Bowyer

    tweets: At the Olympic Park miles earlier than expected. No queues for the Javelin train at all. #excitementbuilding


    Earlier Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said having invested £100m a year for the last four years there would no doubt be some "great inspirational performances and some surprises" at these Games. She said: "It's not only about the money but the talent and commitment of those youngsters."

    GB diver Tom Daley

    tweets: "Can't wait for the opening ceremony tonight!!!!"

    Claire Heald BBC 2012

    The wild meadow planting throughout the park makes it feel, well, like a proper park. Cornflowers in the shadow of the stadium are quite something. Everyone who comes by seems to stop, enjoy, remark on how they weren't expecting it. Shame the smell is of chips, from the kiosks behind.

    Cornflowers in the shadow of the Stadium
    BBC London 94.9

    tweets this picture of people heading through Stratford to get to the opening ceremony.

    Stratford crowds

    The BBC Radio 5 Live commentary team, including Gordon Farquhar in purple shirt and Mark Pougatch in green, are already hard at work at their desk in the Olympic Stadium, as this photo from producer Ben North shows.

    The BBC Radio 5 Live commentary team, including Gordon Farquhar in purple shirt and Mark Pougatch in green, are already hard at work at their desk in the Olympic Stadium

    It is now three hours to the start of the Olympic opening ceremony.

    A few minutes ago London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe said the show would "be packed full of fun, surprise, have big British moments and be quite poignant in places".


    Snow Patrol, Duran Duran, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini will celebrate the start of the Olympics at a special concert in Hyde Park this evening. The show coincides with the opening ceremony, which will be shown on big screens in the park. The BBC's Lizo Mzimba spoke to Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, who will be representing Northern Ireland at the concert. Watch the video here.

    1757: Huw Edwards BBC opening ceremony commentator

    The ceremony will be quirky and eccentric. There are some very unexpected elements. Some critical pieces of information have not been shared with us so it will be as much as surprise for us on the commentary team as it will be for you at home when they unfold this evening. That's why we're all on tenterhooks.


    Admitting to being a little nervous ahead of the opening ceremony Lord Coe said: "We don't want to let people down. It's been a great journey and we want to make people feel proud and I want them to leave smiling."


    Milima Malaiya and his wife were among the first people queuing to get into the park this morning having travelled to London from Warrington last night. Carrying Union Jack flags and wearing Team GB baseball caps Dr Malaiya: "The moment it was announced the Games would be held here I was determined to be at the opening ceremony. I just can't wait to be part of such a wonderful national celebration."

    Olympic rowing champion Zac Purchase

    tweets: "Can't wait to put on my @TeamGB opening ceremony outfit!! It's so brilliantly bling! Pics to follow later!"


    Anish Kapoor designer of the Orbit tower on the Olympic Park says it provides "a view of London you don't normally get."


    Chair of London 2012 Sebastian Coe said tells the BBC: "I'm as excited as hell today. To see everyone coming on to the Park."

    "I think people are looking forward to a show that's packed full of fun tonight."

    Claire Heald BBC 2012

    Some of the 70,000 Games Maker volunteers are waiting outside the athletes' village for them to come out and line up later. It's their first shift, and from the outset of the signing up process they have been nervous of talking to the press as they've been told not to. They won't quoted by name, lest they be whisked off the park. But they are beaming. "It's like my childhood dream, always wanting to go to an Olympics," says one.

    Ogaga Emonena, Nigeria

    emails: I can't wait for the opening ceremony. Wishing team Nigeria good luck.

    BBC London 94.9

    tweets: "The A-list have arrived! Richard E. Grant - we're loving the scarf!"

    Richard E Grant

    More on that fire at Weymouth Pavilion next to the beach hosting Weymouth and Portland's opening ceremony for the Olympics. It is understood to have broken out in the men's toilet of the building, Dorset Fire and Rescue said. Read the story here.


    Former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell says the Games would leave a legacy you could "touch and feel" as well as providing people with jobs.

    1729: BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts in Weymouth

    GB sailing boss Stephen Park says he is hoping for one of the country's best ever medal hauls. Target is four, but he says they have realistic chances in all 10 classes.

    Rob Hodgetts BBC Sport

    tweets: Impromptu GB sailing press conf on harbour wall cos of Pavilion fire. People on boats grin from below, kids with buckets & spades wander in.

    1720: Claire Heald BBC 2012
    Flags at the athletes village

    Athletes shouldn't you be getting ready by now? At the Village, each team has hung their national flag from the balcony - specifically the German diving team here. In a few hours they will be out here ready to march to the stadium.

    Ant, from Liverpool,

    emails: Will Danny Boyle's English countryside vision include protesting dairy farmers!?


    Wondering how to watch the Olympics on BBC TV?

    You can view the 2,500 hours of live sport on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC HD and BBC One HD as well as on the Red Button and the BBC website.

    Karandeep Singh

    emails: It will be the best Olympics ever. Britishers have united the whole world. I want to see Brits at the top of medal tally.

    Stuart Bowman in Barnsley

    emails: My son is down there as part of the Guard of Honour, just hope I catch a glimpse of him.

    Great Britain flagbearer Sir Chris Hoy

    tweets: Just arrived in the village, it looks amazing. Everyone is buzzing, can't wait for this evening!


    This just in from Weymouth: A fire has broken out at the beach-side pavilion that was meant to be hosting an opening ceremony party tonight.

    Three British sailors and the team manager were due to hold a news conference in the building at 16:30 BST, before VIPs and the media attended the party. Those plans are currently in disarray.

    The building has been evacuated and the fire brigade are on the scene.


    Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody is closing tonight's concert at Hyde Park and tells the BBC: "It's the only thing I'll ever represent Northern Ireland at.

    "My 100-metre sprinting days are long past me."

    Graham Jones, Fleet, Hampshire

    emails: Please. please, please don't let it be Simon Cowell who is going to light the Olympic flame this evening!!

    1705: Tom Fordyce BBC Sport

    Wonka's Golden Ticket. Won't be letting go of this - my fingers have become a vice.

    Tom Fordyce
    1703: James Pearce BBC Olympics correspondent

    Olympic Park buzzing.

    Younger participants in opening ceremony first to arrive.

    Girls all hoping to meet Tom Daley.

    1702: Peter Gibbs BBC Weather

    There are some big heavy showers over the continent but all we've picked up is one or two sprinklings near the Olympic Park.

    We can't give you a guarantee but it appears it will stay dry for the opening ceremony.


    Some good - if hopeful - news on the weather front....

    1700: Jon Sopel BBC News

    Never heard so much whooping and hollering as the gates open to the Olympic Park and the lucky ticket-holders come in.

    Excited? Oh yes.

    Jimmy Le Comte from Christchurch, New Zealand

    emails: From what we have seen you are showing your country in a wonderful way. Let's hope the weather plays its part and everyone can go away saying this has been the best games ever.

    1655: Claire Heald BBC 2012 at the Olympic Park

    Two helicopters overhead making it sound somewhat like a sinister war zone.

    But one has the Team GB red white and blue "lion" motif on the side. Mobile athletes or security crackdown? Or lovely TV Topshot of the scene?


    Looking ahead to Monday when London 2012 will be well under way, Team GB's Tim Brabants is excited to be defending his Olympic canoe sprint title at a home Games.

    He tells the BBC: "It will be fantastic. The race is 1,000m and as you come more and more towards the finish line the noise builds and pushes you all the way to the finish line."

    Holly, High Wycombe

    writes: I'm one of the volunteers in the Opening Ceremony. We've all just walked through the Olympic Park and the atmosphere is electric. Everyone is waving flags, taking photos and being really friendly!

    1647: Philippa Thomas BBC News

    After the speeches and mingling at the Queen's reception at Buckingham Palace, you have the business of getting 95 heads of state and their partners across London to the opening ceremony.

    It will be about getting all these leaders on to special coaches to get them to the heart of the Games.

    David Hawes from Cardiff

    emails: Just seen an amazing flyover from the Red Arrows here in Cardiff.

    Being 14 floors up with them heading straight over our rooftop was incredible - red, white & blue smoke pluming out behind them. Excitement for tonight really starting to set in now :-)

    BBC London Travel Alerts

    tweet: #Tubes #DLR run around 60 minutes later than normal on all days during #London2012 Olympics.

    And the good news so far is that according to the Transport for London website, most Underground lines are running fine - with the only exception being the District Line at the western end of the Richmond branch.


    "We were all amateurs and nowadays I am amazed at the sponsorship and the lottery money," adds Mr Price.

    "We had no television and no internet. We had newspapers but because of rationing they were only eight or ten pages.

    "The only filming was Pathe News and you had to go to the cinema to see that."


    Olympian Lionel Price, who competed for Great Britain at basketball at the 1948 Games, says: "Some people who were competing had to take time off from work to take part.

    "I used to work from nine-to-five, go home and have some dinner and then go and do some practising."

    Jake Alexander from Norfolk

    tweets: Cant wait to see the Olympics Opening Ceremony tonight. #London2012 #ProudToBeBritish

    Olympic and world Track and Field medallist Kelly Sotherton

    tweets: "Off to my first opening ceremony. Will be seated with other olympic medalists. It's so exciting."


    Staying on a school theme, one of those close to the Olympic Park is the Sarah Bonnell School.

    One of the school's BBC School Reporters says: "It's a really great time for Stratford and London as a whole, it's a big time not only for people who like sport but for everyone."

    Another adds: "I've lived here all my life and to see it grown from just a patch of ground to what it is now is really cool."


    Eleven-year-old Alice Fraser from Fleetville Junior School, St Albans, is at the Olympic Park, where she says the tension is building.

    "We've come to be part of the Guard of Honour for tonight's ceremony," says Alice. "Feeling apprehensive and everyone is buzzing with excitement."

    "Just watching preview of the opening ceremony dancing - extraordinary - and without music!"

    1622: Luisa Baldini St Pancras International

    It is getting really busy here at the Javelin platform - lots of athletes are using these trains and also punters because lots of people are starting to make their way to the opening ceremony.

    Natasha, a ticket-holding spectator, says: "My singing teacher is performing and I am really looking forward to spotting here - all my friends are so jealous that I am going."


    It's not just London which is gearing up for the Games, but the rest of the UK as well.

    BBC reporter Natasha Sayee is at Belfast City Hall looking at how Northern Ireland has been celebrating the start of the Olympics.

    1616: Jon Brain BBC News

    It's chaotic [at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford]. It's not just the opening ceremony which will set the tone for the rest of the Games, it's the logistics. Organisers are desperate to get people in smoothly.

    "It was really good transport-wise," says a British spectator. "It's going to be unbeleivable, history being made."


    That didn't take long: The first two world records of the 2012 Olympics have been set - in the archery competition at Lord's cricket ground.

    South Korea's Im Dong-hyun, who is visually impaired, set an individual record in the ranking round and also teamed up with Kim Bubmin and Oh Jin-hyek to record a new best in the team event.


    We've had a few questions about how you can watch the Olympics on the BBC. This piece will give you the answers.


    And there are colourful scenes in Stratford as well: Some Mexican Olympic fans, including one with a multi-coloured Mohican haircut, are outside the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford and on their way to the opening ceremony.


    This is from this morning, but it's such a great view we thought we'd share it. The rowers aboard the Gloriana raise their oars as they prepare to dock at City Hall.

    Gloriana arrives at City Hall

    And back to the ceremony: Lots of debate still surrounds who will light the Olympic cauldron. A man from New York tells the BBC's Jon Sopel that he thinks it will be Roger Bannister and that he has bet £100 on it.

    Members of the opening ceremony cast entering the park say their lips are sealed as to what we will see later.

    1607: Philippa Thomas BBC News

    A handful of security officials have taken up position on the roof, scanning the few hundred who remain within sight of the palace.

    1607: Philippa Thomas BBC News

    Police have cleared crowds outside Buckingham Palace before the arrivals of heads of state and government for a reception hosted by the Queen and Prince Phillip.

    Only a few dozen spectators remain in direct line of sight of Buckingham Palace - with tight security in place for the arrival of 95 heads of state and leaders of countries.

    First arrivals are expected at 16:30 BST.

    Crowds outside Buckingham Palace
    Laura Tobias

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Amid all the build up to the opening ceremony, please remember the 11 Israeli athletes murdered in Munich 40 years ago

    1600: Breaking News

    The BBC's Ben Brown says the gates are now open at the Olympic Park for dignitaries and corporate guests.

    Gates will open to members of the public, who have tickets, at 17:00 BST.


    Up to a billion people are expected to watch this evening's opening ceremony as it is broadcast around the globe. No pressure, Danny Boyle!

    But if the ceremony's director is feeling the strain, he's keeping it under wraps, saying: "This is a live performance and it's the actors, and in our case they're volunteers, who have to get up there and do it."

    "The thing about directors is that they just sit at the back in the end."

    Carole Knight, in Georgetown, USA,

    emails: "Good luck to all the Brits at home - will be cheering you on from the USA!"

    Russell Phillips emails:

    "I am a Scot and my wife and I will be cheering team GB on throughout the night from South Korea."


    While the opening ceremony will be drawing viewers from across the globe, good luck messages are pouring in for Team GB from around the world as well...


    Some good news for London commuters: The protest by London's black cab drivers against Olympic Games Lanes appears to have finished.

    The drivers staged a go-slow at Hyde Park Corner for nearly an hour, leaving traffic "stationary" until police cleared the area.


    London 2012 is a big burden in more ways than one for Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, who is competing in her first Olympics - and is eight months pregnant.

    "When baby kicks, I will breathe in and breathe out and try to calm myself down and talk to baby 'Behave yourself and help mummy to shoot,'" she tells the BBC after training at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

    "And luckily she understands, she always understands."

    Paul Fidler tweets

    "Where is the TV listings for 3D viewing? I've trawled the web and found nothing! Am I missing something or just misinformed?"

    You can watch the opening ceremony here online.


    Got a few minutes to spare for some stirring video? The BBC's 2012 theme music, produced by Elbow, is a great listen.

    Now you can see how it was made in our behind the scenes video.

    Ken in Uganda

    emails: "This is a very euphoric moment for us here as well as we all wait for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics."

    Karen Cullen, from Nottingham,

    emails: "Congratulations and good luck to all the amazing volunteers who have made the concept of the Opening Ceremony possible.

    "Many months of long train journeys and rehearsals - all for the glory. My daughter Becky is taking part and I've seen first-hand the commitment it has taken to stay with it. Well done to all of you!"


    Surrey is just hours away from welcoming the world's top cyclists as they battle for Olympic gold in the London 2012 road cycling races.

    Have a look at how the area is preparing to greet Britain's Mark Cavendish and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, among others.

    Nick Goulding, from Harpenden

    texts: Must be Her Majesty to light the Olympic cauldron - how fitting in her Diamond Jubilee Year.


    From transport to sport: American basketball star Deron Williams, who was part of their 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning team, says the current squad expects to win gold at the London Olympics, reports BBC Sport's Olympic reporter Jessica Creighton.

    With a team full of NBA stars, the Americans are big favourites to retain their title.

    Williams, 28, said: "We expect to win gold. Nobody comes to the Olympics to lose. We're focused on winning the gold medal. We're practising hard and we're ready to win."


    But despite the problems on roads in the centre of the capital, all London Underground lines are currently running with no problems at the moment, TfL reports.


    London's black cab drivers have started a protest in the Olympic Games lanes.

    They are moving slowly and stopping at Hyde Park Corner; their action was moved forward by three hours after police said they could not demonstrate on the Olympic Route Network from 16:00 to 03:00 BST.

    Cabbies have held two protests over not being allowed into the lanes which are reserved for officials and athletes and international media.

    The area in central London has become "stationary" and is causing congestion, BBC London Travel desk is reporting.


    Some sporting action for you: Great Britain's Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg (right) take their turn during a training session at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.

    Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg (right)

    Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara, who left the Tour de France early to be at the birth of his child, has been looking ahead to Saturday's cycling road race.

    On Britain's Mark Cavendish, he said: "Mark is the sprinter who came out in the best condition at the Tour, better than Andre Greipel and the other specialists. We'll try to avoid a bunch sprint, but in that case, I hope my professional team-mate Matthew Goss can finish in front of him."

    1503: Suzanne Lord BBC

    It's getting busier on platforms 11-13 of St Pancras as people arrive to use the Javelin train to Stratford. Steady stream of people.


    Here's how you can make sure you never miss a moment of the London 2012 Games, even while on the move. Follow the greatest show on Earth using BBC Sport Olympics app for Android and iOS smartphones, which provides up to 24 streams of live coverage, detailed schedule and results pages, and daily news stories.

    Find out more about the app, and how to download (UK only) it here.

    Mauricio Morais from Brazil

    emailed: I've been watching the celebrations across the UK and I get the feeling of community and how people there enjoy every celebration together, from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to the London Olympic Games.


    How do you deliver an Olympic Park? This evening eyes of the world will be focussed on one small area of London - the Olympic Park in Stratford. Ian Crockford is the man who made sure much of it was built on time and has been speaking about his pride at being involved. Watch the video here.

    1442: Breaking News

    British tennis player Laura Robson has been added to the women's singles competition after the late withdrawal of Croatian Petra Martic. The 18-year-old left-hander's inclusion means there are now four GB women competing in the singles event.


    And what came top in our top 50 Olympic moments? You can find out here in Richard Bacon's and Colin Jackson's count down of numbers 25 to 1.


    If it's possible, you can whet your appetite for the Olympics even more by watching the top 50 sublime, ridiculous and agonising Olympics moments, from Kelly Holmes to Eric the Eel. Here's Richard Bacon's and Colin Jackson's count down numbers 50 to 26.


    Ever wondered what the Olympic Park looks like from way up high? Wonder no more...

    Satellite view of the Olympic Park

    Transport for London says several public transport routes are far less busy than normal, with would-be travellers appearing to heed advice to avoid central London during the Games.

    However TfL added that the area around Stratford has been busy from early today and that there had also been congestion at some Games lanes sites. "Passenger and traffic levels today are about where we expected them to be," said a TfL spokesman.


    Are there any teams other than GB? There sure are and they're having a great time by the look of it. Here's the US swimming team's music video in which they're covering Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe.

    Stephen Kent

    texts: Having lunch with my fellow opening ceremony performers before entering the Olympic Park for the last time this summer! What a journey it has been..


    Just a reminder that after almost 70 days, the Olympic torch relay is over. The flame was transported down the Thames from Hampton Court Palace to Tower Hill this morning, on board the royal rowbarge Gloriana. It is now in a lantern at City Hall, awaiting its final journey to the Olympic Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron during the opening ceremony,

    At City Hall, David Beckham said: "Over seven years ago, when Seb asked me to get involved with the team that was going to try to bring the Games to a part of London where I grew up I was very proud of that". He added: "Today is going to be an amazing moment."

    1418: Lawrence Barretto BBC Sport at Eton Dorney

    British world champion Alex Gregory says losing to the Australian men's four crew at the final World Cup meeting last month was "probably a good thing" because it forced the British quartet to up their game in the final training block before London 2012. Britain have won gold in the men's four at the last three Olympics, with each of those crews losing their last competitive outing. The men's four heats begin on Monday 30 July."


    British 400m hurdler Dai Greene says he is "desperate" to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012. The Great Britain athletics captain, who has already won World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games gold medals, said: "I have been training all year to get the gold medal, I don't imagine myself winning bronze or silver," said Greene.

    Read the full story here.

    Koffi Williams in Accra, Ghana

    emails: I can't speak for the rest of Ghana, but I can say, that my spirits which have been lurking in the doldrums since the sudden passing of our late president, have been significantly lifted and cheered as I've followed the BBC's coverage of the London 2012 Games. There is without doubt a special magic that the Olympiad brings to the world and a certain special something that only London can add.

    1403: Mark Mardell North America Editor

    "The London leg of Mitt Romney's much-vaunted foreign trip could hardly have gone worse." Full analysis here.


    It's cloudy in London at present but 23C and sunny in Weymouth ahead of the Olympic sailing events which begin on Sunday at 07:00 BST.


    Danny Boyle is the man of the moment today but what do we know about him apart from his role in directing the Olympic Games opening ceremony? Here's a profile.


    Team GB cyclist David Miller tweeted this picture of Bradley Wiggins in a contemplative moment as they waited outside a Surrey pub before going training.

    Brad Wiggins
    1349: Nick Hope BBC Sport at Team GB diving press conference

    Earlier this year GB performance director Alexei Evangulov criticised Tom Daley for his media commitments and likened him to Russian tennis flop Anna Kournikova. "It's all in the past, I've been training as hard as I can in the dives I have in synchro and individually. We have a really good relationship and I'm looking forward to competing in London 2012," said Daley.

    Evangulov added: "Tom has a great personality, but it's not enough... He works hard and his training volume is high, but I'm a greedy coach and I want more."

    Gloriana near Puntey Bridge

    If you missed the Gloriana's journey down the River Thames this morning, here's a lovely picture of when it was close to Putney Bridge, sent in by Nigel Pride.


    Some timings for the rest of the day for you: Doors open for the opening ceremony at 16:00 BST, BBC One coverage begins at 19:00 BST and the ceremony itself starts at 21:00 and goes on until after midnight.


    Eyes skywards - the Red Arrows have carried out a fly-past over Edinburgh to mark the beginning of the Olympics. Edinburgh was the first port of call, before they headed to Belfast, Cardiff and finally the opening ceremony in London.

    Scott Reynolds in Rockhampton, Australia

    emails: Hey London -I heard there's a party happening over there.The alarm is set for dawn and I'm having an early night so I can wake up ready for all the action. By the end of the two weeks, my lounge will have an indentation on it.

    Taxi driver John Smead

    emails: "London cabbies are part of the whole London experience. It's disgusting that we can not use the Olympic lanes as this will affect our business during the Olympic period when we were promised it would help us."

    Black cab drivers have brought forward a planned protest after the Metropolitan Police banned it from taking place after 16:00 BST.


    During this morning's All The Bells celebration, people rang bells on the Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh which were transformed into a public artwork by Martin Creed, the artist behind the event.

    Chris Evans talked to Martin Creed on his BBC Radio 2 show this morning. You can listen to it here.

    Olympic stadium cake

    Tweeter Kate Lamble has made this special cake to feed the television crew working on the Olympic ceremony tonight - but said it caused a little bit of confusion for the security teams.

    Culden Kamea in Fiji

    sent this message: "For us here in the Fiji Islands - the other side of the world, these games will mean many sleepless nights! But we wish you all in London the very best as host city."


    Swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who won double gold in Beijing four years ago, has urged her Great Britain team-mates to seize their chance at London 2012. "I know it sounds like a song, but this is our one shot to compete at a home Olympics. I just think it's going to be amazing," she said. You can read the full article here.


    The British do have some odd quirks, habits and rules - so what do visitors need to know? Have a look at our 12-part guide.


    But Tim in Reading emails: Why did virtually all the events have to take place in London? Wouldn't the "legacy" have been much improved if the facilities had been distributed all around the UK? None of us are fooled by the message that we're "all part of it", and I live pretty close to London.


    Victoria Carver tweets "Just so you know, it isn't only Londoners who are excited by start of Games. In Yorkshire we can't wait!!!!"


    Earlier, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt narrowly avoided injuring bystanders when a bell he was ringing as part of Martin Creed's All the Bells event flew off its handle. Mr Hunt looked horrified as the brass bell sailed over the heads of a group of women on the deck of HMS Belfast. He later laughed off the incident, comparing it to a scene from BBC comedy Twenty Twelve.


    Zara Phillips of Great Britain led her mount High Kingdom out during an Equestrian Eventing Horse Inspection session at Greenwich Park.

    Zara Phillips

    As the Olympic flame goes off to City Hall to "rest" before emerging to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony, have a look at some great pictures of its final morning. And an audio slideshow of its 70-day journey around the British Isles.

    London Mayor Boris Johnson said an estimated 3.9 million people in London had come out to see the torch relay since it arrived a week ago.

    Dan Booth in Sheffield

    emails more tips for Olympic spectators: Never mind take cash, take food! At Old Trafford yesterday, by the end of the first match the only food left on sale in our part of the ground was giant chocolate buttons, they'd ran out of everything else.

    1253: Nicholas Witchell BBC Royal correspondent

    The BBC's Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell says 95 heads of delegations will be at Buckingham Palace this afternoon for a reception held by the Queen. They include US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. They will all travel by coach from the palace to the Olympic Park.


    Team GB's sailors will take to the stage at the Weymouth Beach Live Site to mark the opening ceremony this evening. A total of 12 sailors from the team, including three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie will be in attendance. BBC reporter Rob Walker has been given the job of hosting the event, and he has told us he is "busy prepping" and is expecting a "massive crowd".

    He adds: "It's going to be a brilliant live party and one of most exciting things I will ever have been a part of. I am a bit nervous but privileged to have been asked to do it. Can't wait."


    The BBC has been told that David Cameron says 17 tickets for the opening ceremony will be given away to "people who have contributed to their community". Torch designers Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby are also being given tickets.

    1246: Lawrence Barretto BBC Sport at Eton Dorney

    The glorious sunshine and 30C+ temperatures have been replaced with cloudy conditions and a tricky cross-tailwind down at Eton Dorney today. Plenty of crews still out on the water, though, including Great Britain's women's eight who are practising their start and showing incredible power in their opening phase. Britain's flagship boat - the men's four - have just finished their training, hoisted their boat onto their shoulders and headed for the trailer park while chatting to coach Jurgen Grobler who just sped past me on his bike.


    Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby, designers of the London 2012 torch, explain that the triangular shape of the torch is for the three times London has been the host city - 1908, 1948 and 2012 - and the 8,000 holes in it match the number of relay runners.


    Britain's javelin number one Goldie Sayers has told BBC Radio 5 live she will not "let pain get in the way of a once in a lifetime opportunity" of being at a home Games. Sayers broke her own national record at the London Grand Prix on 14 July, but suffered a torn elbow ligament on her fourth throw. You can read more about this story here.


    At Tower Bridge, Mayor of London Boris Johnson tells the BBC: "The Geiger counter of Olympomania is creeping towards the red zone now. It's an extraordinary thing to watch the way the torch seems to have this benign contagion in people."


    Andy Hunt, Team GB's chef de mission, said: "This is it. This is the end of the road. I believe we will deliver more medals from more sports in more than a century." Great Britain won 47 medals in Beijing - 19 gold, 13 silver, 15 bronze.

    Sarah Plescia in London

    emails: As a Londoner, I am proud to show off the beauty of our city, the variety of our culture and the determination, creativity and friendliness of our spirit. The Olympic Games are an inspirational event and there could be no better time to inspire our young people to work to fulfill their potential.


    The Olympic flame has been transferred to a lantern and will now be taken into City Hall, where it will spend the afternoon before it emerges to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony. The identity of the person who will perform that act is still a closely-guarded secret.


    But one group of people who won't be involved in the ceremony is Britain's Olympic tennis team who have been told they are not permitted to attend. The eight-strong squad, some of whom planned to take part, were informed of the decision by email on Friday. A British Olympic Association spokesperson told BBC Sport: "It is a choice made by each sport team leader together with the athletes. "While the ceremonies are a significant occasion, performance comes first for Team GB's athletes."


    Opening ceremony director Danny Boyle must be feeling a bit of pressure today. A short time ago, he said: "It's been a long road, but we're almost there. "Directors just sit at the back at the end. It's the actors and in this case the volunteers that have to get up and do it. Any nervousness I feel, I feel for them. Whatever comes our way, comes our way now. It's extraordinary to be involved in it."


    Basketball player Amber Charles has a beaming smile as she steps from Gloriana onto the floating Olympic rings on the Thames. Big cheers from the crowd as she waves. Amber from Newham in east London has been involved in London 2012 since the bid stage.


    Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells Sophie Raworth: "Everyone has a smile on their face, it feels like magic has arrived in London - and indeed the country. It is a special moment." He added that the British have a "national virtue of being modest" but now is not a time for modesty. "We have to bang the drum for all the things we are proud of."


    And here is the Gloriana beside the huge Olympic rings that are floating near to Tower Bridge.

    Gloriana beside the huge Olympic rings

    The Gloriana has been accompanied on her journey down the Thames from Hampton Court Palace by a small flotilla of other craft. This is the last morning of the 70-day Olympic Torch relay, a journey which has seen the Olympic flame tour 8,000 miles of the British Isles from Land's End on 19 May. The final moment of the relay comes with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony.


    The Gloriana rowbarge with the Olympic flame on board has arrived at Tower Bridge and is heading over towards the floating Olympic rings moored on the Thames. There, 22 year-old Amber Charles from Newham who was part of London's Olympic bid aged 14, will carry a lit torch.


    A quick recap of Friday's events: We started the day with a mass bell-ringing celebration across the UK (and beyond), and the Olympic Torch is now making its final journey down the Thames before the Opening Ceremony. A strike by London cab drivers has been banned and David Cameron has said Britain is ready for "the greatest show on earth".

    Gordon Farquhar BBC Olympics Correspondent

    tweets: Locog say there were around 200 tickets left for opening ceremony at 0900. Now down to about 50. "Heading for a sell out."


    Can Team GB recreate its cycling success? Over at the Velodrome a practice session is happening ahead of the track races which begin on 2 August.

    Belgium cyclist
    1158: Breaking News

    There have been some major changes made to the Olympic badminton schedule, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced. Team GB medal hopefuls Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier were drawn in the same group as the Chinese world champions in the mixed badminton doubles, but this has now been changed due to regulations.


    So to remind you, the Olympic flame is currently onboard the Queen's rowbarge Gloriana. It's just passed Westminster and is heading for Waterloo Bridge. It is being rowed by a crew of 16, among them four-times Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent. Seven torchbearers are taking it in turn to carry a lit torch at points along its journey.


    Cultural Secretary Jeremy Hunt was left red-faced during an interview this morning when a bell he was ringing flew off the handle and narrowly avoided hitting a group of women standing nearby. He had just been saying the Games could not completely go off without a hitch. Let's hope this was the hitch then.

    Bryan Dickson, in Aberdeen, Scotland,

    emails: Tip for all Olympics-goers: bring cash! Our family went to the football at Hampden yesterday. According to all the information we received with our tickets, and information leaflets available at the ground, there would be a variety of food kiosks, all accepting Visa cards. This was not the case. There are no cash machines within the stadium and you are not allowed to leave and re-enter.


    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has invited 14 guests to attend the Opening Ceremony tonight. He says the guests are people he has met over the last year and who have made a major contribution to society, their local communities, and the country.


    The prime minister has been given 17 tickets for tonight's Olympic Opening Ceremony, but has given most of them away to people who have contributed to their communities or Big Society projects. They include six graduates of the National Citizens Service.

    The Radio Times,

    blogs: Can Danny Boyle's London Olympics opening ceremony beat Beijing's?


    Pupils from British Council schools around the world have teamed up with BBC News School Report to record a series of good luck messages for the athletes and teams competing at the Olympics. Students from schools in India, Rwanda, Serbia, Lebanaon and Bulgaria all contributed their heartfelt wishes of encouragement as London welcomes the world for today's opening ceremony.


    Watch First Lady Michelle Obama's speech to "inspiring" Olympians this morning.


    At 08:12 BST people across the UK rang bells for three minutes in an Olympic celebration conceived by Turner Prize winning artist and musician Martin Creed - he came up with the All The Bells event which began at 08.12 BST.

    Breaking News

    Three people due to work as staff at an Olympic venue in Newcastle have been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences. The UK Border Agency says the arrests were made on Wednesday, after accreditation checks were carried out on private security staff.

    It was announced on Monday that more than 500 staff from other companies were replacing G4S at St James' Park. It is not yet known if the three people are still in custody.

    1118: Breaking News

    The first two world records of London 2012 have been claimed by South Korea in the men's archery ranking round. Im Dong-hyun broke his own individual record by three points and joined Kim Bubmin and Oh Jin-hyek to set a new team mark for 216 arrows.

    James Pearce BBC Olympics correspondent

    tweets: Fireworks already in place on the water outside Olympic Stadium

    Matthew, in Birmingham,

    emails: Feel so sorry for the people who turned up to Lords thinking unticketed meant open access to the archery. I thought the same thing when I was originally looking for tickets for events on the 2012 ticket site. Thank goodness I didn't go to Lords in the end - the only reason for me not going was that I actually thought an 'unticketed' event would be swamped with spectators and it was too much of a risk.


    Ever wondered how British gymnasts cope with the anticipation of competing? Louis Smith explains how he does it - since becoming the first British male gymnast to win an Olympic medal for a century.

    Graham, in Nottingham, England,

    emails: What right do the police have to stop the legal demonstration by black cabbies? I thought we lived in a democracy and yet they are using special Olympic conditions to prevent the legal and lawful demonstration that is the cornerstone of our society.


    For the athletes in the Olympic Park it is business as usual as they get down to another training session. Here Russia's Yulia Efimova prepares for a practice session at the Aquatics Centre.

    Russia's Yulia Efimova
    1103: Sallie George, BBC News

    About 30 people are staging a Justice for Bhopal protest at the entrance to the Olympic Park. Around 20 of them are taking part in a "die-in", lying down outside the gates covered in sheets to protest against Dow Chemical's corporate sponsorship of the Games.

    Maria Ashot, in London, UK,

    emails: "Unticketed" means "without tickets," which is correctly interpreted to mean, "no admission price charged." There are simpler words to use for events that are not open, namely: "Closed." The Olympics bring together people from all over the world; planning these events is not the time to opt for complicated or ambiguous signage. There was plenty of time to plan ahead.


    Hopefully you've have had a chance to enjoy some of the BBC's coverage of the Olympic Flame.


    You don't have to be in London to get in to the Olympic spirit. Sam Piercy in Bridlington, Yorkshire, drew an Olympic logo in the sand at South Bay beach to celebrate the opening of the games.

    London 2012 logo in the sand

    The lighting of the cauldron at the Olympic Ceremony this evening is "one of the best kept secrets," according to IOC President Jacques Rogge. "I would love to know (who will light it), but I don't know," he has said.


    From the BBC's A History of the World in 100 Objects site: Today's object is the Olympic Torch from 1948 London Olympics.


    You can watch coverage of the Olympic Opening Ceremony from 19:00 BST on BBC One - the main event begins at 21:00 BST. And if you're wondering about other Olympics timings the BBC's TV listings have all the details.


    A total of 18,200 troops have now been deployed to the Games - an extra 4,700 after security provider G4S admitted it was short of staff.

    Soldiers walk through the Olympic park, in Stratford

    Kristina West has been following the torch relay. She says: "There was a lovely atmosphere at Teddington Lock this morning".

    Teddington Lock, London

    Any unsold tickets for tonight's Opening Ceremony will be distributed. But it is up to Locog as to who gets the tickets - that's according IOC president Jacques Rogge.


    Drug testing: IOC president Jacques Rogge has said it is "a good sign for the fight against doping that 107 athletes have been caught positive in the two months preceeding the games. We will continue to test, test and test again ahead of the competition. It is proof the system is effective and a deterrent."


    In other travel news, the Olympic Torch has been transported on the Queen's barge down the River Thames, on the final day of the relay. The £1m vessel, which led the river pageant during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, was rowed by 16 crew, who were chosen from a squad of 28 on-board rowers on the day.

    Its final destination is the Olympic Stadium.


    Meanwhile, if you're travelling by car, train or Tube today, you might want an update from the BBC Travel Centre.


    Speaking to James Naughtie on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, London Mayor Boris Johnson, with typically choice usage of the English language, said the Olympic Torch relay is "like a benign sort of virus passing from people to people".

    1026: Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport in Weymouth

    It's a grey start in Weymouth this morning with a moderate northerly breeze. Down at the Olympic venue in Portland no competitors are on the water yet but among the shipping containers in the dinghy park sailors from all nationalities fiddle with bits of boats. British Star sailor Iain Percy, going for a third gold in four Games, cruises around on his bike, dark shades in place despite the murk.


    Meanwhile, James Bulley from Locog has told the BBC's James Pearce that "the Opening Ceremony is going to be absolutely spectacular". He said: "I was blown away by it. It makes you proud to be British... There is some real wow moments in there."


    Today is certainly a "defining moment for Britain," says the BBC's Home Editor Mark Easton. Here's his blog.


    Earlier, US First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to Team USA, sporting a red top and red and white jacket. She wished her Olympians good luck at a breakfast event, saying: "Wow, I'm going to be saying that a lot over the next few days. Wow, wow! I can't believe I am here, I am beyond proud. Thank you so much, it's a pleasure and a joy and an honour for me to be here with all of you."


    What do people visiting the UK for the Olympics need to know about the nation's quirks, habits and rules? Read a guide to the UK in 212 words each for 2012 visitors.

    1020: Joe Wilson, BBC Sport

    But the London 2012 website advertised today's round as "unticketed". Many spectators interpreted that as open to the public and have arrived expecting to get in. One couple told me they had arrived having been told specifically by Locog they could bring their grandchild in.

    There is a lot of ill will and bad feeling on the pavement.

    1019: Joe Wilson, BBC Sport

    Outside Lords this morning there are dozens of members of the public trying to get in to watch the archery. They are not being allowed in. This is the "ranking round" where archers attain a score which then leaves them in a certain seeding for the main event. Today's archery is taking place on the nursery ground, not in the main playing area.


    Archers are competing behind closed door at Lord's Cricket ground for a practice session ahead of today's ranking round of the men's archery individual event.

    A training session prior to the ranking round of the men's archery individual event at the Lord"s Cricket Ground

    And over 1,000 support staff operating across 21 sites are looking after Team GB.


    Chris Hoy joins the squad at Team GB House this afternoon - he will lead the athlete's delegation at the Opening Ceremony.


    A few facts for you: Team GB has just under 300 athletes marching in the Opening Ceremony this evening, the largest delegation of sportspeople. The athletics team will not be there as they are still training in Portugal.


    Jacques Rogge - president International Olympic Committee (IOC) - has said at a press conference: "This morning we had a meeting with Locog and I am pleased to say London is ready and we are eagerly waiting the opening ceremony."

    Claire Heald, BBC News

    Not the fastest runners we'll see at London 2012, but lots of athletes staying at the Village are using the closed Park for their morning run, like these competitors from Germany. Fast walkers out too.


    If you don't have the time or inclination to watch hour after hour of the Games, have a look at the week's day-by-day guide to the unmissable events during the Olympics.

    Claire Heald BBC News

    tweets: Waiting for Jaques Rogge in the IOC press conference. They're playing out Kung Foo fighting on the PA. What a bizarre day. #bbc2012

    Rob, in Truro, Cornwall, UK,

    emails: In reply to Innis and other merchants of doom, whereas companies may sponsor and make money from the games, them 'real winners' are the men and women who have spent years training for this moment. They are the elite and will perform incredible feats over the next few weeks. I, for one, salute them all.


    Of course, events are not just taking place in London. Have a look at some pictures of Olympic venues around the UK.


    Send us your photos of the torch relay to like Charles Rist did. He captured the Gloriana Torch Relay in Kingston Upon Thames. He says: "I think the swans thought it was the Queen!"

    Gloriana Torch Relay in Kingston Upon Thames

    Archery update: The BBC's Sonali Shah at Lords says members of the public are trying to get into Lords to watch the archery, but have not been allowed to get in. London 2012 website is advertising the event as "unticketed", but the plan was always for it to be "behind closed doors". The main competition starts tomorrow and is a ticketed event.


    London is about to stage its third modern Olympics - the only city to do so - but its seeds were sown in the controversial, yet defining, 1908 Games and the austere, post-war Games of 1948. Read about it here.


    Last time around, Team GB came home from Beijing with one of our best-ever medal hauls. No pressure then.

    So if you're nervous now, just imagine how the athlete's nearest and dearest feel. Have a listen to Victoria Derbyshire at 10:00 BST on BBC Radio 5 Live - she'll be speaking to 60 Olympic athletes' friends and family.


    Millions of people are expected to pass through the Olympic Park, in east London, over the coming weeks. Most face a 45-minute walk from Stratford station - before reaching the site which is the size of more than 300 football pitches. So this is where the BBC's Olympic Park survival guide here. will come in very handy.


    Volunteers Amanda Bailey from Oxford and Lorenzo Cianfanelli, a maths student from Rome, are walking to work in the transport (buses) area of the Olympic Park. Amanda says: "I wanted to be here and be part of it. I think it's amazing, the way they have landscaped it is incredible."

    Volunteers at Olympic Park
    Innis, in Belfast, N Ireland,

    emails: The "Spirit of the Games" has been diluted to almost negligible amounts by the sea of cash with which the games are awash. The real winners are the global Vastco's who are the real owners of the whole show and who pretty much call the shots regarding anything happening in and around Olympic events.


    The Olympic Village is "like a cross between the Truman Show & Center Parcs". Read more by BBC Sport's Piers Newbery


    Speaking outside Number 10 this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain is ready to welcome "the greatest show on earth".

    "I think it's a great opportunity to show the world the best of Britain, a country that's got an incredibly rich past but actually a very exciting and vibrant future. Somebody asked me yesterday what face of Britain I wanted to put forward, Blur or the beefeaters, and frankly it's both. We have got a great past, a very exciting future and this is a great moment for our country, so we must seize it."


    Michelle Obama has told Team USA to try and have a bit of fun during their stay in London: "Try to have fun, try to breathe a little bit - but also try to win!"

    Olympic Park

    From tomorrow, this expanse of Park will be filled with spectators heading to the first sports sessions of the Olympiad - it's the last morning the staff and volunteers have it to themselves


    Just a bit of fun: Have a look at the 10 best Olympics movies - as ranked by ShortList Magazine.


    Republican US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney sparked something of an Olympic controversy by criticising Olympic preparations on Thursday. But his own visit is not going as well as planned... Read more from Time Magazine here.

    Jim Brotton, in Cambridge, UK,

    emails: Wife and I went to Monday's technical rehearsal. We were hot, tired and sceptical. Getting in was tedious and provision of drinks and food problematic. The ceremony started off twee and a bit boring - then it blew us away. With hindsight we would have queued much longer in the heat to see it. It is amazing the surprise element has been maintained. The opening ceremony is a 'must see' for everyone, well done to Danny Boyle and co.


    Someone obviously passed on the secret of how to conquer the Hampton Court maze to this torch bearer, as the relay successfully made its way out of the world-famous conundrum before travelling down the Thames.

    The torch navigates the maze at Hampton Court

    US First Lady Michelle Obama has arrived at Team USA's training camp in East London's docklands. She's addressing approx 80 members of the US Olympic team - athletes and support staff.

    0919: Claire Heald BBC News

    ... What you can hear is the constant whirring of golf buggies, speeding about the important and busy, and people's feet crunching on the still-new gravel, as they walk to their Games jobs.

    0916: Claire Heald BBC News

    Overcast skies, reflected in the artwork on the Olympic Park this morning, are adding to the muted atmosphere before tonight's celebrations for the opening ceremony. The drill noises and final preparations of yesterday afternoon seem to have abated. Although they may just not have started yet...


    Mary and Richard Fletcher in Earley, Berkshire, were among the many ringing in the Olympics. Richard says: "We are members of Beatroots Samba Band so we chose our quiet bells and didn't get any complaints from the neighbours."

    Richard and Mary Fletcher

    London Mayor Boris Johnson told BBC London's Breakfast Show that 3.9m people in London alone have seen the Torch. They were estimating that about 1.5m would see it so they're more than double that, he said.

    John Bennet, in London, UK,

    emails: Not everyone's over the moon about this event. Those of us who see this for what it is - a white elephant vanity scheme for those in power, using our money, and leaving us with empty buildings we won't need again. The money spent on this could have solved so many of this country's problems. It's not a national party with even a majority buy-in, even if one works in the London media bubble and all one's chums are excited as they've managed to get tickets through sponsors. Notice how the rest of the seats are half-empty.


    Nelson's flagship HMS Nelson and warships HMS Illustrious and HMS Edinburgh joined in the nationwide bell-ringing event by ringing their ship bells at Portsmouth Naval Base.

    Commander Tim Ash, base executive officer, said the "sound was tremendous". "I felt it was an excellent way of bringing together communities on the opening day of the Games."

    Peter Fisk,

    Olympic #TorchRelay now going through #Teddington Lock on its way to @London2012 opening ceremony ... Very exciting!


    Meet Team GB (all 541 of them) - Have a look at the Daily Mail's montage, bringing together every Olympic athlete on the eve of the Games.


    If you're a fan of the fastest man in the world, you might be interested to know that Usain Bolt says he's overcome injury problems and is ready to defend his Olympic titles on the track in the 100m and 200m.


    Mercury Prize-winning group Elbow have spoken about how they created their anthem for the BBC's Olympics coverage. Watch a video of how the Olympic theme tune First Steps was made.


    If anyone's wondering what the weather will be like for today's Opening Ceremony, you can get an updated forecast from the BBC's Weather Centre here.

    Currently, London and the South East will see showery rain with a risk of thunder, becoming drier in the west by mid-afternoon, with the rain clearing the rest of the region by the evening. Feeling warm, though cooler than recently, with generally light winds.


    After weeks of negative publicity about security firm G4S, flag gaffes and comments from US Republican candidate Mitt Romney, it's time to enter into the Olympic spirit and "party", say today's papers.

    Amy, in Peterborough, England,

    emails: I'm a Gamesmaker working on the security team and camping as part of Camping at the Games at Eton Manor. I was lucky enough to see the opening ceremony dress rehearsal on Wednesday night and all I can say is: this will be the Greatest Show on Earth and I'm so proud to be a part of it! Don't miss it!

    James Pearce BBC Olympics correspondent

    tweets: Whatever your interest in sport, wherever you live, try to enjoy next 17 days. We've all paid for them. Home Olympics is once in lifetime


    Crowds are again out for the torch, this time lining the banks of the River Thames.

    Crowds line the banks fo the River Thames as the flame passed on the Gloriana.
    Surrey Police,

    tweets: Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling #AllTheBells @AllTheBells


    Big Ben and #allthebells are trending topics on twitter in the UK


    Back to the torch, and one very familiar Olympian was on board the Gloriana to light it - four-times gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent.

    Sir Matthew Pinsent

    Meanwhile, around teatime, the Queen will be hosting a welcoming reception for heads of state and government leaders ahead of the Opening Ceremony.


    An opening Ceremony Celebration Concert will be running parallel to the official Opening Ceremony this evening. Ticketholders will see parts of the Opening Ceremony live on big screens, with performances by Paolo Nutini and Snow Patrol among others.


    Finally at 13:00 BST Gloriana will dock at Butlers Wharf for the well-travelled flame to be carried off in a lantern. The flame may at this point disappear from public view until it appears at some point during the evening's Opening Ceremony...


    The torch will pause at 12:40 BST between London Bridge and Tower Bridge for the "final" torch bearer to step from the Gloriana onto the giant Olympic rings barge, moored in front of City Hall.


    The torch takes to the water, where seven torchbearers on the Thames will carry it as it passes significant landmarks at Richmond riverside, Dukes Meadow, Putney embankment, Battersea Park, South Bank to Tower Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and Millennium Foot Bridge.


    Also taking place today: At 10:00 BST, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge will speak at a press conference at the Olympic Park

    Carol Booth, in Derby, England,

    emails: All was quiet in Stenson Fields at 08:12 this morning as I started clattering my wind chimes not sure anyone else noticed but I loved being part of it. Go Team GB!


    Today the Olympic flame is being taken along the Thames on the Queen's rowbarge Gloriana on the final day of the torch relay.

    Olympic flame on the Royal rowbarge Gloriana

    Here are a few of Friday's key events in the run-down to the Opening Ceremony:

    Archery is the only sport today - and the first sporting event in London. Ranking rounds for men will be held from 0900-1100 BST, and women's from 1300-1500. But there will be no spectators as the sessions are not ticketed.


    US First Lady Michelle Obama is in London to lead the US delegation to the Olympics. This morning, she'll be attending an informal breakfast with Team USA at the US Olympic Training Facility, Docklands, in London. Later she'll be hosting an event called Lets Move for about 1,000 American military children and US and UK students - to engage them in the spirit of the Olympic Games.

    Michael Stafford, in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England,

    emails: What a sight with the bell ringing. My two kids (aged five and one and three quarters) were banging on pans for all their worth.


    Artist and musician Martin Creed on the bell-ringing from BBC Breakfast: "I think it's a piece of music for a special occasion."

    He adds: "Bells are the loudest acoustic instrument - that's why they're used by churches."


    Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has called for the UK to put its "best foot forward", adding "we're an amazing country with fantastic things to offer. This is a great moment for us, let's seize it".


    Some £9bn of public money has been spent on staging the Games, which has taken seven years to prepare.


    More than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations will take part in the London Olympics.

    Alan Macpherson, in Kingston, England,

    emails: I am a performer in the opening ceremony. Without any doubt this will be a massive assault on the senses of a nation and an event that will be talked about for a generation. I am no big sporting enthusiast but this experience has been profound. Britain will lead the world and prove it this evening. Enjoy!


    The Team GB men's football team were denied victory on their return to the Olympic Games after a 52-year absence when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Senegal in their opening Group A match at Old Trafford on Thursday in front of a near capacity crowd of 72,476.


    And the sporting action, which officially began on Wednesday with the women's football competition, continues with archery at Lord's cricket ground.


    On the River Thames, bells were rung on HMS Belfast.

    Bell ringers on HMS Belfast in London

    Big Ben is chiming 40 times during the three minutes of bell ringing.


    And in case you can't hear it, the bells are now ringing!


    Meanwhile, not everyone is happy. London taxi drivers who were planning to protest over not being allowed to use Olympic traffic lanes have been banned by the Metropolitan Police. They were due to demonstrate at Hyde Park corner at 17:00 BST.


    Those who attended the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony have been sworn to secrecy, but organisers have released a video clip giving a sneak preview of Oscar winner Danny Boyle's extravaganza - featuring groups in colourful stage outfits dancing to Tiger Feet by 1970s rock group Mud and cyclists with wings pedalling along to Come Together by the Beatles.


    Here are 10 facts about Friday's show, which is expected to be watched by millions worldwide.


    People across the UK are being encouraged to ring a bell for three minutes from 08:12 BST. Thousands of bells are expected to be rung including church bells, hand bells, bicycle bells and doorbells.


    The day begins with a mass bell ringing around the country, an idea conceived by Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed.


    Good morning and welcome to the BBC News live page. We'll be bringing you all the latest news, views and analysis in the final hours before the official London 2012 opening ceremony on Friday night. Follow our coverage for the most up-to-date developments in text, video and audio.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.