Preview: Let the Games begin

All the waiting is finally over as the action begins in earnest on the first official full day of competition at London 2012.

  • Rowing training at Eton Dorney

    Rowing training at Eton Dorney
    The Australian women and men’s Eights train together at Eton Dorney.
  • Missy Franklin trains ahead of Games

    Missy Franklin trains ahead of Games
    Missy Franklin of the United States of America swims backstroke during a training session at the Aquatics Centre on 26 July.
  • The Royal Artillery Barracks

    The Royal Artillery Barracks
    The Royal Artillery Barracks, where the first medals of London 2012 are likely to be won in Shooting.
In total, 19 different sports will be staged and gold medals will be awarded in Archery, Shooting, Fencing, Road Cycling, Judo, Swimming and Weightlifting.

The honour of becoming the first champion to be crowned at London 2012 is likely to come at the Royal Artillery Barracks, where the Shooting events get under way early in the morning with the men’s 10m Air Pistol and women’s 10m Air Rifle competitions.

Russia’s World Cup champion Leonid Ekimov is one of the stars to watch in the men’s event, while China’s Siling Yi will be hoping to repeat the world record she set when winning gold at the 2010 World Championships.

But while China look to make a good start as they aim to beat their gold medal tally of 51 from Beijing 2008, most British eyes will be on the men’s Cycling Road Race.

The Host Nation have been eagerly anticipating the event for over a year, with Isle of Man sprint specialist Mark Cavendish hotly tipped to replicate his victory at the World Championships in Denmark in 2011.

Cavendish is the favourite to land Great Britain their first gold medal of the Games, especially as he will be helped along the way by recently-crowned Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and runner-up Chris Froome.

Team GB could also be celebrating more success when the action gets started at the Aquatics Centre, with Hannah Miley aiming to go one better than her silver at the 2011 World Championships when she lines up in the 400m Individual Medley.

Day one of the Swimming also sees Ryan Lochte begin his quest to try and repeat his five world titles from last year to try and overshadow fellow USA athlete and 14-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps.

Lochte will go for gold in the 400m Individual Medley, while USA team-mate Missy Franklin will be the one to watch in the final of the women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay.

The women’s Individual Foil Fencing competition takes place at ExCeL, where Elisa Di Francisca will renew her rivalry with fellow Italian Valentina Vezzali.

Vezzali is the three-time defending Olympic champion in the event and beat 2010 world champion Di Francisca in the final of the 2011 World Championships, only to then lose to her rival in the final of the European Championships.

Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor also kick off the defence of their Beach Volleyball title knowing that a place alongside the greatest Olympic names will be their reward if they can claim a record-breaking third gold medal.

http://www.london2012.com/news/articles/preview-let-the-games-begin.html

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