Google honors the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics with a cartoon doodle.

Google Doodle celebrates Olympics opening ceremony London 2012

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics will be broadcast on NBC Friday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The ceremony signifying the opening of the 27th Summer Olympic Games in London takes place on Friday in Britain's capital.

With Friday's events, the London 2012 opening ceremony has earned a Google Doodle on the Internet search engine's home page. It features five athletes holding the letters of the Google logo.

Let's take a quick tour of the web and the history of this kick-off event to the Olympics.

The first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 1896 had a ceremony before the athletic competition began. However, the first recognized official opening ceremony took place at the 1908 Summer Games, also held in London. It included the first parade of nations and their athletes, notes Yahoo Sports.

Check out the gallery which shows images from both the 1896 and 1908 Olympic openings, but also presents photos from the 1948 Games, the first Olympiad following World War II and second hosted by London. has an interesting visual blog of past opening ceremonies, dating back to the 1948 Games in London. There's a photo from the 1964 opening ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympics showing a young man running up stadium steps with the Olympic flame. He was born the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

While the Olympic flame and torch are "traditional" centerpieces of the opening ceremonies today. But it wasn't always so.

The Olympic flame made its first appearance at the 1928 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium, according to The Olympic torch relay from Greece to the host city began with the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany.

The Olympic opening ceremony really grew in the later stages of the 20th century, becoming larger spectacles as the number of nations participating increased and host nations tried to outdo one another.

Today, the opening ceremony has become one of the biggest broadcast events, a global community campfire moment, estimated to draw more than one billion viewers worldwide.

In 2008, Beijing used thousands of acrobats, musicians, and other entertainers to put on an elaborate program which also helped put a modern China on the world stage. The Associated Press reports that London's effort, led by 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle, will be equally ambitious.

"London will have 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens and nine geese — recruited by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle along with a cast and crew of 10,000 to present a quirky, humorous and vibrant vision of quintessential Britain, its history and future," reports the AP.

US viewers can see it on NBC at 7:30 p.m. EDT or live streamed on the NBC Olympics site (with a cable subscription).

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Google Doodle celebrates Olympics opening ceremony London 2012
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today