Later today, the 2012 London Olympics will officially begin with the torch-lighting ceremony. Its artistic director is Danny Boyle, the English filmmaker famous for Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire.
Today's spectacle, called 'Isles of Wonder,' draws inspiration from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and is expected to be watched by a global audience of one billion.
Dan Damon, host of BBC's World Update, reports from just outside the Olympic Park. Despite the numerous pitfalls that have occurred, such as a security hiring shortfall and an overtaxed public transit system, the reporter says that excitement is in the air in London.
"All in all, I think everybody is in anticipation of a fabulous couple of weeks," he says.
Tonight's opening ceremony will kick off more than two weeks of competitions. Damon says that viewers can expect dancing, flashing lights, fireworks, and, curiously enough, sheep. Boyle, the artistic director, told Damon that he wants to fully represent Great Britain's history, right down to its agricultural roots.
The games will be held in East London, one of the poorest areas in the city. "What they've created is remarkable," Damon says. "There is grass, there are hills, and there are the canals and little rivulets running through the site." The decision to construct the Olympic village and facilities on top of buried radioactive waste generated considerable controversy. Concerns remain as to the future of the site, and if it will be made in some way accessible to the area's inhabitants.
The mayor, Boris Johnson, has been at the forefront of the growing Olympic excitement. Damon says that he's enjoyed a recent boost in popularity. "He is a bit of a buffoon, and I think he'd own up to that himself," Damon says of the Lord Mayor.
Londoners do love to gripe, Damon says, and one of the main sources of frustration has been the special lanes for Olympic participants, or "zil lanes." "What it means is that the International Olympic Committee executives are driving around on BMWs in these special lanes," he says. "That hasn't gone down all that well."