Olympic Torch: London Games

There are just four weeks to go until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games and, after seven years of anticipation, excitement is mounting.

The eyes of the world will be fixed on the Opening Ceremony on July 27 when the Cauldron will be ignited by the Olympic Flame, signalling the start of the 17-day event which more than eight million people are expected to attend.

Athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees are expected to take part in 26 sports, spanning a total of 39 disciplines.

Modern pentathlon, sprint canoeing and rhythmic gymnastics are among the sports being competed in.

And, for the first time, women’s boxing will be included in the programme, with 36 athletes competing in three different weight classes.

A special dispensation has been given to allow the shooting events, which would otherwise be illegal under UK gun law, to go ahead.

Most of the Games’ activity will focus on the newly constructed 200-hectare Olympic Park in the east of London.

But a total of 34 venues across the city and throughout the UK will be used, many of which were already in place before the successful bid in 2005.