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Fourth-Place Medal

Seven things to look for at Friday’s Opening Ceremony

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

(Getty Images)

1. Hail Britannia! The Opening Ceremony is heavy on real-life Britain. Nods to the industrial revolution, nursing and other stages of British history are supposedly included. If there's not an inflatable representation of fish and chips, it would be a minor upset.

2. #savethesurprise to #fallbythewayside -- Danny Boyle's ambitious anti-spoiler social media plan has worked wonders during two dress rehearsals this week. A quick search on Twitter reveals that attendees, with the proper motivation, are just as invested in keeping a secret as they are in revealing one. Unless you really search for them, spoilers have been hard to find on the Internet. That's all well and good for the UK and other parts of the world, who will see the Ceremony live, but here in the States, we won't be so lucky. By the time NBC shows the tape-delayed torch lighting around 11:30 p.m. ET on Friday, the actual event will be five hours old, long enough for anyone who wants to know how it ends to find out.

[ Related: How to watch the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony ]

3. James Bond and the Queen -- It's hardly a spoiler that James Bond (Daniel Craig) will appear in a short film shot at Buckingham Palace. That was heavily reported months ago. Still up in the air: A rumored appearance in the movie by Queen Elizabeth II. She was a revelation in "The Naked Gun." Boyle discussed the possible appearance on "Today" with Meredith Viera. "The entry of the head of state in our case, which is the queen, is a key part of the show," he said. "So yes, we had a meeting with her about that."

4. Watching from home will feel different -- Boyle, again: "The way you experience it on television, will feel, I hope, much more immediate and visceral than you normally get. And there'll be more close-ups, for instance, which is a way of conveying emotion."

5. Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and Voldemort walk into an Olympics -- Some of the most memorable characters in modern British literature will appear in the Ceremony. Old ones will too: A Shakespeare line from "The Tempest" is expected to begin the festivities.

[ Photos: Opening Ceremony blunders ]

6. Paul McCartney -- Even though nobody has officially confirmed his participation, Boyle did all but hum the opening strains of "Yesterday" in that "Today" interview. The most obvious way to use McCartney: A mass sing-along to "Hey Jude" to close the Ceremony. Boyle throws curveballs though, so maybe it'll be "I've Just Seen A Face" to open. As long as their no hologram John Lennon, this will be lovely.

7. A surprise torch lighting -- Fourth-Place Medal has been saying all along that Roger Bannister, the man who broke the four-minute mile, is the best choice to light the torch. No offense to David Beckham or anyone else who was ridiculously rumored to be in line for the honor, but they're accomplishments pale in comparison to the man responsible for the most legendary athletic achievement of the 20th century. Starting Thursday morning, there was a big push for Bannister wagers at London sportsbooks. His odds, 33/1 one month ago, fell to 1/1 before most bookies shut down the market. Could it be a ruse? Maybe Bannister is the second-to-last torchbearer and he passes it along to a group of diverse British citizens. That would keep in line with Boyle's egalitarian spectacle, right?

More London Olympics content on Yahoo! Sports:
Y! Sports exclusive: Michael Phelps turns tables on childhood bullies
Usain Bolt mobbed in Olympic Village ... by fellow Olympians
Video: First lady Michelle Obama meets with Team USA

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