As we continue our Playboy.com coverage of the 37th Summer Olympics, we realize that unlike the 1%, who have made their arrangements to gawk in person in jolly old England, the majority of us will be taking part via our trusty television sets. Stateside, NBCUniversal will be your network of choice, totaling more than 5,000 hours across its plethora of channels anchored by NBC and NBC Sports. If you’re on the go or planning on sneaking in some action while on the clock, NBCOlympics.com will be streaming all 302 events, representing 32 sports, around the clock at no extra charge (recording included!). We’ve put together the highlights you’re not going to want to miss when the Games kick off on Friday. Keep in mind, the U.K. is five hours ahead of the East Coast, eight for those in line with Tinseltown.
Opening: Friday, July 27 @ 4:00 P.M. EST
The traditional opening of the Olympics is a fanfare where the host country introduces the head of state (Her Majesty in this case) as well as presents the athletes that will be competing throughout the games. This is usually the audience’s first opportunity to criticize, jest and otherwise mock the other countries’ strange and unconventional attire. The host country also attempts to impress the rest of the globe with techno tricks and cultural oddities. If Beijing’s numerous controversies of hiding chubby children and rigged fireworks entertained you, imagine what the Brits will come up with! Details are slowly leaking out; some are saying everything from Harry Potter to Mary Poppins is part of the 10,000-performer set, including a reported filmed segment of 007 (currently Daniel Craig) with the Queen at Buckingham — this should be a winner!
Closing: Sunday, August 12 @ 4:00 P.M. EST
The closing of the Games is usually a less formal affair than the opening as the host country comes to the realization that they’ll probably be in the hole financially for at least the next decade (hint: Montreal ’76). Along with the traditional handover ceremony and presentation by the next Summer Games (Rio 2016!), you can look forward to the final performance of British acts, including The Who, Take That, George Michael and, yes, apparently the Spice Girls are back.
As the ultimate girl watchers in the country, our suggested trifecta of must-see sports consists of girls getting hot, vicious and aggressive. While we’re envious of their boyfriends after these matches (assuming they win, that is), the fairer sex is definitely bringing their game this year and we are more than happy to help cheer them on.
Starting Saturday, July 28th, night owls and early birds get their first glimpse of skin starting at four A.M. EST as the first qualifying round of women’s beach volleyball gets underway with Zhang/Xue of China taking on the Russian duo of Vasina/Vozakova.
For those sporting the Team USA logo, you can tune in July 28th in primetime to check out two-time gold medal winners Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings.
Other notables to watch:
Quarterfinal round: August 5 (1 P.M. EST)
Semifinal round: August 7 (12 P.M. EST & 4 P.M. EST)
Bronze medal: August 8 (2 P.M. EST)
Gold medal: August 8 (4 P.M. EST)
If you’ve been paying attention to our weekly Playbook, the U.S. Olympic men’s team is shaping up to be a definite force to be reckoned with, as it comprises several returning 2008 gold medal winners and current NBA superstars, including Anthony, Bryant and James. Our home team is starting in Group A this year, which means we’re pitted against Argentina, France, Tunisia, Nigeria and Lithuania to start. Here’s our full schedule (as well as the medal games we’ll have to qualify for).
USA-France: July 29 (9:30 A.M. EST)
USA-Tunisia: July 31 (5:15 P.M. EST)
USA-Nigeria: August 2 (5:15 P.M. EST)
USA-Lithuania: August 4 (9:30 A.M EST)
USA-Argentina: August 6 (5:15 P.M. EST)
August 8: TBD (9 A.M., 11:15 A.M., 3:30 P.M., 5:15 P.M.)
August 10: TBD (12 P.M., 4 P.M.)
August 12: TBD (6 A.M.)
August 12: TBD (10 A.M.)
The sport that brings us glorious amounts of Sharapova and team Williams is back for some hard-hitting fun down at Wimbledon. Here’s when to watch:
First round singles matches: July 29 (7 A.M. - 3 P.M. EST on BRAVO)
Second round singles matches: July 30 (7 A.M. - 3 P.M. EST on BRAVO)
Mixed Doubles begin: August 1 (7 A.M. – 3 P.M. EST on BRAVO)
Quarterfinals: August 2 (7 A.M. - 3 P.M. EST on Bravo)
Gold Medal (Singles): August 4 (9 A.M. EST on NBC)
Gold Medal (Mixed Doubles): August 5 (7 A.M. EST on NBC Sports)
Gold Medal (Doubles): August 5 (12:15 P.M. EST on NBC Sports)
300+ More Events
While it would be impossible to give you our picks from every sport, we’d also suggest checking out the following while glued to your sets:
Michael Phelps 2012 Olympic Debut & Qualifying for Medal #8: July 29 (11 A.M. EST on NBC)
Rhythmic Gymnastics Final (with, we hope, Team USA’s sexy Julie Zeltin): August 11 (8:30 A.M. EST)
Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte: The 200 meter death race: August 2 (3:15 P.M. EST)
Equestrian (with the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips): July 31 (5:30/9:30 A.M. EST)