By now, you've likely heard that the Olympics Opening Ceremony will be held Friday. But the 2012 competitions actually start Wednesday, with women's soccer. That's when the American team plays France at noon, EDT.
The first Olympic match, between host Britain and New Zealand, begins at 11 a.m. EDT.
At noon, the Americans, led by forward Abby Wambach and midfielder Megan Rapinoe, will begin their quest for a third consecutive gold medal. The team also has an emerging star in striker Alex Morgan. Their first obstacle will be forward Louisa Necib and defender Sonia Bompastor of France, which lost to the U.S. women in last year's World Cup.
Men's soccer takes its turn Thursday, with 8 matches.
We'll be following the games here at The Torch. If you'd like to watch online, go to NBC's daily summary of events, which lists viewing options from TV to streaming video. Or you can try the YouTube Olympics Channel, which promises "live streaming" of games.
If you're wondering why "games" are taking place before the "Games" are officially open, it's a question of timing. Organizers felt that the elaborately plotted soccer tournament needed the extra days to get things rolling.