Friday marks the official start to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and the British capital is preparing to shake up tradition at some very old sites. Tennis players, typically clad in white, will don hot pink uniforms as they play on the historic Wimbledon courts, and not far from the prime minister's HQ at 10 Downing Street, beach volleyball players will be bikini-clad. Equestrians will ride around the meridian at Greenwich Park—where the world's time is set--and rowers will be able to look up and see the oldest castle in the world, Windsor Castle, as they work furiously to get to the finish line. Big Ben will chime more than 40 times within three minutes today in honor of the games while thousands of school bells, door bells, church bells and even bicycle bells will ring across Britain. The royal family, led by Queen Elizabeth, will kick off the event, after which celebrities like Paul McCartney and David Beckham are scheduled to make appearances.
OLYMPICS Clive Brunskill / Getty Images