These will be the green Games, to many they will be the austerity Games -- and they may even be the rain Games.
The long wait will be over Friday for London, the city that was awarded the Games of the 30th Olympiad in 2005 on a promise of transformation. A day after that announcement, suicide bombers struck London trains and buses, killing 52 people.
Seven years on and a security staffing fiasco has again thrust potential threats to the forefront of people's minds -- but Olympic organizers and the government say they will do everything possible to keep the Games safe.
While Britain's wettest June in more than a century may have cast a cloud over the final preparations for the Games, forecasters say the weather is now set to brighten.
And as more than 10,000 athletes from 205 countries assemble in London for Friday's opening ceremony, there is the promise of two weeks of breathtaking sport.
Can Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, star of the Beijing track in 2008, win gold once again in the men's 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay events, thus cementing his status as the fastest man on the planet?
Many wonder if Team USA men's basketball squad can surpass the on-court magic of the legendary Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
And as swimmers race beneath the sweeping curves of the Aquatics Center, the pressure will be on American Michael Phelps to replicate his success in the last Olympics, when he took home a record-breaking eight golds.
Meanwhile the host nation's best hopes of gold medals may lie with Team GB's stars in sailing, rowing and cycling, including Bradley Wiggins, buoyed by an outstanding performance in the Tour de France cycle race.
Every country will have at least one female athlete after Saudi Arabia included two women in its team for the first time, setting an important precedent for women's rights. Other athletes have survived the turmoil of the Arab Spring to represent their countries for the first time free from the tyranny of dictatorship.
And with medals to be handed out in 26 different sports, there's always the chance of a shock upset or the emergence of a shining new talent to captivate the crowds.
Much of the drama will play out within the landscaped contours of the Olympic Park, intended as an enduring sporting legacy in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods and touted by the London 2012 organizers as the most sustainable space yet designed for the Games.
The 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium is built from only a tenth of the total steel used for the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing in 2008, while in the velodrome cyclists will race round a track made from sustainably-sourced Siberian pine.
The organizers are keen to make sure the "green" theme continues beyond the Games' conclusion on August 12. Following a clean-up of the River Lea and canals that pass through the site, wildlife is being encouraged to return to wetlands downstream. Some 300,000 wetland plants have been planted, as well as more than 4,000 trees and 130,000 plants and bulbs in 250 acres of regenerated parkland.
David Stubbs, head of sustainability for the London organizing committee, LOCOG, said the event would be a golden opportunity to show what can be achieved. "If you can put sustainability at the heart of a project which is the largest logistical exercise in peace time -- across 26 different sports, with thousands of people attending and millions watching -- then you can do it anywhere," Stubbs told CNN.
Much of the cost of staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been met by the taxpayer, with the government overseeing £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion) of spending from the public purse.
According to its figures, three-quarters of the money spent by the Olympic Delivery Authority -- the public sector body responsible for building the new venues and infrastructure -- has been invested in long-term regeneration, and the Games are currently under budget by some £476 million.
The organizing group LOCOG, which is a private company, has a core budget of more than £2 billion ($3.1 billion), with almost all revenue raised from the private sector, it says.
By contrast, the Beijing Olympics in 2008 cost a whopping $40 billion, according to a December 2008 report by the state-run news agency Xinhua. China spent heavily on infrastructure, including three new subway lines, a new airport terminal and new sports facilities, the news agency said.
London's Games come in the wake of the global financial meltdown and against a backdrop of economic gloom in Europe and broad cuts to public spending in Britain.