The big wait is almost over. It was in July 2005 that London won the vote to stage the greatest sporting show on earth. The schedule of events for the 2012 Olympic Games will be published tomorrow and the race for tickets begins on 15 March, marking 500 days to go before the opening ceremony. There will be a six-week window for applications, lasting until 26 April. Tickets for the Paralympic Games go on sale on 9 September.
There will be a total of 8.8 million tickets available for the 26 Olympic sports that will be contested between 27 July and 12 August next year. Each ticket will include free travel on public transport in London for the day of the event, to encourage spectators to use the transport system and take in the festivities throughout the city.
There will also be free-to-view events, including road cycling, triathlon and the marathon. These will take place on the streets of London, where spectators can line the routes to cheer on the athletes. Big screens at "live sites across the UK" will also screen the sporting action.
Some 2.5 million of the tickets will be priced at £20, mostly for preliminary round action. The "Willy Wonka golden tickets", to see the men's 100m final – and, subject to fitness, Usain Bolt's defence of the traditional Olympic blue riband title – will be priced at £725.
Still, demand is sure to outstrip supply – as it will for the two days of the heptathlon, the event that is likely to provide the biggest hope of British success in the main Games arena, the 80,000 seater Olympic Stadium.
Jessica Ennis was the only British track and field athlete ranked No 1 in the world last year. She is the reigning world and European heptathlon champion.
It was with an eye to the big event next year – the first Olympics in Britain since the London Games of 1948 – that the Sheffield athlete withdrew from the action on the second day of the national indoor championships in her home city yesterday. Ennis scratched from the long jump after complaining of a tightness in her ankle when winning the high jump with a clearance of 1.88 metres on Saturday.
"I have had an annoying niggle on the side of my left foot over the past week," she said yesterday. "A scan revealed there is no damage and it is a bit of inflammation. My coach and I decided that rest today would be best as it is still stiff and focus on the bigger picture.
"I was really happy with my high jump yesterday. It was comfortable and it gave me a good insight into how things are shaping up with the European Indoors just a few weeks away."
Ennis still hopes to contest the 60m hurdles in the Aviva Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham next Saturday, and to go for gold in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships in Paris next month. The big picture for her, however – and for the rest of the planet's leading athletes – will be in London in the looming summer of 2012.