THEY are on their way at last.
Glasgow will kick off the first Olympic event to be held on British soil since 1948 when Hampden Park hosts a football double-header.
Bizarrely, the competition takes place two days before the official Olympic Games opening ceremony in London on Friday, July 27.
The first will be women's preliminaries between the United States and France, with both sides strong contenders for medals.
The match will kick off on Wednesday, July 25, at 5pm, and for US captain Christie Rampone it will be an emotional homecoming. Her great-grandfather William Dowie was a goalkeeper for Raith Rovers between 1905-1915.
He made his debut at 19 and had an impressive first season. One match report said: "Rovers' young goalkeeper Dowie was a veritable octopus in goal and gave a marvellous display of fistic prowess, punching the ball clear in all directions and repeatedly over the bar."
Dowie emigrated to America in 1920 when he was 34 years old. He had played for Raith 130 times.
Christie, a 37-year-old mother of two young daughters, was delighted to discover she and her "soccer" team mates would be playing in Glasgow, as well as Old Trafford and said: "It's exciting because my family is going to make this trip.
"They haven't been on a trip in a long time and for my mom to visit where her grandfather played is going to be very special.
"It's going to be a great trip for the family to see where a relative played, to see Scotland and England.
"We love to travel, see new places and play where Manchester United plays. The team is going to be pumped."
The game has the makings of a great start to the Games. France reached the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup in Germany last year before the team picked up its first international title by lifting the Cyprus Women's Cup four months ago.
The French squad is dominated by players from Olympique Lyonnais which won the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2011 and 2012.
But the US is the side to beat. The Americans scored 31 goals in the qualifying matches and their defence – marshalled by central defender Christie – did not concede one goal.
The US won gold on home soil in Atlanta in 1996, then silver four years later in Australia before striking gold in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
After Christie and the US team trot off the pitch at Hampden, Colombia will take on North Korea.
Another football feast is planned the following day when the much-anticipated men's preliminaries between Spain, the current world and European champions, and Japan take place.
Eight football matches have been lined up for Hampden – it is the only Olympic venue north of the Border – but ticket sales have been slow, although they are expected to pick up as Olympic fever kicks in.
And with 50,000 free tickets for children and young people, the stadium should be pretty full. Organisers say tickets can still be bought for Hampden and, with a starting price of £20, an entire family can afford to attend.
London 2012 chairman Seb Coe said: "To be able to say you attended the very first moment of London 2012 is an unique opportunity and, with one of the greatest footballing nations, Spain, coming to Glasgow, it makes it even more special.
"The ticket prices mean that the matches being played in Glasgow provide an affordable family day out.
"For less than £80, a family of four can be a part of the Olympic Games and see some of the best players in the world in the women's tournament and the stars of tomorrow in the men's."
Spectators who are undecided about which country to back at might be influenced by the clubs they have played for.
Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre is a Honduras international with 46 caps.
He was Scotland's Player of the Year in 2011 although he's not in the Olympics squad.
Ex-Hoops player Shunsuke Nakamura played for Japan in the 2000 Olympics, while Moroccan Badr El Kaddouri scored for Celtic against Rangers last season while on loan from Dynamo Kiev.
He represented his country in the 2004 Olympics.
Neither will be on hand when their country plays at Hampden.
Hibs midfielder Jorge Claros, who played in the Scottish Cup Final, also turned out for Honduras. He picked up 31 caps and played at the Beijing Games.
Egypt is another footballing nation with links to Scotland. Mohammed Latif spent two years at Rangers but played just one league game against Hibs in the 1935-1936 season.
He was a regular for the reserves, while fellow countryman Mustafa Kamal Mansour was never off the Hampden pitch. He spent two seasons with Queen's Park in the late 1930s while studying PE at Jordanhill College.
And it was Scotsman James McCrae who managed the Egyptian team during the 1934 World Cup. He played with West Ham and Manchester United.