London 2012 goes full circle in its final IOC Session presentation
Today, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) made its final presentation to the IOC Session before the Olympic Games begin on Friday night.
Led by its Chair, Sebastian Coe, the LOCOG delegation included athlete representatives and 20 young children who had been part of London’s final presentation when the city won the right to host the Olympic Games in Singapore in 2005. Taking the Session back to that time, Coe and his team laid out how it had held to its original vision from the bid and delivered on its key areas of focus.
It’s about the athletes
Speaking during the presentation, Sebastian Coe outlined how his team had managed to retain their focus during the seven years that separated Singapore from today: “It’s about the athletes. If you get it right for the athletes, then you get it right in so many other areas.” Coe then explained how it had been LOCOG’s obsession to ensure that it was delivering the platform that the athletes could use to ensure that they achieved their full potential during the Games. This started with a 22-member athletes’ commission that looked at every element of the project to an Olympic Village that that would allow the athletes to feel at home and be within walking distance of many of the venues.
Testing and venue
Coe also spoke about how as an athlete it is important to not face anything on the field of play that you would not have already faced on the training ground and how this had shaped LOCOG’s approach to testing with numerous test events held before the Games, in order to ensure that the London team would have been as well rehearsed as possible before the Games themselves. LOCOG’s CEO Paul Deighton also explained how LOCOG has worked to build only permanent venues where there was a strong legacy case and mix in both existing and temporary venues, with the temporary buildings to be reused where possible.
LOCOG have also used these Games to inspire a generation and a nation, with initiatives such as ticketshare, which sees tickets being given to schools; a pay-your-age programme, where young people pay only half their age; an Opening Ceremony to wow the world; London Festival 2012, which has already seen 10 million people take part; 22 live sites around the country; the Get Set education programme, which is in 25,000 schools in the UK; the International Inspiration programme, which has reached 20 million young people in 20 countries; and the Olympic Torch Relay that has been seen by over 12 million people around the country.
In his conclusion, Sebastian Coe spoke about the legacy of the London 2012 Games, with the groundwork having been laid in school and youth sports participation, new sporting venues and the regeneration of East London, and the economic legacy of delivering the Games in a difficult economy. The presentation was rounded off by Coe’s thanks to the 57 million people of the UK, who had supported the Games throughout the last seven years of preparations and to the various partners that have helped to deliver the 2012 project.
A fascinating journey
Speaking after LOCOG, IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald summed-up his feelings after seven years of working closely with the London team on the 2012 project: “After seven years, we can say that it has been a fascinating journey, and I would like to thank you, Mr President, for entrusting me with the responsibility of chairing this Coordination Commission. Of course, this journey has been demanding and not always easy. There have been some rocks on the road, some hurdles to overcome and many challenges; but, even if we are not yet there, even if we have not yet crossed the finish line, we can say that what has been achieved is splendid.”