- 22 May 2008
- IOC News
London builds up for spectacular Games
Speaking at the end of the visit, Denis Oswald said, “The Commission has been greatly impressed by the quality and speed with which LOCOG and its partners have been able to progress since our last visit. The most visible element is obviously venue construction, and the progress made on the Olympic Park, in particular, is truly astounding. In all the areas of preparation, we have been able to see marked progress by the London 2012 team, and this puts LOCOG on track to deliver great Games in 2012 and a great legacy beyond.”
The Commission was also able to meet this week with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, leader of the opposition David Cameron, Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell and the newly elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Oswald said, “The cross party support for the Games and the backing from the highest levels of Government in Great Britain is extremely reassuring. This strong basis of support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be crucial to London 2012 achieving its objectives. It is also pleasing to see that all levels of Government are working hard to engender a legacy of sports participation from the Games.”
With many former top level athletes on the Commission, along with highly experienced sports administrators, the group was pleased to see how LOCOG, in association with the British Olympic Association (BOA), was focusing on the athletes’ needs for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Chairman Oswald noted, “The athletes are central to the Games, and our Commission members know exactly what it takes to perform at your best on the field of play, as we have a number of Olympians and Paralympians around the table. We have all been very pleased to see that LOCOG has recognised the important place that the athletes hold in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and this is reflected throughout their planning.”
Oswald continued, “In only a few months, the newly elected Mayor of London will have the responsibility of accepting the Olympic flag at the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing Games. This will signal the end of LOCOG’s final opportunity to see a summer Games in operation before it must replicate the feat itself, and it will mark the point when the world’s attention will turn to London as the next host of the summer Olympic Games. I would encourage LOCOG and its partners to take full advantage of the learning opportunity that the Beijing Games present because it will be invaluable to its own planning. I have no doubt that London 2012 will learn the lessons it needs to in order to present spectacular Games in 2012.”
London 2012 Chair Sebastian Coe said, "We have a clear vision at the heart of our preparations for London 2012 which is to use the power of sport to inspire change, and this has been central to what we have been presenting to the Commission over the last three days or so. The progress we have made over the last year has been spectacular - and this is thanks to the teams we have at LOCOG, the ODA and all of our stakeholders. We have outlined our detailed plans for not only the next four years, but also beyond as we want the Games to have a significant and tangible legacy.”
He continued, “We take great encouragement from the Commission's comments and the obvious confidence they have in the job we have done so far - they, after all, are the experts. That is not to say that we have one iota of complacency - we know there is much to do, but we are confident we can meet the challenges ahead. Many of our teams will be travelling out to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games this summer where there will be much to learn."
During its visit, the Commission had the opportunity to see the Olympic Park site, Wembley Stadium, Horse Guards Parade and Hyde Park, all of which will host key Olympic venues. The Commission also participated in working groups and plenary sessions with LOCOG and its local partners from the government, the BOA and the ODA, which looked at the progress in a number of areas including the Cultural Olympiad, venues and infrastructure, transport and the environment, as well as looking at the services and experiences that different groups coming to the Games could look forward to including athletes, media, spectators, International Federations and National Olympic Committees.
The Commission also approved moving Olympic Fencing, Wheelchair Fencing and Paralympic Judo to the ExCeL venue in Docklands having been satisfied through the course of the meetings that the move ensures the 2012 Games makes the best use of London’s existing venues, plus this has created the opportunity to move the temporary basketball arena to the former site of the Fencing Hall in the Olympic Park. This improves the layout of venues freeing up more space for spectators to enjoy the Olympic Park.
These changes have been approved by the appropriate International Sporting Federations. ExCeL is already a major hub for the London Games outside the Olympic Park. In addition to hosting fencing, wheelchair fencing and Paralympic judo it will host weightlifting, Paralympic powerlifting, judo, wrestling, boccia, taekwondo, table tennis, Paralympic table tennis, boxing and wheelchair basketball. The final approval must now be given by the IOC’s Executive Board.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
IOC Coordination Commission
The IOC, as the guardian of the Olympic Games, assists and monitors the work of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games through the work of the Coordination Commission. The Commission visits the host city once a year until four years from the Games, when the visits become twice yearly until the Games are held. The Commission’s full meetings are supplemented by the regular visits of smaller IOC teams involving the Commission Chairman, selected members of the Commission and members of the IOC administration. The next visit of the full Coordination Commission to London will be in April 2009.
London was elected as the Host City for the Games of the XXX Olympiad on 6 July 2005 at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore. London eventually succeeded in the fourth round of voting, taking 54 votes from a possible 104. London faced stiff opposition during the vote from the other four candidate cities: Paris, New York, Moscow and Madrid. There will be 26 sports on the Olympic Programme in London in 2012 and around 10,500 athletes.