London Gets Ready For 2012
London 2012 is in “good shape”, according to LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe. With a little over one year remaining until the 2012 Olympic Games begin in London, organisers are already gearing up to welcome the world. With plans now being put to the test in earnest, the Games-time workforce growing rapidly and venues that were once drawings opening for competition, London 2012 is doing everything it can to make sure that the Olympians of 2012, and their fans, will have the times of their lives when they visit the British capital for the Games next summer.
Building, Testing and Operating
UK Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson announced this week that 88 per cent of construction for the London Games was now complete. This puts the 2012 Games organisers in the enviable position of having many of their venues ready over a year out from the Games. This is allowing them to begin transitioning the control of the Olympic Park from the Olympic Delivery Authority to LOCOG, who will be responsible for operating the Park at Games time. LOCOG and its partners are therefore already entering the venues in order to learn how they operate and to test them, so that there are no surprises next July. Testing is also being conducted virtually, with 200,000 hours of technology testing taking place in 36 virtual venues.
The workforce for the Games continues to grow rapidly, with 100 new employees starting every month and 70,000 volunteers in the process of being selected across the UK. There is also a focus on transport planning and operations, with about GBP 6 billion being spent on transport upgrades, and discussions taking place with businesses and other organisations to find a different way of working next summer.
Welcoming the World
In July and August 2012, the Olympic world will come to Great Britain for the Games, and London is leaving no stone unturned in its quest for excellence. LOCOG has already welcomed 163 International Federations and 272 National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees to the British capital for site visits to ensure the athletes’ needs are met. The next year will see 42 sports events in the “London Prepares” testing series - underlining LOCOG’s commitment to testing and Games readiness. In addition, LOCOG is working hard to build its fan club for the Games through its ticketing programme, which has been incredibly popular; through mascot visits; and on its social media platforms. Showing that these are the whole country’s Games, 83 agreements have now also been signed with NOCs for their pre-Games training camps around Great Britain.
2012 and Beyond
London’s readiness is not just about the 16 days of competition though, with London 2012’s preparations for the Games already building legacies for today and tomorrow. The Olympic Park is slated to become an incredible legacy for local communities, with the Park not just providing a green space for local residents but also hosting sports facilities, housing and work places, all of which will serve the surrounding area for generations to come. In addition, International Inspiration, a programme to bring sporting opportunities to young people around the world, has already touched the lives of 11 million young people in 16 countries. The Games have also created thousands of jobs and training opportunities, with businesses having access to around GBP 6 billion of contracts to build and supply the Games. London is well on its way to being ready for 2012 and even beyond.