EXCLUSIVE: Seb Coe’s 2012 Olympics promise to Londoners
With just a year until the Olympics, organising committee chairman Seb Coe delivers an exclusive personal message to Londoners, vowing to make our city proud in 2012.
“In exactly a year’s time our city will be getting ready to celebrate the beginning of the greatest show on earth. London is already one of the most atmospheric, diverse and in my view greatest cities on earth. Next summer, when the Olympic and Paralympic Games come to town, it will be simply magical.
“Londoners will be at the heart of the action during Games-time, whether it’s in the venues as ticket-holders, part of our 70,000-strong ‘Games maker’ volunteer team, working in one of our venues or retail outlets or at one of the big screens in the city cheering on the competitors.
“And talking of the athletes, I know that they cannot wait to come to London for the Games. The prospect of competing at a home Games for British athletes is a once in a lifetime opportunity and for athletes coming from around the world, they know that London is going to be pretty special because the chances are, such is our great diversity, that they’ll have a ‘home’ crowd waiting for them here too.
“The Olympic Park has risen from the ground in the last few years at a remarkable rate. More than 12,500 people have been working on there, which at a time of economic downturn has been a lifeline for many. The park is ‘made in Britain’ and will be a beacon of British industry for generations to come.
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“There is much to do in the next 12 months as we turn those venues into sporting theatre for the athletes, test them, test the technology and test our teams.
“We have temporary venues to construct, at spectacular Greenwich Park for equestrian and historic Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball, to name but two.
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“There are more tickets which will become available from the end of the year and we are finalising our plans for the Olympic Torch Relay which will travel around London before lighting the cauldron to signal the start of the Games.
“And after the Games are gone, the area around Stratford will have benefited from a regeneration project, completed in a few years which otherwise would have taken generations. Where once there was a patch of contaminated land will stand a cleaned up urban park.
“Transport links have been improved, a major new retail development has been built bringing jobs and investment and state-of-the-art sporting venues will benefit aspiring athletes and the local community alike.
“We will stage a Games that London will be proud of. I hope whether you are in a venue or watching at home you will get behind us and our athletes – we won’t let you down.”
Yesterday, speaking during a media call, Lord Coe acknowledged the pressure is piled on the team he heads to deliver an Olympics worthy of the billions of pound lavished upon it.
“I really do not sit up at night wondering what it is we have not thought about,” said Lord Coe, who was as measured and collected as ever in his role as frontman for the greatest, and most expensive show, on Earth.
“I spend a lot of time thinking about the project as the whole team does. What I can safely say is that the things in our control are under control.”
But the unexpected will strike at some point, he predicted.
“Over the course of the coming year, things will come at us which we do not see. But the quality of the teams will be resilient when we so get thrown the curve-ball. If we build the right team they will deal better than the team who are not made to do that.
“We’ve got a very strong team of risk assessors who really do sit and think about all sorts of things in detail.
“But that’s not saying we do not have a mountain of things over the coming year to do.”
Tell us what you think. With 12 months to go until the London 2012 Olympics, are you excited? Do you think London is as prepared as it should be at this stage? Do you have any concerns over the staging of the Games? Add your comments below.