Londoners and visitors travelling through St Pancras International station tonight witnessed the spectacular unveiling of the first set of giant Olympic Rings, marking the first step in using the Olympic symbols on iconic landmarks to transform the capital into the Host City of the London 2012 Games.
The stunning display was revealed by Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Mayor of London Boris Johnson, London 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock and children from Christ Church Primary School in the London Borough of Camden at a special event in the station.
Built in Hitchin, Hertfordshire over 4 weeks by a team of 25 people, the aluminium Rings measure 20 metres wide by 9 metres high and weigh 2,300 kilograms. They were transported by lorry in 39 separate parts to St Pancras International station, where they were secretly assembled and installed over seven nights. The Olympic Rings are suspended from the roof of the Barlow Train Shed at St Pancras International.
The Olympic Rings are one of the world's most recognisable logos. The five Rings – coloured blue, yellow, black, green and red – represent the five continents and are interlaced to show the meeting of the world's athletes during the Olympic Games.
Spectators attending the unveiling were entertained by young British professional and upcoming talent, including an exclusive acoustic set by Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones from McFly, a Parkour display by ‘Jump London’, a recital by a children's choir from Maria Fidelis Convent school, and a performance by a singer-songwriter from the ‘Teenage Rampage’ London 2012 Inspire mark project.
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair, said: 'The Olympic Rings are an iconic symbol, inspiring athletes and uniting people around the world. To athletes they represent the culmination of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport. To Londoners and visitors alike, they will excite and inspire them about being in a Host City and demonstrate that we are ready to welcome the world in 2012.'
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London said: 'London is going to be at the centre of the world’s attention throughout 2012 and I want the whole city to harness every opportunity offered by the Games.
'Unveiling the first set of Olympic Rings at St Pancras International provides a fantastic glimpse into how the capital is gearing up for this unique event. London is embracing its role of Host City and I am determined to turn this enthusiasm into a lasting legacy for the city for generations to come.
'The rings will be a powerful symbol for millions of visitors using the iconic station that the capital is poised and ready to welcome the world's greatest sporting stars and put on the best show on earth.'
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said: 'This is a special moment for London as it begins its transformation into an Olympic Host City. The iconic Olympic Rings at St Pancras are a reminder to Londoners and visitors alike that the greatest sporting event in the world is now just round the corner.'
IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald said: 'The success of an Olympic Games is first and foremost decided by what happens on the field of play but truly great Games have also ensured that their city fully embraces the atmosphere of the Olympics. Having these spectacular Rings at one of the key entry points to the Games will give locals and visitors from across the world a truly Olympic welcome to their 2012 experience.'
During the Games, St Pancras International will be one of the key access points to the Olympic Park – the Javelin® service will take 25,000 visitors per hour to and from the Games in a seven minute journey along the High Speed 1 track to Stratford International. St Pancras International was the location for the first flagship London 2012 shop.
The programme of placing Olympic Rings and the Paralympic Agitos across London is being developed in partnership by LOCOG and the Mayor of London.