With one year to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, preparations are on track and London’s vision to host a Games that inspires the world is set to become reality. The Games next year will mark the end of a decade-long project, after London won the bid in 2005 based on a vision to stage Games that would have athletes at its heart, inspire young people and be a catalyst for lasting change. London is on track to deliver on these promises and lay the foundations for significant social, sporting and economic legacies.
London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) Chair Seb Coe said: 'With a year to go we are inviting the athletes, spectators and visitors from around the world to come to the UK next summer – it’s ‘London Calling’. Waiting for them will be a spectacular festival of sport and culture in the world’s greatest city, which will be more magical and vibrant than ever.
'There is much to do in the next 12 months, but we can take huge comfort in the progress that has been made so far. We are absolutely on track and determined to stage Olympic and Paralympic Games which will deliver on the promises we made in Singapore, inspire the athletes and make the nation proud.'
A total of 15,000 athletes from over 200 countries will compete in the Olympic and Parlaympic Games next summer, and preparations are on track to ensure London 2012 is one of the most spectacular Games ever.
The President of the International OIympic Committee Jacques Rogge will today formally invite the athletes of the world to the Games next summer. He will also unveil the Olympic medals at an event in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Rogge said: 'London 2012 is now ideally placed not just to deliver top level Olympic competition but also to leave a great legacy to the British people. I wish London well as it enters its final year of preparations and testing and I am confident that next summer this great city will once again do the Olympic Movement proud.’
On Track for 2012
A number of significant milestones have been achieved:
--More than 3.5 million tickets have been sold so far, setting the scene for full venues at Games time and a sensational atmosphere for competing athletes
--A quarter of a million people have applied to volunteer and interviews are now taking place to fill up to 70,000 roles
--The initial route for the Olympic Torch Relay has been announced, with details of the Torch design also unveiled
--International Inspiration has delivered on its promise of reaching 12 million children worldwide with one year to go to the Games.
LOCOG is also set to award more than £700m worth of contracts, including purchasing more than 900,000 pieces of sporting equipment.
Development and Regeneration
Construction of the Olympic Park, undertaken by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), is now 88% complete. The Park is a spectacular showcase for the very best in British design, engineering, creativity and security. Electricity pylons have been replaced by iconic sporting arena and a housing development, which will house the world’s athletes during the Games.
Transport links have been improved, waterways cleaned and communities reconnected and renewed. More than six billion pounds' worth of contracts have been awarded to improve transport links and clean waterways, with 98% of these going to UK-based firms.
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: ‘A project of this scale and complexity has not been seen in the UK for generations. With the main Olympic Park venues ready a year before the Games as planned, we are ready to handover to Seb Coe’s Organising Committee who are on track to stage a great Games in 2012.’
The Next 12 Months
LOCOG will now begin a sustained period of construction of its own. The 17,000-seat Hockey Centre will be constructed on the Olympic Park, while temporary venues around London – including Horse Guards Parade and Greenwich Park – must be also be built.
The process of testing venues and Games-time operations under the London Prepares series banner will continue, while over 80 agreements have been signed between teams from around the world and facilities across the UK confirming Pre-Games Training Camps.
LOCOG is committed to making sure that the London 2012 Games will be the most accessible possible and that everyone has the opportunity to be involved with the Games.
London will be left with world class sporting facilities and significant investment by both the Government and Mayor of London will see more young people participating in sport, more coaches and a better sporting infrastructure.
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Photo: The Olympic Stadium lights up to mark the one year to go milestone