- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
One year to 2012 Olympics in London
LONDON — With most of the venues already completed, tickets nearly sold out and a massive security operation in the works, London is preparing to mark the one-year countdown to the biggest sports show on earth.
Exactly one year from Wednesday, London will be staging the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. Using the backdrop of one of the world’s most popular capitals, it will become the first city to host the event for a third time after previous games in 1908 and 1948.
“London is on time and on budget, with a great quality in the preparations,” International Olympic Committee PresidentJacques Rogge told The Associated Press. “I’m very happy it’s going well.”
London will be welcoming 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries, 5,000 coaches and team officials, 20,000 media personnel and hundreds of thousands of visitors. The 17-day festival will feature athletes competing in 26 sports in more than 300 medal events in 32 venues.
Picture the scene on July 27, 2012: A capacity crowd of 80,000 people packed into the new Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle; the Olympic cauldron lit; fireworks bursting over the London skyline.
And then, for two weeks, the world’s best athletes competing in iconic venues across the city including Horse Guards Parade (beach volleyball), Hyde Park (triathlon and opening water swimming), Lord’s cricket ground (archery), Greenwich Park (equestrian) and Wembley Stadium (football).
“I’m proud to say this is an extraordinary British achievement,” organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said Tuesday. “It’s the greatest city on the planet. I’m probably allowed to say that — I’m a Londoner.”
Usain Bolt will be defending his Olympic titles in the 100 and 200 meters; Michael Phelps will be back in the pool after his record eight gold medals in Beijing; the United States, Russia and China will be battling to top the medals count.
London will mark the year-to-go countdown with a televised ceremony from Trafalgar Square, with Rogge on hand to formally invite the world’s athletes to the games. British medal hopeful Tom Daley will perform the first dive into the Olympic pool.
The aquatics center will be officially opened on Wednesday, the last of the six main permanent venues in the Olympic Park to be completed. The main stadium, the velodrome, handball arena, basketball venue and international broadcast center were all finished earlier this year.
“We’ve got 90 percent done in construction terms, and this is great a year out,” Coe said in an interview with the AP. “That’s not remotely to say that we could stage the games tomorrow.”
Venues still need to be fitted out and dressed up, the running track laid in the stadium, the broadcast technology installed, many sports test events held.
By next summer, London promises to offer a festival atmosphere to welcome the world.
“It is a city I know from experience knows how to party,” Coe said. “I want the party atmosphere of Sydney. I want the spirit and humanity of Barcelona. I want the way a city embraced the games like Vancouver, and the forensic eye for detail that we witnessed in Beijing.”
While Athens struggled to the last minute to finish venues for the 2004 Olympics, and Beijing was battered for its record on Tibet and human rights ahead of the 2008 Games, London has enjoyed a comparatively smooth and crisis-free ride so far.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow