London gearing up for a jolly good Olympic show

Traffic, security matters addressed

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Others were less than impressed by their first impressions. Bus drivers taking the Americans and the Australians struggled to find their destinations. At least one American athlete, two-time world 400-meter hurdles champion Kerron Clement, was less than complimentary.

“Um, so we’ve been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London,” he tweeted.

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said while there were a few glitches, everyone made it safely and just got on with preparing for the most important competition of their lives.

Officials noted that while a few buses might have gotten temporarily lost, hundreds of others managed to get from Heathrow to east London just fine. London Mayor Boris Johnson ruffled his blond hair and urged everyone to chill out.

“Clearly they would have had even more of an opportunity to see even more of the city than they might otherwise have done,” he said of buses that took a long route to the Olympic Park.

Transportation issues were supposed to have been eased by a “Games Lane” that opened Monday along the vital M4 highway into central London from Heathrow for Olympic VIPs.

More such highway lane closures are coming next week and London drivers have been warned about them for months. Still, many were clearly caught off guard by the Heathrow closure and cars backed up near the airport for miles.

London has four other airports, but the Olympic credentials desk is located at Heathrow, so most of the air traffic went there.

Heathrow usually handles 100,000 to 110,000 arrivals a day, but this swelled to 121,239 on Monday with the arrival of several Olympic VIPS.

Another big arrival day will be July 25, two days before the opening ceremony.

While the athletes were arriving, Britain’s politicians were fighting over a security fiasco that has seen soldiers pulled from leave to boost security. Home Secretary Theresa May said the government was not to blame, telling lawmakers that G4S had “repeatedly assured us that they would overshoot their target” for recruiting staff and said only last week that it had a problem.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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