LONDON’S OLYMPICS, which start on this day in 2012, are the best prepared ever, according to one of the people in charge of the Sydney Games, often held up as the most successful of the modern era.
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“Many people say that Sydney remains the benchmark, but from where I’ve been sitting, London has been six months to a year ahead of us in their preparations all the way through,” said John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee.
That view was backed up by sports business expert Alan Seymour, who told Bloomberg:
“London has raised the bar and set some really good precedents and future markers for bidders of the Games.
“It’s definitely a first” for an Olympics site to be all but complete a year before opening day, he added.
One of the differences between previous Games and the London Olympics is the much-vaunted legacy that organizers say will be left to east London.
While many venues and facilities in Beijing, Athens and Sydney – the three most recent Games – lie derelict or unused, the claim is that plans are in place to make use of London’s Olympic sites for the benefit of the local area and beyond.
“The investment wasn’t just for six weeks of Games, it was for the next 30 years of east London,” said Margaret Ford, chairwoman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
“For every pound spent on the Olympic park, 75 pence stays there in legacy. So all of the infrastructure, the transport upgrades, the remediation of the land, the venues, all of those things remain in the park.”
London Olympics supremo Sebastian Coe, who presides over today’s one-year-to-go ceremonies at St Pancras station, said:
“I feel pride that it’s ‘sport wot done it’. I cannot look at the Olympic Park without taking great pride that all of us in sport did this.”
National Support for London 2012
A timely survey released by pollsters YouGov today shows that 55% of British adults think that the London 2012 Olympic Games will be good for London, with athletics set to be the most popular sport.
– 40% are interested in the London Olympic Games with one year to go
– 44% think London should have bid for the Games, 42% disagree
– 55% think the Games will be good for London generally
– Athletics is the most popular sport with 68% choosing it as one of their top five sports
– Of our list of sports which could be added to the Olympic Games in future, squash was the most popular, with 29% thinking it should be included
(Figures from YouGov Plc. Total sample size: 2,783 British adults. Survey carried out online between 24 and 25 July 2011.)