It has been nearly seven years – or 2,479 days to be exact – since Trafalgar Square erupted in celebration at the announcement that London would host the Olympic Games in the summer of 2012.
Now there are only one hundred days to go before the Games finally, officially begin. With the stadiums and venues in place, the travel arrangements (almost) ironed out and the oft-revised budget finalised, organisers are preparing for the final countdown to what they hope – and claim – will be the greatest show on earth.
Of course, if you are one of the many people for whom seven years of near-constant publicity has taken the shine off that summer day in 2005, it is the moment to book your outbound flights. Like it or not, the Olympics will be everywhere for the next one hundred days. And then they will actually begin.
Before the Opening Ceremony on 27 July, the ancient ritual of the Olympic Torch Relay will ratchet up the excitement, as the flame moves ever closer to London from its spiritual home in Olympia, Greece, where it will be lit on 10 May. On its way, it will complete a relay of the Greek mainland, before being carried by 8,000 bearers on a 70-day UK tour that will take in 1,024 villages, towns and cities.
At the Olympic venues themselves, the sporting action will begin long before the Games proper, with series of test events that will put grounds, facilities and scoring systems through their paces.
Back in 2005, as Lord Coe returned triumphant from the International Olympic Committee meeting in Singapore that sealed London's fate, we were promised new stadiums, new investment and "the most fantastic opportunity to do everything we ever dreamed of in British sport." While there have been many detractors and despite the Games running up a taxpayer-funded budget of £9.3bn – nearly £2bn more than forecast – most of the grand plans of seven years ago have become reality.
The transformation of a 2.5km/sq corner of east London has progressed on schedule, as have the creation, renovation or preparation of all 32 Olympic sporting venues in London and beyond.
Worryingly for the Olympic organising committee, however, is a recent poll which revealed that more than half of people did not believe that London 2012 would be worth the huge public expense.
Will the next 100 days win the nation over?
A selection of voices canvassed for i suggests that, while opinion remains divided, there is a quiet groundswell of enthusiasm for the Games that Lord Coe and LOCOG might find mildly reassuring.
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