James Ashton: Olympic organisers deserve a gold medal

Never mind the athletes... spare a thought for the logistical prowess

It's only when you get up close to the Olympics that you appreciate the scale of the operation. And I don't just mean by attending one of the warm-up events which road-tested the water polo stadium on Thursday night.

A chat with Sir Keith Mills, the Air Miles and Nectar loyalty tycoon, was a stark reminder at what is being attempted when the Games begins in 12 weeks' time. The way Mr Mills tells it, Locog is sort of a pop-up FTSE 100 company. At its peak during Games time it will employ, directly and indirectly, 200,000 people, including full-time organisers, volunteers and contractors handling catering and security. By the end of September, when the clean-up after the Paralympics has finished, it will drop like a stone to just a few hundred.

Never mind the athletic prowess on show this summer, spare a thought for the logistical prowess. The organisers and all the businesses they have working with them deserve a gold medal if they can get it over the finishing line.

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