Coe unveils 2012 proposals with a patriotic rallying cry

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Indy Politics

A formidable array of political leaders and sporting greats appealed for the public to back London's Olympic bid yesterday as the capital delivered a detailed plan designed to edge out its rivals in the race to stage the 2012 Games.

A formidable array of political leaders and sporting greats appealed for the public to back London's Olympic bid yesterday as the capital delivered a detailed plan designed to edge out its rivals in the race to stage the 2012 Games.

The bid chairman, Sebastian Coe, promised that hosting the event would reap huge dividends for London and the sporting community and said that public support was crucial in taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"We shouldn't ask what these Olympic Games can do for us, we should ask what they can do for our children," said Lord Coe, borrowing from John F Kennedy's inaugural presidential speech. "We have the opportunity to change this city and to change the face of British sport forever. This opportunity will not come around again. It has to be grabbed and it has to be won," he said.

At the unveiling of a 600-page blueprint, which was submitted on Monday to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), bid leaders revealed final written plans that have been revised in recent months and include lessons learnt from Athens.

In changes made since initial proposals were submitted in January, London pledged a Games that would break all records on revenues from ticketing, sponsorship and broadcast deals and turn a profit of £100m on £1.5bn operating costs.

The main infrastructure work would be funded from an additional budget of £2.375bn, which includes £560m for venues, £380m for transport and £200m for security.

Far from being a disaster to navigate as the IOC had feared in its interim report in May, it would provide the best public transport for a Games. Ten rail lines would lead into Olympic Park, notably a dedicated "Olympic Javelin" train running from St Pancras.

Organisers would build five new venues. Among these, a swimming pool and the main and hockey stadiums would plug the gap in the capital's sports infrastructure and attract events for decades to come.

Lord Coe said: "Since the IOC evaluation report in May we have been listening and learning. The Games in London will be like no other Games before them. There will be no waste, there will be no white elephants, there will be clear, long-term plans for venues and facilities."

London also revealed that tickets would start at £15 and more than half would be £30 or less, though prices would climb above £50 for blue-riband events such as track and field. It is claimed average ticket prices would be 30 per cent cheaper than Paris and 40 per cent cheaper than New York.

London 2012 had initially hoped to spread venues across the region but has come under pressure to restrict athletes' travel times and now boasts that 80 per cent of them will get to their venues in 20 minutes.

Bid leaders consider that their chances are boosted by the capital's proven ability to throw a party such as the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the summer's Olympic Torch relay.

That same presentational élan was in evidence yesterday at a slick launch which culminated with a four-minute burst of the feelgood factor in a witty film entitled Make Britain Proud. Cameo roles ranged from David Beckham struggling over a crossword puzzle and Kelly Holmes going through the revolving doors of the Savoy to the actress Helen Mirren posing as a tourist lost in Leicester Square.

At the unveiling of their candidate file on Wednesday, the organisers of the Paris bid were criticised for lacking such style but theirs remains the bid to beat. As odds-on favourites, the main advantage of the French bid is that most of their venues are already in place.

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