How does British bid measure up to The Games' requirements?

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The Independent Online


What the IOC said in May of London's bid based on initial outline proposals:

The report criticised the spread of venues, which made athletes' travelling distances among the longest of any bidding city. The IOC was impressed by the Olympic Park in the lower Lea Valley.

Subsequent changes in yesterday's document: Planners have located three venues closer to the Olympic Park. Shooting has moved from Bisley in Surrey to the Royal Artillery in Woolwich, mountain biking takes place at Weald Country Park in Brentwood, Essex instead of Swinley Forest, Berkshire and fencing is moved to the main park from Alexandra Palace in north London. As a result, it is claimed that 80 per cent of athletes will be within 20 minutes of their event venues. Around 65 per cent of venues exist with most new builds at Olympic Park. The 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium will be partly dismantled afterwards to create an athletics stadium for 25,000 which will also be home to a Premier League rugby club. Venues will be divided into three zones: the Olympic Park; the central zone of Hyde Park, Lord's, Regent's Park and Wimbledon; and the river zone of the Dome, ExCeL centre and Greenwich Park.

Verdict: Due largely to the influence of Lord Coe, London has reacted quickly to create a more compact Games.


What the IOC said: "Rail public transport is often obsolete and considerable investments must be made. Urban expressways and main arterial road facilities lack capacity to provide reasonable times and speeds."

Changes made: Planners have ensured that spectators will be able to get from central London to Stratford quickly by running fast shuttles on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Passengers will be taken from St Pancras to the site in 10 minutes. An extension to the East London tube line, costing nearly £1bn, will be built so spectators from south-east London will be able to get to the Games without going into the centre. Transport for London envisages an Olympic Road Network giving athletes and officials priority over other traffic.

Verdict: The main flaw is that CrossRail - the east-west line linking Heathrow to east London - won't be built in time.


What the IOC said: This category was only added after May as the Olympic movement was concerned that Athens would cement its reputation for creating white elephants. Even Stadium Australia went bust. The IOC wants to see long-lasting benefits for the wider community.

Changes made: Legacy has become established in the bid mantra in the hope that it will be music to IOC ears. Under-investment in facilities since the 1960s has left a lack of venues, but the bid sees this as a potential virtue: it promises to bequeath five new arenas with the addition announced yesterday of a London Olympic Institute to be bolted onto the proposed main stadium. Pledges have been given to turn the Olympic village into social housing.

Verdict: The Lower Lea Valley is already undergoing regeneration. Claims that venues will be in near-constant use look like a triumph of hope over experience.


What the IOC said: IOC polling showed 67 per cent public support (85 per cent in Spain), far lower than that supplied by the bid. Thirteen per cent opposed and told the IOC they were concerned about cost and traffic. The IOC noted support from Government and the Mayor but London being one of the last to bid may have been a black mark.

Changes made: "The only poll that counts is the one taken on 6 July next year (the final vote)," Lord Coe said yesterday. However, a blitz on publicity and a tour of the regions has seen public support rise to around 70 per cent, with slightly lower figures in London and Scotland. The acid test comes later this month when the IOC conducts its own poll. Results will remain secret.

The bid has trumpeted the presence of the Prime Minister and his wife in Athens and it was prominent at the Labour Party conference. Ken Livingstone has embraced the bid. A cabinet minister would be handed the Olympic portfolio.

Verdict: Public support may be swayed by the publicity blitz. Political unity undermined only by Gordon Brown's refusal to approve £340m tax break on an Olympic lottery.


19 November: Few will read the candidate file in full but chapters will be pored over by experts at the IOC secretariat. They will produce a precis version for IOC members.

3-4 December: Bid chairman Lord Coe and president Keith Mills have a rare opportunity to "sell" the bid to the IOC face-to-face at a meeting of the European Olympic Commission in Dubrovnik

16-19 February 2005: Inspectors from the IOC evaluation commission visit London to "stress test" the blueprint. A "war room" has been set up at London 2012 to work on responses to questions such as how transport would cope should the Blackwall tunnel need to close, and the capabilities of hospitals if terrorists attack the city.

June: After visiting each of the five bid cities, the evaluation commission will produce a report for voting members on candidate strengths and weaknesses.

1 July: Bid teams begin arriving in Singapore for final vote. Expect plenty of late-night deal-making in hotel bars and lobbies as cities vie for extra votes.

6 July: The final vote in the tightest Olympic bid in recent memory is taken at the annual congress of the IOC. The winning city requires 50 per cent, plus one vote. Voting could go to four rounds.