London 2012 chief calls on public to wake up and seize the Games

  • @cahalan

Businesses and the public must wake up to the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" afforded by hosting the Olympics, the head of London's 2012 organising committee says.

With just 200 days until the opening ceremony, Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog), said he was concerned people would not recognise the scale of the event until it was too late. "When the world starts arriving here, the light will begin to go on and people will start to say, 'Wow, I had no idea – this will be the experience of a lifetime'," he said. "This is my real concern. The thing that keeps me up at night is whether we will take full advantage of the extraordinary opportunity coming our way this summer. I know that by the time we get to the end of this, most people will say that they had no idea of the scale and opportunity of this."

Parents in particular should "feel a responsibility to make sure their kids experience these Games in every way they possibly can, because they won't see this again in their lifetimes", he said, adding that London is in better shape at this stage than most other host cities were, although more work is needed.

"We have considerably more than 8 per cent of the work left to do," he said. "And the work we have left to do will determine whether the Games are ultimately successful."

This week, David Cameron will chair a special cabinet meeting to discuss Locog's progress. The priority is now to complete temporary venues.