Spectators' experience at London 2012 Olympics to be improved with music and special lighting


Olympics organisers have revealed how they intend to enhance the spectator experience at London 2012 with music and other visual presentations.

Athletes in several sports will enter their respective arenas to music and special lighting while guides to events and inspirational clips will be shown on big screens.

Spectators will have access to "in-ear" commentary at a number of sports and some of Britain's most established bands could turn up unannounced to play at venues.

London 2012 organising committee LOCOG insist none of their plans to educate or entertain viewers will compromise the integrity of the sports they are watching.

Debbie Jevans, LOCOG director of sport, said: "What is paramount is the integrity of the sport and the atmosphere that naturally surrounds it. What we are doing is being mindful of it.

"In no way are we just going to drown out the atmosphere being built up."

Venues will be given musical themes: Elton John at the archery at Lord's, for example, and Dizzee Rascal at the basketball at North Greenwich Arena.

Head of sports presentation James O'Brien said: "Some sports, such as beach volleyball and basketball, will feature music more prominently than others, such as equestrian and archery.

"We are in no way trying to push it to the front of people's attention but we are using it as a tool to excite the crowds and drive the athletes on to greater performances.

"We have put together a library of 2012 tracks. Each sporting venue has been given its own personality in the theme."

The sports which will see athletes introduced to music and spotlights are: badminton, rhythmic gymnastics, basketball, handball (finals), boxing and fencing.

O'Brien said: "Most of them we looked at in test events.

"We have also spoken to the international federations and worked with them, and in all cases it is not something we have forced on them - it is something we have worked together and collaborated on and they agreed it will add to the atmosphere and enhance the athletes' experience in 2012."

LOCOG have prepared what they call "mood VTs" and "A-Z VTs" to show on big screens, to excite the viewer about the event and to explain its nuances to the uninitiated. There are more than 200 of the A-Z VTs and all have also been made available to broadcasters.

Jevans said: "What we want to do on this journey is ensure that when we are here in 2012 we use the way that we present sport to connect people with the sport itself, and even though I think it is fair to say that the UK is a nation of sports fans, many of the sports we have in the Olympic Games many of the people will never have seen before."

Fans will be able to purchase earpieces, at a cost of £10 each, to listen to commentary at gymnastics, athletics, rowing, mountain biking, judo, canoe slalom, BMX, fencing, table tennis, rhythmic gymnastics, badminton and wrestling. The earpiece will work at all venues.

The Pet Shop Boys, Rita Ora and Sub Focus are among some of the musical acts - among a host of other planned entertainment - set to make surprise appearances at the Games.

O'Brien said: "We're not announcing where, of the 650-odd sports sessions our live acts will be taking place - it is all part of the fun and part of the surprise."