One year to go, and Lord Coe says London 2012 is under control – mostly
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Wednesday 27 July 2011
There remains a "mountain of work" to be done, says Lord Coe, as the race to prepare for the Olympic Games enters the home straight.
At a ceremony this evening to mark one year until the start of the 2012 Games, Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, will be in Trafalgar Square to invite the world to London, while in the East End, in the heart of the £8.1bn Olympic Park, Tom Daley, Britain's teenage diving star, will become the first person to plunge into the pool. (His leap off the high board will be broadcast live on the BBC, so he had better not bellyflop.)
The building work on the Olympic Park is 90 per cent complete and the entire project is forecast to come in on time and within budget. But Lord Coe said: "One year to go is a pretty defining moment. There is a mountain of work still to be done to turn the venues into sporting theatres. We are entering the most testing phase [but] what is in our control is under our control. I can't look out at that Olympic Park without feeling great pride – it's sport that did this."
It will be the third time London has hosted the Games, after 1908 and 1948, but the first in which employers are to be urged to give staff longer lunch breaks and flexible working hours to allow them to witness the host nation's 550 athletes in action.
The director of the opening ceremony, the Oscar-winning Danny Boyle, is inviting the public to apply for 10,000 vacancies to participate in his opening spectacle alongside "the biggest names in British showbusiness".
The Royal Mail will issue a commemorative stamp for each British gold medallist, and as Britain is expected to collect its highest number of gold medals in recent years, philatelists are one group likely to be happy with their Olympic experience.
Despite widespread complaints about ticket allocations, Lord Coe is adamant that the Games will prove a popular success. He said: "We have had a world record-breaking demand, more than for any sporting event on the planet. There is tangible support out there; we have an extraordinary platform to build off. There is lots to do but we have higher levels of support than any other city one year out."
Run-up to the Games
16-21 August First test event in the Olympic Park takes place.
9 September Paralympic tickets on sale.
October Volunteers find out whether they have been chosen to be Games Makers.
December 1.3 million tickets are made available. Torchbearers announced.
February Team GB begin naming athletes on a sport-by-sport basis.
4-7 May First test event in the Olympic Stadium takes place.
19 May Torch relay begins.
16 July First athletes enter Olympic Village.
25 July Women's football preliminaries take place.
27 July Opening ceremony (plus archery at Lord's).
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