Wednesday, July 18, 2012

London Olympics opening cermony trimmed by 30 minutes


THE Olympic Games opening ceremony has been chopped by half an hour amid fears of delays at security checkpoints and stranding crowds and performers late at night.
Several acts have been shortened in the $A41 million extravaganza and one, involving daredevil flaming stunt bikes, has been axed.

Olympics chiefs altered the timetable in the wake of the failure by security firm G4S to provide enough guards — which has forced the Government to call in the Army.

A London 2012 source said: “The show has been cut because of fears that the checkpoints couldn’t cope with the huge rush in and out of the stadium.”

The ceremony, masterminded by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle, is expected to be seen by a worldwide TV audience of one billion people.

It will transform the Olympic Stadium into rolling British countryside, complete with live farmyard animals. 

“It’s not just crowds of fans, athletes and performers G4S and our soldiers will have to cope with — it’s dozens of live animals as well,” the source told London’s The Sun newspaper.

“All will have to be checked and searched before being allowed into the secure area. It’s a huge logistical challenge.” 

Organisers hope cutting the running time down to three hours will help struggling security staff cope with 80,000 fans, 16,000 athletes, 10,000 performers, 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens, three cows, two goats, eight geese and three dogs. 

Boyle and his team were worried that the show — starting at 9pm on Friday, July 27 — would leave the crowd and performers stranded in East London if it went on past midnight. 

Performers arriving at Olympic Park for rehearsals have already faced delays of up to an hour to get in as security staff failed even to cope with a small number of people. 

An actor playing a soldier in one of the segments said yesterday: “The queues on Saturday went way back into the Westfield shopping centre. It was worse than waiting at US immigration on a bad day.

2012 Summer Olympics


The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known informally as London 2012 (for example on the official logo), are scheduled to take place in London, United Kingdom, from 27 July to 12 August 2012.[1]
Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating bids from MoscowNew York City,Madrid and Paris.[2] London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times,[3][4] having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.[5][6]
Construction has involved considerable redevelopment, particularly themed towards sustainability.[7] The main focus of this is a new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London.[8] The Games also make use of many venues which were already in place before the bid.
Games of the XXX Olympiad
London Olympics 2012 logo.svg
This is the clear version of the official logo.
There are four official base colours, and another version for the
2012 Summer Paralympics.
For more details, see section "Logo" below.
Host cityLondonEngland, United Kingdom
MottoInspire a Generation
Nations participating205
Athletes participating10,500 (estimated)
Events302 in 26 sports
Opening ceremony27 July
Closing ceremony12 August
StadiumOlympic Stadium

Bidding process

A London 2012 Olympics banner at The Monument in London.
By the bid submission deadline of 15 July 2003, nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Olympics. These cities were Havana,IstanbulLeipzigLondonMadridMoscowNew York CityParis and Rio de Janeiro.[9]
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said his primary motivation for initiating and lobbying for the city's bid was to develop the east end of London, neglected for over thirty years.[10] On 18 May 2004, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a result of a scored technical evaluation, reduced the number of cities to five: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Paris.[11]
All five cities submitted their candidate files by 19 November 2004, and were visited by the IOC inspection team during February and March 2005. The Paris bid suffered two setbacks during the IOC inspection visit: a number of strikes and demonstrations coinciding with the visits, and a report that one of the key members of the Paris bid team would face charges over alleged corrupt party political finances.[12]
On 6 June 2005, the IOC released its evaluation reports for the five candidate cities. Although these reports did not contain any scores or rankings, the evaluation report for Paris was considered the most positive, followed closely by London, which had narrowed most of the gap observed by the initial evaluation in 2004 regarding Paris. New York and Madrid also received very positive evaluation reports.[13]
Throughout the process, Paris was widely seen as the favourite to win the nomination, particularly as this was its third bid in recent history. Originally London was seen as lagging Paris by a considerable margin; however, the situation began to improve with the appointment of Sebastian Coe as new head of London 2012 on 19 May 2004.[14] In late August 2004, reports predicted a London and Paris tie in the 2012 bid.[15] In the final run-up to the 117th IOC Session, London and Paris appeared to be increasingly in a neck-and-neck race. On 1 July 2005, Jacques Rogge, when asked who the winner would be, told the assembled press: "I cannot predict it since I don't know how the IOC members will vote. But my gut feeling tells me that it will be very close. Perhaps it will come down to a difference of say ten votes, or maybe less".[16]
On 6 July 2005, the final selection was announced at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore. Moscow was the first city to be eliminated, followed by New York and Madrid. The final two cities left in contention were London and Paris. At the end of the fourth round of voting, London won the right to host the 2012 Games with 54 votes, defeating Paris's 50.[17] The celebrations in London were short-lived, being overshadowed by terrorist attacks on London's transport system less than 24 hours after the announcement.[18]
2012 Summer Olympics bidding results
CityNOCRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4
London United Kingdom22273954
Paris France21253350
Madrid Spain203231
New York City United States1916
Moscow Russia15

Development and preparation

Since the 2005 bid

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was created to oversee the staging of the Games after the success of the bid, and held their first board meeting on 3 October 2005.[19] The committee, chaired by Lord Coe, is in charge of implementing and staging the games, while the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is in charge of the construction of the venues and infrastructure.[19] In April 2006 the Olympic Delivery Authority board was established.[20]
The Government Olympic Executive (GOE), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is the lead Government body for coordinating the London 2012 Olympics. The GOE reports through the DCMS Permanent Secretary to the Minister for Sports and the Olympics. It focuses on oversight of the Games, cross-programme programme management and the London 2012 Olympic Legacy before and after the Games that will benefit London and the UK. The organisation is also responsible for the supervision of the £9.3 billion of public sector funding.[21]
In August 2011, security concerns arose surrounding the hosting of the Olympic Games in London[22] due to the 2011 England riots, with a few countries expressing fear over the safety of the Games,[23] in spite of the International Olympic Committee's assurance that the riots will not affect the Games.[24]
The IOC's Coordination Commission for the 2012 Games completed their tenth and final visit to London in March 2012. They concluded that "London is ready to host the world this summer".[25]

Venues and infrastructure

Olympic Stadium in June 2011
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will use a mixture of new venues, existing and historic facilities, and temporary facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade. Some of the new facilities will be reused in their Olympic form, while others will be resized or relocated.[26]
The majority of venues have been divided into three zones within Greater London: the Olympic Zone, the River Zone and the Central Zone. In addition to these are those venues that, by necessity, are outside the boundaries of Greater London, such as the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, which will host the sailing events, some 125 miles (200 km) southwest of London. The football tournament will be staged at several grounds around the UK.[27] Work began on the Park in December 2006, when a sports hall in Eton Manor was pulled down.[28] The athletes' village in Portland was completed in September 2011.[29]
In November 2004 the 500-acre Olympic Park plans were revealed.[30] The plans for the site were approved in September 2004 by Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest.[31] The redevelopment of the area to build the Olympic Park required compulsory purchase orders of property. The London Development Agency was in dispute with London and Continental Railways about the orders in November 2005. The LCR accused the LDA of killing off development in the area. The LDA planned to buy land alongside the Olympic Park for the Stratford City development project, bringing the 180-acre site of the former Stratford Rail Lands into a mixed-use development, including 4,500 new homes, office space, hotels and shops.[32] This resulted in 2011 with the completion of the largest urban shopping centre in Europe being operated by Westfield.[33] By May 2006, 86% of the land had been bought as businesses fought eviction; this led to an enquiry being set up. 206 companies had to relocate by July 2007.[34] In addition, residents who opposed the eviction tried to find way to stop it by setting up campaigns. However they had to leave as 94% of land was bought and the other 6% bought as a £9 billion regeneration project started.[35]
Games Lane signage, prior to the games
However, there were some issues with the original venues not being challenging enough or being financially unviable. For example, the road racing at the Olympic Games was originally scheduled to take place in Regent's Park and on Hampstead Heath. Instead the Olympic road races will start and finish on The Mall in central London, extend into Surrey to the south and include loops around Box Hill.[36] The Olympic mountain bike event will take place at Hadleigh Farm after the event was moved from Weald Country Park,[37] after the UCI labelled the course at the park "too easy" in July 2008.[38] A location in Kent was also considered.[39]
The Olympic marathon course, which was set to finish in the Olympic stadium, was moved to The Mall.[40] The idea angered some members of the local community, who said they had been left out of the Olympics as no events would take place in the boroughs. The change was made as closing Tower Bridge would cause gridlock in central London.[41][42][43] North Greenwich Arena 2 was scrapped in a cost-cutting exercise, Wembley Arena being used for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events instead.[44][45][46][47]

Public transport

The Olympic Javelin service
London's public transport was an element of the bid which was scored poorly in the IOC's initial evaluation; however, they felt that if the improvements were delivered in time for the Games then London would cope.[48] Transport for London (TfL) carried out numerous improvements in preparation for 2012, including the expansion of the London Overground's East London Line, upgrades to the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line,[49] and the introduction of a new "Javelin" high-speed rail service,[50] using the Hitachi Corporation's "bullet" trains.[51] The platforms at Stratford International station (which are at a height designed for Eurostar trains) will be temporarily raised to accommodate the Javelin trains.[52] According to Network Rail, an additional 4,000 train services will run during the Games, and train operators will put on longer trains during the day.[53]
TfL has also built a £25 million cable car across the River Thames, the "Thames Cable Car", to link 2012 Olympics venues.[54] It was inaugurated in June 2012 and crosses the Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, carrying up to 2,500 passengers an hour at a heights above 50 metres in the air. It is designed to cut journey times between the O2 arena and the ExCel exhibition centre– both of which are Olympic locations. The system could provide a crossing every 30 seconds.[55]
The plan is to have 80% of athletes travel less than 20 minutes to their event[56] and to have 93% of athletes within 30 minutes of their event.[57] The Olympic Park would be served by ten separate railway lines with a combined capacity of 240,000 passengers per hour.[58] In addition, the LOCOG planned for 90% of the venues to be served by three or more types of public transport.[57] Two park-and-ride sites were off the M25 with a combined capacity of 12,000 cars 25 minutes away from the Olympic Park. Another park-and-ride site was planned in Ebbsfleet which would have capacity for 9,000 cars where spectators could board a 10-minute shuttle bus.[57] To get spectators to Eton Dorney, four park-and-ride schemes were set up. Spectators would be dropped off at Windsor Racecourse with a bridge going over the Thames linking the racecourse to the rowing venue.[59]
London Underground train decorated to promote London's Olympic bid – this coincided with plans for investment in the city's public transport network
Some lanes on some roads in London will be dedicated to athletes, officials and VIPs.[60][61]
Concerns have been expressed at the logistics of spectators travelling to the events outside London. In particular, the sailing events atPortland are in an area without direct motorway connections, and with local roads that are heavily congested by tourist traffic in the summer.[62] However, the Weymouth area did undergo a major upgrade to its road infrastructure. A £77 million relief road connecting Weymouth to Dorchester was built and opened in 2011.[63][64] Some £16 million was put aside for the rest of the improvements.[65] In addition the plans removed five roundabouts to ease congestion and replaced them with traffic lights.[66][67] But some residents were unhappy that the roundabouts were removed.[68]
FirstGroup will provide the venue shuttle and park-and-ride services, services connecting peripheral park-and-ride sites on the M25 with the Olympic Park and Ebbsfleet, and a nationwide network of express coaches to the Olympic Park and the Weymouth and Portland sailing venue. The services will require around 900 vehicles in total, although some will be sub-contracted.[69][70]

Financing

The costs of mounting the Games are separate from those for building the venues and infrastructure, and redeveloping the land for the Olympic Park. While the Games are privately funded, the venues and Park costs are met largely by public money.
The original budget for the games was £2.4 billion, but this was increased almost fourfold to about £9.3 billion in 2007. The revised figures were announced to the House of Commons on 15 March 2007 by Tessa Jowell. Along with East End regeneration costs, the breakdown was:
  • £5.3 billion to cover building the venues and infrastructure for the Games
  • Elite sport and Paralympic funding of nearly £400 million.
  • Security and policing costs of £600 million
  • Regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley: £1.7 billion
  • Contingency fund of £2.7 billion
  • VAT of £800 million.
Mayor Ken Livingstone pledged the Games Organising Committee would make a profit.[71]
The costs for staging the Games (£2 billion) are funded from the private sector by a combination of sponsorship, merchandising, ticketing and broadcast rights. This budget is raised and managed by the London 2012 Organising Committee. According to Games organisers, the funding for this budget broadly breaks down as:
On 18 August 2007, The Belfast Telegraph reported that jubilation over winning the right to stage the Olympic Games was becoming more muted as realisation dawns on the public of the enormous costs involved in creating facilities for the athletes.[72] Grassroot sport cuts will fund the Olympics, government figures suggested on 19 August 2007.[73]
In November 2007, Edward Leigh MP criticised the organisers for significantly under-estimating the cost of staging the games, suggesting they had either "acted in bad faith or were incompetent".[74]
On 10 December 2007, Tessa Jowell announced confirmation of the budget announced earlier in 2007. In June 2007, the Ministerial Funders' Group (established to manage the allocation of contingency to the ODA within the overall budget) met and agreed a first allocation of contingency to the ODA, being £360 million out of the £500 million of initial contingency announced in March, to enable the ODA to manage early cost pressures.
Following its second meeting on 26 November 2007, the Funders' Group has now agreed a baseline budget and scope proposed by the ODA. The total budgeted base cost to be met by the public sector funding package remains at £6.090 billion including tax and excluding general programme contingency as announced in March. This includes the allocation to the ODA of the remaining £140 million from the initial £500 million contingency announced in March.[75]
There have, however, been concerns over how the Olympics are to be funded. In February 2008, a London Assembly culture and sport committee report expressed concerns over the funding of the games taking away money from London's sports and arts groups.[76] There have also been complaints that funding towards the Olympics has been to the detriment of funding other areas of the UK. In Wales, there has been criticism from Plaid Cymru about the games depriving Wales of money, by using UK-wide funding rather than English funding.[77] The Wales on Sunday newspaper claimed former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair broke his promise to not use National Lottery funding for the Olympic games.[78][79]
As at December 2009, the Delivery Authority had allocated £702 million of Programme and Funders' contingency, largely to cover the decisions to publicly fund the Village andMedia Centre after it became clear private funding could not be secured on acceptable terms during the 2008 to 2010 economic crisis. According to the Government Olympic Executive and Olympic Delivery Authority risk assessments, the remaining £1,270 million contingency is sufficient to manage risks to the Delivery Authority's programme.[80]
Also from May 2010, the Olympic budget will be cut by £27 million as part of the £6.2 billion cuts by the new Conservative-Liberal coalition government.
On 19 July 2011, Hugh Robertson, Sports & Olympic Minister, revealed that he expected the project to be delivered on time and under budget. "With one year to go to London 2012, the Games construction is 88 per cent complete and ahead of time and under budget. That is an extraordinary thing for a Government Minister to be able to say a year out from the Games."[81]
The cost of London 2012 has been studied by Oxford scholars Bent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart.[82] They found that over the past 50 years the most costly Games have been London 2012 (USD14.8 billion), Barcelona 1992 (USD11.4 billion), and Montreal 1976 (USD6 billion). Beijing 2008 may have been more costly than London or not; the Chinese authorities have not released the data that would allow verification of this. Cost here includes only sports-related costs and thus does not include other costs, such as public spending on road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or private costs, such as hotel upgrades or other business investments incurred in preparation of the Games, which are typically substantial but which vary drastically from city to city and are difficult to compare consistently.
Flyvbjerg and Stewart further found that London 2012 has substantial cost overrun, 101 per cent in real terms as of June 2012. This is more than twice the overrun for previous Games over the past decade, which on average were 47 per cent over budget. Thus London 2012 is reversing a positive trend with the Games of falling cost overrun. However, cost overrun for London 2012 is below the historical average for Games over the past 50 years, which is 179 per cent in real terms, according to Flyvbjerg and Stewart.

Partners

To help fund the cost of staging the games the London Olympic organisers have agreed partnership deals with major companies. The companies have signed up into four categories; worldwide, tier one, tier two and tier three.

Volunteers

Unpaid volunteers known as Games Makers[84] will perform a variety of tasks before and during the Games.
A target of 70,000 volunteers was set as early as 2004.[85] When recruitment took place in 2010, over 240,000 applications were received.[86] Sebastian Coe said in February 2012 "Our Games Makers will contribute a total of around eight million volunteer hours during the Games and the Games simply wouldn't happen without them".[87]

Ticketing

Organisers estimate that some 8 million tickets would be available for the Olympic Games, and 1.5 million tickets for the Paralympic Games.[citation needed] It is estimated that 82% of available Olympic tickets and 63% of Paralympic tickets will be sold. LOCOG aims to raise £375–£400 million in ticket sales. There will also be free events: for example, the marathon, triathlon and road cycling,[88] although, for the first time in Olympic history, the sailing events will be ticketed.[89] Tickets for the London Prepares series, the Olympic test events, started to go on sale in May 2011.[90] To reduce congestion, ticket holders are entitled to free use of London's public transport network on the day of the event.[91]
Following IOC rules, people applied for tickets from the NOC of their country of residence. European Union residents were able to apply for tickets in any EU country.[92]
In Great Britain, ticket prices range from £20 for many events to £2,012 for the most expensive seats at the opening ceremony. Free tickets were given to military personnel, and children were invited to win tickets.[93] Free tickets were also given to the survivors and families of those who died during 7 July 2005 London bombings.[94] Initially, people were able to apply for tickets via a website from 15 March 2011 until 26 April 2011. There was a huge demand for tickets, with 1.8 million people applying for 20 million tickets – three times the 6.6 million tickets available in the first round lot, with 95% of the applications from Great Britain. More than 50% of the sessions went to a random ballot.[95][96] Over half the people who applied got no tickets, and the process was widely criticised, one consumer group questioning the point of taking money out of people's bank accounts before they knew which tickets they had successfully purchased,[97] and triple Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins labelling the process a shambles.[98] However, Lord Coe and the LOCOG insisted that the process was fair, and that there was no perfect system.[99]
There was a second round of ticket sales for events that failed to sell out in the initial allocation.[100] This took place over a 10-day period between 23 June and 3 July 2011, with priority given to those who were unsuccessful in the first allocation process. At this point there were about 1.7 million tickets for football and 600,000 for other sports, including archery, hockey, football, judo, boxing and volleyball, among other sports with 1.5 million tickets priced between £20 and £50. Because so many people were buying tickets and because the Ticketmaster website did not update immediately, 15,000 had their application rejected, but 90% of people did get some tickets; some events sold out in 15 minutes, and by 8 am, ten sports had sold out.[101] People who were successful in the first round of tickets were allowed to buy more during the period 8–17 July 2011. By this point 1.5 million tickets were available for football, 40,000 for volleyball and 8,000 for freestyle wrestling on a first-come-first-served basis. However, by 10 July all the tickets for volleyball had been sold, as 3.5 million tickets had been sold in total. Another round of tickets was promised to go on sale in 2012[when?].[102][dated info]
In Russia people bought "Olympic vouchers" which one would have to redeem in London during July and August 2012, with people making their own accommodation and travel arrangements.[103] In Brazil, the ticket website and payment system did not work properly for the first three and a half days.[104] The British government was also asked to explain why it bought 9,000 tickets.[105]
Nearly one million more tickets went on sale starting on 11 May 2012.[106]

Countdown

Countdown clock in Trafalgar Square
During the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympics, the Olympic Flag was formally handed over from the Mayor of Beijing to the Mayor of London. This was followed by a section highlighting London,[107] One month later, the Olympic and Paralympic flags were raised outside the London City Hall[108]
A countdown clock in Trafalgar Square was unveiled, 500 days before the games.[109] The clock broke down the following day. The same location hosted one of a number of events to mark a year before the games.[110] Final countdown to the start of this year's summer games in London has begun with the ceremony of lighting of Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia in Greece.[111]

Security

The security operation is led by the police, with 10,000 officers available, supported by 13,500 members of the armed forcesNaval and air assets, including ships situated in the Thames, Eurofighter jets and surface-to-air missiles, will be deployed as part of the security operation. The cost of security has also increased from £282m to £553m. This will be the biggest security operation Britain has faced for decades. The figure of 13,500 armed forces personnel is more than Britain currently has deployed in Afghanistan.[112] The Metropolitan Police and the Royal Marines carried out security exercises in preparation for the Olympics on 19 January 2012, with 50 marine police officers in rigid inflatables and fast response boats, joined by up to 100 military personnel and a Lynx Navy helicopter.[113]
The Ministry of Defence distributed leaflets to residents of the Lexington building in Bow, announcing that a missile system was to be stationed on top of the water tower.[114][115]This caused concern to some residents.[114][115] The Ministry said it probably would use Starstreak missiles and that site evaluations had taken place, but that no final decision had taken place.[114][115]
It emerged in July 2012 that G4S, the firm responsible for supplying security staff for the Olympics, had been unable to recruit enough, so the shortfall would have to be made up by 3500 UK military servicepeople. There were also media reports that G4S had failed to respond to people applying for jobs as security staff, that recruits were inadequately trained, that some were teenagers, and that some could not speak English well enough.

There have been two London 2012 logos: one for the bidding process created by Kino Design and a second as the brand for the Games themselves. The former is a ribbon with blue, yellow, black, green, and red stripes winding through the text "LONDON 2012," making the shape of the River Thames in East London. The latter, designed by Wolff Olins, was unveiled on 4 June 2007 and cost £400,000.[116] This new logo is a representation of the number 2012, with the Olympic Rings embedded within the zero.[117]
The Paralympics logo (far left) and the different official colour combinations for the Wolff Olins main logo design
This will be the first time that the same essential logo is to be used for both the Olympic and Paralympic games.[118]
The standard colours are green, magenta, orange and blue; however, the logo has incorporated a variety of colours, including the Union Flag to promote the handover ceremony.[119]The flexibility of the logo has enabled sponsors to incorporate their corporate colours into a personalised version, such as Lloyds TSB,[120] British Airways,[121] and Adidas.[122]
London 2012 has stated that the new logo is aimed at reaching young people. Sebastian Coe stated that it builds upon everything that the organising committee has said "about reaching out and engaging young people, which is where our challenge is over the next five years." One observer, a managing director of an advertising agency, noted that the logo bore a strong resemblance to the logo for the 1974–1982 children's television programme Tiswas, commenting that appealing to young people is difficult, and that they will see right through attempts to patronise them.[123]
Early public reaction to the logo, as measured by a poll on the BBC website, was largely negative: more than 80% of votes gave the logo the lowest possible rating.[124] Several newspapers have run their own logo competitions, displaying alternative submissions from their readers. The Sun displayed a design by a macaque monkey.[125] It was suggested that the logo resembles the cartoon character Lisa Simpson performing fellatio[126] and others have complained that it looks like a distorted Swastika.[127] In February 2011, Irancomplained that the logo appeared to spell out the word "Zion" and threatened to boycott the Olympics.[128] Iran submitted its complaint to the International Olympic Committee, describing the logo as racist, asking that it be withdrawn and the designers be confronted. The IOC quietly rejected the demands, and Iran announced it would not boycott the Games.[129]
A segment of animated footage released at the same time as the logo was reported to trigger seizures in a small number of people with photosensitive epilepsy. The charityEpilepsy Action received telephone calls from people who claimed to have had seizures after watching the sequence on TV. In response, a short segment was removed from the London 2012 website.[130] Ken Livingstone, then London Mayor, said that the company who designed the film should not be paid for what he called a "catastrophic mistake."[131]
A blogger at the BBC said that "London 2012's new logo has got the country talking [although] not in the manner the organisers would have hoped."[132] One employee at a design firm described it as "well thought out" and anticipated it would "become a source of pride for London and the Games."[133]

Mascots

The official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were unveiled on 19 May 2010;[134] this marks the second time (after Vancouver) that both Olympic and Paralympic mascots were unveiled at the same time. Wenlock and Mandeville are animations depicting two drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton.[134] They are named Wenlock, after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, which held a forerunner of the current Olympic Games, and Mandeville, after Stoke Mandeville, a village in Buckinghamshire where a forerunner to the Paralympic Games were first held.[134] The writer Michael Morpurgo wrote the story concept to the mascots, and an animation was produced;[135] it is intended that this will form part of an ongoing series concerning the mascots in the run-up to the Games in 2012.[134] Two stories have been created about the mascots: Out Of A Rainbow, the story of how Wenlock and Mandeville came to be, and Adventures On A Rainbow, which features the children from Out Of A Rainbow meeting the mascots and trying out many different Olympic and Paralympic sports.[136]

Medals

Front and reverse view of the 2012 Summer Olympics gold medal
Approximately 4,700[137] Olympic and Paralympic medals have been produced by the Royal Mint.[138] They were designed by David Watkins (Olympics) and Lin Cheung (Paralympics).[139] Each medal weighs 375–400g, has a diameter of 85mm and is 7mm thick, with the sport and discipline engraved on the rim.[140] The obverse, as is traditional, features Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, stepping from the Parthenon; the reverse features the Games logo, the River Thames, and a series of lines representing "the energy of athletes and a sense of pulling together".[141] The medals were transferred to the Tower of London vaults on 2 July 2012 for storage.[140]

Test events

Many test events will be held throughout 2011 and 2012, either through an existing championship such as 2012 Wimbledon Championships or as a specially created event held under the banner of London Prepares. Some events are closed to the public, others are ticketed. Basketball and BMX were the first events to be tested within the Olympic Park.[142]

Torch relay

Olympic torch crossing Monnow Bridge, Monmouth.ogv
The torch relay crossing Monnow Bridge,Monmouth, Wales
The Olympics torch relay runs from 19 May to 27 July 2012, before the games. Plans for the relay were developed in 2010–11, with the torch-bearer selection process announced on 18 May 2011.[143] The Olympic Flame arrived on flight BA2012 on 18 May 2012 from Greece.[144] The relay will last 70 days, with 66 evening celebrations and six island visits, involving about 8,000 people carrying the torch a distance of about 8,000 miles (12,800 km), starting from Land's End in Cornwall.[145] The torch had one day outside of the United Kingdom when it visited Dublin on 6 June.[146] The relay is focusing on National Heritage Sites, locations and venues with sporting significance, key sporting events, schools registered with the Get Set School Network, green spaces and biodiversity, Live Sites (city locations with large screens), festivals and other events.[147]

Opening ceremony

The Opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held on 27 July 2012 and be called "The Isles of Wonder".[148] Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle will be the artistic director for the opening ceremony and the music directors will be Rick Smith and Karl Hyde of the electronic music duo Underworld.[149]
The games will be officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[150] A short film starring Daniel Craig as secret agent James Bond will be screened during the television coverage of the ceremony.[151] Sir Paul McCartney has announced he will perform at the end of the ceremony.[152]

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics will start on 12 August 2012. The ceremony will include a handover by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, to Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the host city of 2016 Summer Olympics.[153]

The Games

Participants

Athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are expected to participate. The Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee, which had planned to continue functioning after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, had its membership withdrawn by the IOC Executive Committee at the IOC session of June 2011. However, Dutch Antillean athletes who qualify for the 2012 Olympics will be allowed to participate independently under the Olympic flag.[154]

Sports

The 2012 Summer Olympic programme features 26 sports and a total of 39 disciplines:
  • Canoeing
    • Sprint (12)
    • Slalom (4)
  • Cycling
    • BMX (2)
    • Mountain biking (2)
    • Road (4)
    • Track (10)
  • Equestrian
    • Dressage (2)
    • Eventing (2)
    • Jumping (2)
For the first time, women's boxing is included in the programme, with 36 athletes competing in three different weight classes. There is a special dispensation to allow the various shooting events to go ahead, which would otherwise be illegal under UK gun law.
London's bid featured 28 sports, in line with other recent Summer Olympics, but the IOC voted to drop baseball and softball from the 2012 Games two days after it selected London as the host city. The IOC reinforced its decision to drop both sports during the 2006 Winter Olympics, after they lost votes for reconsideration, and were last scheduled for a Games at the 2008 Olympics.[294] Following the decision to drop the two sports, the IOC held a vote on whether or not to replace them. The sports considered were karatesquashgolf,roller sports and rugby sevens. Karate and squash were the two final nominees, but neither received enough votes to reach the required two-thirds majority.[294]
Even though formal demonstration sports were eliminated following the 1992 Summer Olympics,[295] special tournaments for non-Olympic sports can be run during the games, such as the Wushu tournament at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[296] There were attempts to run Twenty20 cricket,[296] and Netball[297] tournaments parallel with the 2012 games, but neither campaign was successful.

Calendar

The final official schedule was released on 15 February 2011.[298]
OCOpening ceremonyEvent competitions1Event finalsCCClosing ceremony
July / August25
Wed
26
Thu
27
Fri
28
Sat
29
Sun
30
Mon
31
Tue
1
Wed
2
Thu
3
Fri
4
Sat
5
Sun
6
Mon
7
Tue
8
Wed
9
Thu
10
Fri
11
Sat
12
Sun
Events
 CeremoniesOCCC
 Archery11114
 Athletics257544568147
 Badminton1225
 Basketball112
 Boxing35513
 Canoeing11244416
 Cycling11222111321118
 Diving111111118
 Equestrian21126
 Fencing11112111110
 Field hockey112
 Football112
 Gymnastics1111113341118
 Handball112
 Judo222222214
 Modern pentathlon112
 Rowing334414
 Sailing222111110
 Shooting221111221215
 Swimming444444441134
 Synchronized swimming112
 Table tennis11114
 Taekwondo22228
 Tennis235
 Triathlon112
 Volleyball11114
 Water polo112
 Weightlifting122222111115
 Wrestling2322223218
Total events12141215201822252318211722163215302
Cumulative total122638537391113138161179200217239255287302
July / August25
Wed
26
Thu
27
Fri
28
Sat
29
Sun
30
Mon
31
Tue
1
Wed
2
Thu
3
Fri
4
Sat
5
Sun
6
Mon
7
Tue
8
Wed
9
Thu
10
Fri
11
Sat
12
Sun
Events

Broadcasting

The International Broadcast Centre in June 2011
The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the tenth Olympic Games (counting both Summer and Winter Games) where Panasonic's digital technologies will be used as the official recording format, dating since the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. The official international video will be produced and distributed from the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in London Olympic Park, in 1080/50i High-Definition (HD) format.[299] Panasonic announced that DVCPRO HD will be the official recording format for capturing the Games.Olympic Broadcasting Services London (OBSL), the Host Broadcaster, will use P2 HD series equipment to support the broadcast of the competition. The cameras that will be used are the AG-HPX250, the company’s first P2 HD handheld camcorder with AVC-Intra recording and two new AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders, the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130, with Full HD imagers and a new, wider 21X HD zoom lens.[300]
According to the IOC's claim to providing over-the-air television coverage to as broad a worldwide audience as possible, London 2012 is scheduled to be broadcast by a number of regional broadcasters. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the host broadcaster for the Olympics and Channel 4 the host broadcaster for the Paralympics. The BBC aims to broadcast by various channels all 5,000 hours of the Olympic Games.[301] Much of the actual broadcasting is originated by the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). The United States television rights currently owned by NBC account for over half the rights revenue for the IOC.[book 1] Many television broadcasters granted rights to the games have bureaux and studios in London, but since at least the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, rights-holder operations are hosted in the dedicated International Broadcast Centre (IBC). London's IBC is planned to be inside the security cordon of the Olympic Park.
YouTube will live stream the games to countries all over the world as part of an IOC deal, which will also be viewable on YouTube's mobile and Xbox Live applications.[302][303]
The EBU will broadcast the Games live on Eurovision Sports, a website where people can watch their country's own broadcast when they are not in it (for example, a Dutchman can't watch his own broadcast on the website if he is in the Netherlands) or they can watch one of the twelve different live feeds in HD.

Environmental policy

The Olympic Park will incorporate 45 hectares of wildlife habitat, with a total of 525 bird boxes, and 150 bat boxes. Local waterways and riverbanks are to be enhanced as part of the process.[304]
Renewable energy will also feature at the Olympics. It was originally planned to provide 20% of the energy for the Olympic Park and Village from renewable technologies; however, this may now be as little as 9%.[305] Proposals to meet the original target included large-scale on-site wind turbines and hydroelectric generators in the River Thames. However, these plans were scrapped for safety reasons.[306] The focus has since moved to installing solar panels on some buildings, and providing the opportunity to recover energy from waste.
Food packaging at the Olympics will be made from compostable materials – like starch and cellulose-based bioplastics – where it cannot be re-used or re-cycled. This will include fast food wrappers, sandwich boxes and drink cartons. After they have been used many of these materials will be suitable for anaerobic digestion (AD), allowing them to be made into renewable energy.[307]

Tourism and the 2012 Games

The 2012 Games park near Stratford is attracting new tourists to the area.[308] The upgraded Greenway cycle and walking path provides an ideal viewing point for the park while the site remains closed to the public.
In 2011, a new initiative to bring tourists and visitors into the area will involve a public waterbus "hop-on hop-off" route, from Limehouse Basin to waterways near the Olympic Park.[309]

Cultural Olympiad

The Olympic Charter, the set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games and for governing the Olympic Movement, states that
"The OCOG shall organise a programme of cultural events which must cover at least the entire period during which the Olympic Village is open."[310]
The Cultural Olympiad comprises many programs with over 500 events spread over four years over the whole of the United Kingdom, and culminating in the London 2012 Festival.[311][312]

Marketing

The official 2012 Olympics book
A portable shop at VISA FIVB Beach Volleyball International (2011)

Merchandise

On 21 July 2009 the LOCOG announced that Hornby had won the license to develop and market a range associated with the Games. The license allowed the company to sell products across its CorgiHornbyScalextric and Airfix brands. Airfix will have model kits for all of the main venues,[313] including a 1:500 scale Olympic Stadium.[314] The centre-piece of the Scalextric collection will be a cycling Velodrome set.[313] The collection was launched by British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead in Hamleys toy store in June 2011.[315] In March 2011 the LOCOG commissioned and published a series of training guides.[316] The merchandise was sold online and in five shops known as "The London 2012 Shop" in London Heathrow AirportLondon Stansted AirportSt Pancras International StationPaddington Station and in John Lewis on Oxford Street. In addition Adidas sold its London 2012 range in its flagship store on Oxford Street and selected Next stores sold their 2012 range.[317] Sainsburys as official sponsors of the Paralympics also sold merchandise within their stores.[318] As with other Olympics since 1952, the Royal Mint will strike a set of commemorative one-kilogram gold and silver coins.[319] The striking of such large coins necessitated a new Act of Parliament, the Coinage (Measurement) Act 2011.

Official song

"Survival", a single released by the English band Muse, will be the official song of the Olympics.[320] It will be broadcast when the athletes enter the stadium and in the period before medal ceremonies; international broadcasters will also be playing it while reporting on the Games.[321]

Stamps

In August 2009 the Royal Mail commissoned artists and illustrators to create 30 stamps which were released in batches of 10 during 2009 to 2011. The 30 stamps symbolise that the Games take place during the 30th Olympiad. Each stamp featured an Olympic or Paralympic sport and in addition carried the London 2012 logo.[322] The Royal Mail had initially approached photographers to be included as well but this was abandoned as the photos would have to be of dead people as the only living person allowed to feature on stamps in the United Kingdom is the Queen.[323] Stamps with an Olympic theme go back to the very first games in Athens in 1890 when the organisers commissioned the sale of stamps in order to balance the books and construct the last four venues. When London first held the Games in 1908 no stamps were commissioned. That occasion and 1912 are the only times when stamps were not issued. When London last held the Games in 1948, just four stamps were issued.[324] On 22 July 2011 the last of the 30 stamps were released.[325]

Coins

Two £5 coins have been made to mark London 2012 Olympics. Saiman Miah, a British Bangladeshi architecture student has designed the coins.[326][327]

Chariots of Fire

The 1981 Best Picture Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, which depicts Britain's athletics successes in the 1924 Olympics, is also a recurring theme in promotions for the 2012 London Olympics. The film's theme tune was featured at the opening of the 2012 London New Year's fireworks celebrating the Olympics,[328] and the film's iconic beach-running scene and theme tune are utilized in The Sun's "Let's Make It Great, Britain" Olympic ads.[329] The five thousand runners who first tested the new Olympic Park were also spurred on by the Chariots of Fire theme tune.[330]
As an official part of the London 2012 Festival celebrations, a new digitally re-mastered version of Chariots of Fire will screen in over 100 cinemas throughout the UK. The re-release will begin 13 July 2012, two weeks before the Olympic opening ceremony.[331] A 2012 stage adaptation of the same title also coincides with the Olympics, opening 9 May at London's Hampstead Theatre and transferring to the West End on 23 June.[332]

Controversies

In addition to the budget, ticketing, security and logo, the games produced several other controversies:

Dow Chemical's sponsorship

The IOC and LOCOG have drawn criticism for accepting Dow Chemical Company as a partner for the London Games.[333] Human Rights activists have been campaigning to get Dow Chemicals to clean up the contamination in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, where gas leak at a Union Carbide plant in 1984 killed 2,259 people. In an email response in March 2012, LOCOG refused to withdraw Dow as a sponsor and stated "Dow is an industry leader in terms of operating with the highest standards of ethics and sustainability... [it] has received several awards and accolades in this regard over the last few years."[333] Dow said it was surprised by the controversy because Dow never had a plant in Bhopal, and did not acquire any of the connection with Bhopal. Dow acquired Union Carbide in 2001, 12 years after Union Carbide had settled with the Government of India and Bhopal victims.[334]

Housing

In February 2012, the housing charity Shelter alleged reports of landlords in east London raising rents or writing clauses into new rental contracts so tenants must be away during the Olympics, but as of 2 February 2012 the Department of Communities and Local Government said it had no evidence of the practice.[335] However, an 8 May news report by the BBC noted that Shelter had seen "more evidence of landlords acting unscrupulously and evicting people illegally. One estate agent said properties typically rented for £350 per week were being marketed for £6,000 per week." The BBC report noted that, "The potential profits are leading to some private landlords telling their tenants they have to leave their homes, with little notice."[336]

Campaign to ban Prince Nasser of Bahrain

In June 2012, the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) urged British authorities to ban the president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee,Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa from entering the UK during the games due to allegations of torture against him.[337] Prince Nasser is the son of Bahrain's King Hamad and the commander of the Royal Guard. The ECCHR claimed that Prince Nasser launched "a punitive campaign to repress Bahraini athletes who had demonstrated their support (for) the peaceful pro-democracy movement". It said that, following his directive, "more than 150 professional athletes, coaches and referees were subjected to arbitrary arrests, night raids, detention, abuse and torture by electric cables and other means".[337] The call to ban Prince Nasser from entering the UK was supported by global activist group Avaaz,[338] and British Member of Parliament George Galloway, who warned that he would attempt to make a citizen's arrest of the prince if he comes to London.[339]

IOC's policy with athletes' use of social media

The IOC has drawn criticism from Sweden and Denmark[340][341] for its social media guidelines, which, those commentators argue, appear to infringe athletes' right to free speech. The guidelines appear to prohibit athletes from commenting on other participants, promoting their own sponsors, or using the word "Olympic" in URLs or to refer to third parties. Further criticism[by whom?] has been levelled at the IOC's creation of a website intended to allow the reporting of suspected breaches of the guidelines.[citation needed][original research?]

Argentine Olympic advert

On 2 May 2012, the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Argentine ship General Belgrano,[342] Argentina released an advertising film depicting the captain of Argentina's hockey teamFernando Zylberberg, training in Port StanleyFalkland Islands, under the slogan "To compete on British soil, we train on Argentine soil."[343] The film was criticised by the UK Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, as "tasteless",[344] while the IOC denounced the ad, saying "the games should not be part of a political platform."[345] Following this criticism, Argentine Olympic Committee head Gerardo Werthein criticised the ad, stating that the Olympic Games cannot be used to make "political gestures".[346] Zylberberg was subsequently dropped from the Argentine Hockey squad which will take part in the 2012 Games.