Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2012 Olympic Games & Merton

With it being a year to go until London 2012, things are moving apace and with only 366 days left until the opening ceremony it will be frenetic between now and next July. As someone who is passionate about sport, being awarded the Olympics back in 2005 was a dream come true. Yes it had sceptics along with those who thought it would cost too much, be a flop and of that London was incapable of hosting the games. They have all been proven wrong, to date it has run extremely smoothly, construction costs have came in under budget and ahead of schedule. No other games has better prepared at this stage than London 2012 and Seb Coe and all his team have done a fantastic job.

Of course the press have been looking for the negatives, the recent ticket allocation being a case in point and I speak as someone who got no Olympic tickets. Yes I felt the disappointment, but no other games has had this level of demand for tickets which is an amazing feat given that in Athens you could've bought tickets for the 100 metre final four weeks before the games. Hopefully further ticketing opportunities will arise before the games.

In Merton, we are proud to be the host borough for the tennis. Being cabinet member with lead responsibility for the Olympics, I'm aware of the many logistics and preparations that have to be undertaken for the games. As a council we're incredibly well prepared; were also lucky that Wimbledon tennis is the largest outdoor sporting event in the UK each year over a fortnight(except in 2012!) and we know what is required of us a council. However, the Olympics brings new challenges, next year it will follow just three weeks after the conclusion of the championships and many tasks will have to be carried out to make the ground ready to host, with LOCOG moving in straight after the championships. It may sound an easy task, but I can assure you it's a huge challenge.

In terms of promotion, Jonathan Edwards recently raised the flag at the Merton Civic Centre and shortly we'll be having the Cultural Olympiad in Pollards Hill on August 13 which a number of events promoting sport and culture will taking place. We also have Linford Christie, Olympic gold medallist form Barcelona visiting Mitcham in August. In the run up to the games, we'll also see further events take place as the excitement builds towards 2012.

I'm incredibly proud London is hosting the Olympics and despite the many challenges of the next year, I sincerely believe that the 2012 Olympics will be the best ever.

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