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Calm before the storm?

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David Bond | 20:41 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2012

When you consider the white knuckle ride some host cities have given the International Olympic Committee, it's no surprise that Wednesday's Downing Street media conference with International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge and British Prime Minister David Cameron was such a love-in.

At this point before the Athens Games in 2004, there was no roof on the main Olympic stadium in the Greek capital and hardly a ticket had been sold.

London's main venues have all been completed, have sold 4m tickets and have even secured legacy uses for six of the eight arenas on the Olympic Park.

But London's organising committee, Locog, knows there is still a lot of work to be done.

David Cameron

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge (left) tells British Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) at a conference at Downing Street that the preparation for the London Games have provided a "legacy blueprint"  for the future. Photo: Getty   

There are a further 4m tickets still to be sold, including, crucially, 1m tickets for the most sought-after events.

After all the grumbling about the ticketing process so far, Locog cannot afford any more slip-ups.

And while the permanent venues are finished, there is still the huge task of overlaying all the temporary venues, some of which are in some of London's busiest areas.

The beach volleyball stadium at Horse Guard's Parade, the equestrian venue at Greenwich Park, plus the road events and sports in Hyde Park, pose major challenges.

Then there is security. Cameron said he was happy with the plans because they would not be so overbearing that they would spoil the party atmosphere.

All that could change if there is a serious and credible threat against the Games. It is certainly the issue the IOC fears the most.

And while transport plans will be pored over in close detail by the final IOC co-ordination commission this week, there remain serious concerns about how London's transport network will cope, especially on the Friday of the opening ceremony and the first Monday of the Games when work commuters will be tussling with those trying to watch events.

In a slightly critical note, one IOC member told me last week he would like to see a bit more leadership from London on the transport issue.

He felt there was too much public criticism of the IOC over the notorious Olympic lanes and that the Locog leadership and the mayor of London should make a better case of explaining to Londoners why the lanes were coming and the broader benefits of the Games.

In London's defence, anyone who has ridden on the tube recently cannot have failed to spot the 'Get ready for the Games' campaign.

But this particular IOC member felt London could do a bit more.

Finally, the legacy problem continues to pose the biggest challenge.

Rogge said today: "I think it is time to tear up any notion of the Olympics leaving behind white elephants."

That might be a bit hasty given that the Olympic Stadium still has to nail down a long-term deal with West Ham, although this option looks likely.

And on participation legacy, the PM said, rather boldly, that the Olympics will "revitalise local sport in Britain for generations to come".

In a week of "pasty-gate" and questions over cash for access, could that be a comment Cameron comes to regret?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    what has pasty gate or cash for access got to do with a grass roots sports legacy? has bbc sport turned politically biased like its news site?

  • Comment number 2.

    After the way tickets have been allocated with people not getting any and others getting every ticket they asked for, I found myself loseing interest in the Olympics. I tried to apply for football tickets and was told that too many people were trying at the same time and to try again, which I did, with the same result. I have tried more recently and been told that I cannot get through because my details are already being used. There ar still unsold football tickets so, how do I purchase them. If I was abroad it would be easy. I don't feel that they are my Olympics and, I was surprised at how many peopl feel the same. So who cares about a party when you are not invited. STICK IT.

  • Comment number 3.

    @ChrisDavis
    (1) did you see the James Pearce's story about the fan who bought tickets for Dai Greene? http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/17518406 . Read it VERY carefully - Twitter is the place to be. Use the hashtag #olympictickets and you'll find some great & very helpful people. Seriously.

    (2) Football tickets? ON sale RIGHT NOW from the authorised Begium seller Suseia.com or here: https://www.suseia.com/be-en/eshop1 . Take a look. People have bought Gold Medal match tickets this morning. Lots of other pretty decent tickets on sale as well. But be quick.

    (3) As we live in the EU, you can buy from any authorised EU reseller - the list of them is on the tickets.london2012.com (the official site!). Most of my tickets (athletic finals etc) have come from Europe. Easy when you know how.

    (4) The final round of LOCOG tickets will go on sale very soon, mid-April probably before the football draw is made on 24th April - there are 1.5 million football alone left to sell, so you will EASILY be able to get some. If you're not that interested in the really popular stuff like Athletics, swimming, cycling gymnastics, tennis, rowing, horses etc etc, then football will be VERY easy to buy. I bought FB007 (team GB at Old trafford) very very easily back in January when they were on sale.

  • Comment number 4.

    We will have a great Olympic games, seen live only by sponsors , politicians , and the "great" and the "good" . In Manchester we have I believe the biggest park in the country, Heaton park . It has several football pitches. They spent £2 million on a wall around it, but no changing rooms, no showers, no facilities. Most of our schools have sold off their pitches. Yet we have the top two multi-million clubs in the country. Grass roots don't exist anymore.

  • Comment number 5.

    @jonsmithuk

    I'm no sponsor or VIP. I, like may others, was disappointed by the LOCOG ballot last Spring. But immediately after was determined to get the tickets I wanted by any genuine means. I pretty much have what I want now, including Mens 100m Final tickets :-)) - bought legitimately and quite cheaply from an authorised EU reseller.

    Can't wait now.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hurry, tickets going fast over in Belgium: https://www.suseia.com/be-en/eshop1 Still some fantastic football tickets left and plenty other sports. All 100% legitimate as well. What are you waiting for?

 

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