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Two years (and 11 days) to go

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Roger Mosey | 10:16 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

How does one of the biggest building sites in the world show that it'll be soon be ready to stage the biggest global sport event?

That challenge is facing the organisers of the London Olympics as we head for yet another major milestone: the "Two Years To Go" mark on 27 July.

Now that South Africa's World Cup is just a memory, it's London that will be moving to centre stage - and we're about to have a test of that readiness, and our most detailed look so far at the construction work.

London Olympic Park as of 17 June 2010
The London Olympic Park promises a legacy of regeneration for East London

On the 27th, the Olympic organisers are going to show that some of the venues are close to usable - within the rather obvious limitations of much of the Park infrastructure not being ready and a few thousand site workers still being hard at it with many months of labour still to come. But the aim is that we'll see some top athletes in action in the 2012 arenas with highlights including a bike whizzing round the track at the Velodrome - and the first sprint on a track within the main stadium. Indeed, we can confirm that the man performing there will be Michael Johnson - the gold medal hero of the Atlanta Games and BBC Sport's top athletics pundit.

The range of what's being planned means the BBC will be offering extensive coverage through the day of the 27th.

Many of our TV and radio shows will be live from the Olympic Park, and there'll be a special programme on BBC One at 2.15 in the afternoon with Sophie Raworth and Jake Humphrey reporting live on the inaugural event in the stadium and reflecting all the activity going on.

As a further sign that our own preparations are bowling along, we have two major launches ourselves that day. We'll be revealing the new BBC London 2012 website - which will bring together all the information about 2012 in one place, so covering not just sport but also news and culture and events. And World Olympic Dreams will go live as part of that site, along with the start of its appearances on BBC News programmes in the UK and across the globe. I've seen some of the films and I think you'll like them: there are some extraordinary tales about to be told.

So "Two Years To Go" should have a lot to offer. Our first live outside broadcast of sport from the Olympic Park, and - if all goes well - the chance for the organisers to show that the seven-year journey from Singapore to London is close to entering its most critical stage.

Amid the adrenalin and excitement, there are still plenty of sceptics to be won over; and the battle for the hearts and minds of the British public is part of what will be played out in Stratford on the 27th.


  • Comment number 1.

    2 years to go and already LOCOG are showing how well advanced they are in terms of construction. Alot of people said when London was awarded the Olympics that the Brits couldn´t organise a "drunken party" in a brewery (I left out the swear word so as not to offend) yet here we are mid 2010 and already the stadiums and venues can be partially used.

    I look at the Webcams every week and am stunned at the rapid changes.

    Well done LOCOG and well done to the BBC for giving us a dedicated site well in advance of the games starting.

    The countdown to 2012 starts on the 27th, I can´t wait!

  • Comment number 2.

    Interesting stuff, hope it all goes smoothly on the day! I'm going on a tour of the Olympic Park tomorrow, so it'll be nice to see in the flesh all the venues with two years and ten days to go, and then see all the activity on the 27th

  • Comment number 3.

    It's all starting to become real now and I am getting excited about it - god knows what I'll be like in 2 years time LOL!

    I was looking at pictures of the site earlier in the week and the stadiums did look very well advanced - the main stadium almost looked like it just needed the seats fitted and the Track & Field laid. It was also a pleasant surprise to see some greenery nearby too. I remember seeing the Athens Olympic Park on TV & whilst the stadiums all looked fine, the park itself looked bare & bland as if they had only just made the cake but no time to ice & decorate it.

    I think the public are gradually being won over with the progress of construction and hopefully more will be won over in the next 2 years, although there are some cynics who will never be won over.

  • Comment number 4.

    I hope that the questions arising about how London can potentially live up to the magnificent Beijing Olympics can be answered.

    Be it if London wants to try and top that (which I'm sure it will) or whether London just wants to do its own thing and focus on its own successes without wanting to be compared to the previous Olympics.

    I for one will be looking forward to not only this forthcoming 'Two Years To Go' event, but the actual event itself.

  • Comment number 5.

    I get the strong impression that the construction works are broadly on track and that the actual organisation of the Games is also well under control. Hopefully all this detailed planning, commissioning and organising will not be lost on those who decide on the hosts for the 2018 World Cup tournament?

    What I don't see conveyed quite so clearly is the laying down on long term transformations in grass roots sport and elite performance outside our core strengths, which may well be happening but isn't perhaps being reported clearly.

    I happened to sit on a train from St Pancras to Sheffield in 2008 talking with someone who worked at the Institute for Sport who had just returned from a trip to Beijing. They were sure that 2012 itself would be huge and successful but there were clear doubts in their minds about legacy. It's time to be honest and, if necessary, brutal, at this time to ensure that this isn't another grand scheme which fizzles out. I don't think it will, but it's certainly a risk.

    The key question which must be answered is this: 'what's in this for 50 million Britons?' It's clear what's in it for elite athletes, sports administrators and politicians.

    If the targets for the former are set correctly, then I think the hearts and minds issues should be sorted within 12 months.

    If not, challenges will continue.....

  • Comment number 6.

    Rjaggar - I think you're asking the right questions.

    Nice to read the other positive comments, too: thanks.

  • Comment number 7.

    Britinspain2010 - it was never in doubt IMO, and if the wider media could see beyond the Wembley fiasco it would never have been an issue either. The Commonwealth Games, Millennium Stadium and dozens of new football stadia up and down the country were bought in on time and on (a sometimes revised!) budget.

    The fiasco at Wembley was an exception, not the norm, but then again the FA were in charge of that, so no surprise.

    I take is as Sophie Raworth is involved the special will be a BBC News production - complete with unnecessary strip covering half the picture! BBC Sport should be in charge of such programmes, with BBC Sport presenters (who actually care about the Olympics!) and most importantly - a full screen picture! Although BBC Sport does now have this annoying habit of sticking a "LIVE" banner on coverage every few minutes even though anyone watching Wimbledon will be fully aware that it's at Wimbledon for example.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes, Brekkie - it will be a BBC News production because they're doing all the coverage through the day (and BBC Sport will be on air in the morning and evening with the European Athletics Championships).

    But I can assure you BBC News presenters, including Sophie, certainly care about the Olympics; and apart from the news coverage of the events of 2012, they'll be heavily involved in things like the Torch Relay.

    By the way, I confess: BBC Sport's 'live' bug was something I was keen on when I was working there. It's particularly relevant for multisport events where some may be recorded and some live, and for when transmissions are over-running so new viewers know where we are. But I also think it's part of creating the atmosphere of big events to identify that they're live from sometimes far-flung locations.

  • Comment number 9.

    I once watched a short TV programme about the London sports center which is built for Olympic games.The local residents in the programme concerned on the side-effect of this.the engineer said that shortage of financial funds was very serious.In Beijing the nest and water cube become the symbal of nation power.I hope London to create another builing legend in Olympic history.

  • Comment number 10.

    The live bug is only a minor irritation to be fair - I just hate it when it states the bloody obvious.

    One thing which annoys me more though - and actually something we didn't see this year due to two weeks of sunshine, but the insistence on putting a big "R" on recorded Wimbledon games. In most cases you'd be showing a match not screened previously on BBC1/2 (unless you go for the easy option and repeat the last Murray match), and think that viewers can be informed it's recorded with an occasional pop-up mentioning the rain delay rather than a big green blob in the corner. (Anyhow, that complain is about a year out of date and probably not going to be as much of an issue in the future now the roof is in place!)

    I just hope then the BBC1 broadcast of these events at least are without the unnecessary unscreen junk telling us what we're watching.

  • Comment number 11.

    Fanyun in #9 - there was an interesting piece about the Olympic Park by Kevin McCloud in the Saturday Telegraph magazine. Link here:

  • Comment number 12.

    this a long way to surpass the last BEIJING OLYMPICS GAMES.because chinese people are so brave that they are conquering any difficulties. when the torch arrived the city ,from old grandfather to little kids watched the live broadcasting .when severe earthquake happened , the Olympics activities even stopped and the reporterS in china center TV arrived at spot to monitor the resure situation.why not this country hold so perfect games. the chairman of this international institution proclaim in my college english test reading material that he hope another city such as shaihang to hold another OLYMPIC Games.

  • Comment number 13.

    Look how excited the kids of London and the South East are getting about this. Nothing like the youngsters of the Midlands, North, West. There's simply no interest further afield. It was always going to be something hogged by the metropole and the Home Counties


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