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Excitement mounting as 2012 appears on horizon

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Roger Mosey | 10:00 UK time, Thursday, 22 December 2011

I got a dusty response from a couple of people a year ago when I wrote about the tasks ahead for the London Olympic organisers and ourselves in 2011.

"I think you should probably save this blog for another 12 months" said Dalgrush; and rjaggar added "18 months is a long time to be obsessing instead of just living life".

Thanks, guys - and I promise I haven't been obsessing.

Actually, looking back I think it set out the 2011 agenda pretty well: tickets, test events, One Year To Go and the Torch Relay announcements.

That doesn't always happen, as other posts reveal. I also reckon the broad point was valid that by now "there needs to be a keen sense of anticipation for 2012 - and the UK should be moving from passive support to active engagement with what's ahead."

That happened with the tickets sale, though not with as unblemished an outcome as the organisers would have liked. It was apparent in One Year To Go when thousands of people turned up in Trafalgar Square and millions of people consumed our coverage.

It's evident too each day in the newspapers and bulletins where Olympic stories are higher in the agenda and more serious in their purpose - from warships on the Thames to the legal battle about whether drug-ban athletes can take part in the Games.

And the polling data suggests tens of millions of people in the UK are now actively looking forward to next year's events.

But 2011 was still about making and announcing plans rather than delivering. It's great for Maltby Le Marsh to know the Olympic Torch will pass through, but we can't count it as a success until the local people have turned out to watch and Locog have organised the Relay smoothly and imaginatively.

Team GB diver Tom Daley marks One Year to go in the Aquatics Centre in July 2011

Team GB diver Tom Daley marks One Year to go in the Aquatics Centre in July 2011. Pic: Getty Images.

Most daunting of all is the challenge during the Olympics themselves - 26 world championships sports, 17 days of action - and global attention on London looking for every triumph and every flaw.

This applies to the BBC too. We're pleased with progress this year: our presenter line-up has been announced, the technical development is reaching its final stage, Sport and News production ideas are firming up and our Culture and entertainment offerings are in good shape.

For instance, our team spent Monday this week laughing a lot at the new series of Twenty Twelve which is even better than the award-winning first run.

For all this, 2011 has been like climbing a hill in the Pennines compared with the Everest of 2012. In the spirit of the season, though, I want to identify the one area which I said would be important in 2011 and which gives a taste of what we can expect in 2012.

That's the test events - and they have, for the most part, been a massive and somewhat unsung success for the organisers.

I've been to three - Handball in the Olympic Park, Beach Volleyball at Horse Guards and the Equestrian at Greenwich. And I was hugely impressed by the way they were staged. Handball showed itself as a fast, athletic sport in a wonderful, noisy London arena - and the people who've got tickets are in for a treat.

The views at Greenwich, and the camera shots we expect to get, are sensational; and the Beach Volleyball was enhanced by the wit of using the Benny Hill theme to get the crowd laughing while the venue assistants were raking the sand. All, of course, against the backdrop of ceremonial London and Downing Street.

At their best these test events demonstrate the harnessing of historic locations and sporting venues with a modern, slightly subversive attitude - including sharp commentary, neatly-chosen music and a sense of humour.

They keep the sport at the centre of things, where it should be, but they're determined to give the crowd a good time too. If you can bottle some of that, it'll be a big part of London 2012 living up to expectations.

But otherwise, with the greatest show on earth about to hit town, this isn't the time to be making predictions.

Back to the Everest comparison, someone said recently that next year was probably going to be like a double black diamond run down a mountain. No stopping, complete exhilaration - but with manifest risks.

Therefore as a new year wish I'm simply going to hope we collectively stay on our feet next year before coming to an elegant and graceful stop - leaving behind a sense of accomplishment, and a belief that it had been worth it.


  • Comment number 1.

    Look forward to 2012, it should be good

  • Comment number 2.

    I'll volunteering in the Main Press Center for the Olympics really looking forward to it like I have been since we announced we were going to bid for the games. I'm glad to see what I predicted was true everyone at first complaining about cost and what not but the time it actually comes around a vast amount of people will be actively engaged with the games.

    First training day is 4th Febuary can't wait.

  • Comment number 3.

    "Excitement"? Sorry, no - as far as sports in 2012 are concerned I'm looking forward to Super Bowl XLVI (February 5), the start of the F1 (Australian GP, March 18) and NASCAR (Daytona 500, Feb. 18) seasons, and the test series against the West Indies and South Africa. The only aspect of the Olympics that affects me is the vast cost to UK taxpayers. Sebastian Coe and the other members of the organizing committee should be personally liable for every penny of the cost exceeding the budget stated at the time when the games were awarded in 2007.

  • Comment number 4.

    "The Beach Volleyball was enhanced by the wit of using the Benny Hill theme to get the crowd laughing while the venue assistants were raking the sand."

    Hilarious, looking forward to going to this event even more now!!

  • Comment number 5.

    So Tanglewood, the 620 million dollars the State Indiana and the City of Indianapolis spent to build the Lucas Oil Stadium that will host next years Superbowl was not a waste of taxpayers money? Wait no because you don't have to pay for it as it's in America and it's sport you like it's fine to spend the money!

  • Comment number 6.

    It really is time people understood the difference between the ODA and LOCOG (seb Coes lot) The ODA have built the infastructure that our taxes have contributed to, finally bringing first class facilities to the Capital (anyone who knows Crystal palace and London lack of pools will Agree). This will transform the nations sports as no longer will athletes have to train in manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham. These facilities in legacy are also 90% for community use, so we can all use them. Now Tanglewood, Seb coes lot LOCOG are entirely funded by sponsors they are putting on the show, you are not paying for the starters pistol or the bunting but all the infastructure. (that is happening all around you every day) The Games are a catalyst for this ti happen better and faster. I'm not saying they have done everything 100% right, but this is a huge project that fundementally has gone well and I for one am really excited about the Games in 2012.

  • Comment number 7.

    @3 Tanglewood

    I feel so so sorry for you. I try to imagine how incredibly awful my life would be if i had the same outlook as you. I truly pity you.

    Put it this way, paying tiny bit less tax each month wont make me properly happy.

    Watching Pendleton, Hoy, Kenny, Idowu, Greene, Farah, England, Miley, Ennis bring back Olympic Gold in front of a home crowd will truly truly make me happy!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Tanglewood - I personally have no interest in either the Superbowl or NASCAR but I appreciate that plenty of other people do, and therefore I don't feel the need to arrogantly barge into chats among these people telling them how pointless their sports are. If you're not interested in the Olympics, fair enough, but please, go somewhere else and mouth off.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks for the comments, and you won't be surprised that I'm with the Olympics fans over the Super Bowl.

    Just one quick response to Fedster in #9 of the previous post, where I was beaten by the comments deadline. The Virgin Media initiative is a version of our promise that we'd have up to 24 streams of Games action on - and this will also be available on connected TVs and Virgin Tivo because it has the BBC iPlayer with delivery via broadband. We'll set out our full strategy for all platforms in the coming months.

  • Comment number 11.

    With so much activity going on before the Olympics there is a lot to look forward to, and I for one am greatly looking forward to the games.

    We have the swimming, cycling and athletics to whet the appetite, especially as some of these events count towards Olympic qualification.

    I do genuinely get excited over the sporting action, just not all the trivial nonsense that seems to go hand in hand with it.

    Nice blog though Roger, very factual.

  • Comment number 12.

    Tanglewood Do not think you are alone in not being excited by the Olympics. Do not be put off having and expressing your opinion on a website you help pay for . The folk who are building in Texas will not recieve any state support before they deliver an event and a profit for themselves and the local businesses. The main stadia(plural) will need an ongoing subsidy is that what legacy is?? Folk who are not impressed by the wildly upward cost of this Olympics /the non coverage of non Olympic sports as the funding has been drained by the junket .
    6. Do you not feel a touch arrogant stating that athletes wont have to go north of Watford to train?? since many of our greats are from the dark satanic north. We have just heard a government report on the North South divide in spending,and now we decide to upgrade London,s infra structure Nation,s games?? hardly .anything other than gushing praise seems to be shouted down . Case of the Emperors new clothes methinks

  • Comment number 13.

    Timepasser, you are taking 6's comments out of context. Crystal palace has always been a nightmare to get to. Further, prior to the olympic building programme, there wasn't a velodrome in London, so the track cycling team were based in Manchester. All reports I have seen indicatethat the cyclists like the Manchester set up.

    The UK as a whole, has for many years lacked suitable olympic stadia, such as 50 meter pools, athletics tracks,and velodromes.

    I think it's great that we are all able to express our views. I do however object to off topic rants about formula one.


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