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Events mark one year to Olympics
27 Jul 2011 8:24 BST
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Events are being held in London to mark the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in one year's time.

The Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park in Stratford will be unveiled with Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge will be at an event in Trafalgar Square where the design of the medals will be unveiled.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said the organiser's plans were on schedule.

He said the day was a "big moment" for the London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog).

Lord Coe added that 23 million ticket applications had been made from two million people, which showed the Games had "higher levels of support one year out than any previous city".

'Distant dream'

The opening ceremony of the Games will take place in the Olympic Stadium on the evening of 27 July 2012.

The event in Trafalgar Square will see Mr Rogge invite the world to come to London to celebrate the Games next summer.

The British Mission at the United Nations in New York will hold a one-year-to-go event featuring nine-time Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis and the UN's Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has organised a range of events at nearly 100 of its posts across the world to encourage visitors, businesses, students and sports people to get involved.

And the Royal Mail has announced that it will issue special gold medal stamps to celebrate all Team GB Olympic gold medal wins.

The stamps will feature both individual and team gold medal wins.

'Incredible honour'

With a year to go, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said all six of the main permanent Olympic Park venues ha finished construction.

Costing £269m, the Aquatic Centre was designed by Zaha Hadid with the aim of being the "Gateway to the Games".

Tom Daley, the double Commonwealth gold medallist, said it was an "incredible honour" to be the first person to dive into the pool.

"Only a few years ago, this was a distant dream. The fact that I qualified at the weekend and am taking the first dive is a complete privilege. I can't wait for next year and the honour of representing Team GB," he said.

John Armitt, the chairman of the ODA, said the project had created jobs and training at a critical time for the UK economy with about 40,000 people working on the project to date, and 98% (£6bn) of the building contracts going direct to UK businesses.

He said he reflected "proudly" on what had been achieved.

"The Olympic Park and the surrounding area is today unrecognisable as the site that was handed to us in 2007," he said.

'Lack of capacity'

As the final countdown to the Olympics gets under way, the Metropolitan Police is facing challenges as it gears up for the biggest peacetime security operation in its history.

Two senior police officers, including Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, resigned this month over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, but Lord Coe says the security plans for London are "robust".

"The Met Police are across them in a very detailed way," he said. "They are of course an important part of that. But we also work together with the Home Office and some 19 agencies sorting this out."

The force itself says it is "business as usual" and the Met branch of the Police Federation has said although there is low morale it had more to do with major reform and cuts in police budgets than losing their leader.

On Tuesday, a BBC London survey found that although about 57% of Londoners felt ticket sales for the 2012 Olympics were "not fair", this had not dented their support for the Games.

Of the 1,000 people polled, 73% backed London hosting the Games, with 38% saying they felt "more positive" about the event now than in 2010.

But the survey also found that 52% people felt London's transport system would not be able to cope.

BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards said the main problem on London's network was the lack of capacity.

He said Transport for London (TfL) had admitted that it could take an hour to get on a train at St Pancras station, from where the high-speed Javelin train to Stratford will depart.

TfL needs a 30% drop in commuters to reduce waiting times and it is rolling out a publicity campaign and a series of workshops for businesses. It also wants to encourage commuters to work from home or use different routes.

There are also concerns over the Olympic Road Network, of exclusive lanes which will only be used by officials, athletes, IOC members and accredited media, with taxi drivers saying they should be allowed to use them and are threatening to block them.

Another potential difficulty for TfL is the relationship with the transport unions. Currently, a five-year pay deal with a 4.75% rise in the first year has been turned down by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

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