UK

London 2012: Seb Coe looks at the challenges ahead

  • 27 July 2011
  • From the section UK

With one year to go until the Olympic Games open in London, organisers are confident that their preparations are on track and they will be ready to welcome the world's athletes next summer.

Seb Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, outlines the challenges over the next 12 months.

Just over six years ago, the President of the IOC announced that London had won the bid to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

We are now just one year away from the opening ceremony. Between that moment in Singapore in 2005 and today, there have been, I'm pleased to say, many more highs than lows but above all, an incredible amount has been achieved.

The skyline of east London has forever been transformed, with the Olympic Park now 88% constructed by the Olympic Delivery Authority.

State-of-the-art sporting facilities stand proud against the backdrop of what will be a superb urban park. All this has been possible thanks to the creativity and expertise of companies from all around the UK.

Steel for the stadium from Bolton, seats from Luton, turf grown in Scunthorpe this "made in Britain" theme is repeated across the park. At a time when the economy has been challenging, this project has been a lifeline to many companies and has safeguarded jobs.

So what next? In exactly 12 months time we will be ready - we have to be, this is the mother of immoveable deadlines. But there is much to be done.

We have already started the process of testing our venues and our technology.

The "London Prepares" series of events will bring together more than 8,000 athletes from all over the world for 42 events at 26 venues.

Over the next 12 months we take the newly constructed venues and turn them into Olympic or Paralympic sporting theatres, from laying tracks to installing scoreboards.

We have to build temporary venues, including an Equestrian venue in London's iconic Greenwich Park and a Beach Volleyball stadium in Horse Guards Parade in the heart of central London. And then we have to take existing facilities like ExCeL and create five venues within it.

'Most spectacular Games'

If I add to that interviewing and recruiting up to 70,000 volunteers, preparing to serve 14 million meals, installing catering, retail and toilet facilities plus much more beyond. There is much to be done.

Around 15,000 athletes from over 200 countries will compete at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Each one of them will be working to incredibly detailed training schedules, aiming to peak at just the right time.

We are working on a similar basis, aiming to pace ourselves to ensure we stage just the most spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer.

It will soon be with us, time will fly - but I guarantee whether you're an athlete, a spectator or watching at home on the BBC, it will be a great summer.

More on this story