London 2012: Olympic motto revealed as 100-day countdown begins


Former Olympian Jonathan Edwards: ''The next 100 days will fly by''

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The motto for the London Olympics has been revealed as "Inspire a generation" as events are held to mark the 100-day countdown to the opening ceremony.

London 2012 chairman Seb Coe was at the unveiling of a giant set of Olympic rings, made up of 20,000 flowers, at Kew Gardens in west London.

He said: "Expectations are high and we won't disappoint."

Organisers also said the Red Arrows will perform flypasts across the UK to mark the opening ceremony on 27 July.

The world-famous RAF aerobatic display team will fly in Big Battle formation across Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London to herald the Games, Locog said.

'Inspire the world'

Announcing the motto, Lord Coe said: "It is everything we have been saying since we have started this extraordinary journey.

"It is the heartbeat, the very DNA of this organisation and a rallying cry for the athletes to come to the UK to perform at their very best and inspire the world."

The Red Arrows Organisers revealed the Red Arrows will perform flypasts across the UK on 27 July

He said it was vital organisers put athletes at the centre of the preparations and pledged: "We are going to deliver a fabulous Games for this country and the 200 other nations who'll be welcomed here."

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said he was confident London would meet the expectations of the world.

He said: "Around the world, the excitement is growing and expectations are high but I am confident that Britain and London will deliver a great sporting event and a warm welcome too."

Heaping praise on London's preparations Australia's leading IOC member said he expected London 2012 would surpass Sydney as the best Olympics ever staged.

He said: "The quality of the preparation, the commitment and the professionalism has been outstanding - they are the dream team.

"What makes it different is this is really a truly British Games and that the integration of the national, regional and city operations has put the whole country behind this and given it a huge impetus."

Good value

And triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has said he wanted to "amaze" the world at the Games by running 9.4 seconds in the 100m and 19 seconds in the 200m.

Meanwhile, a BBC Radio 5Live poll found 64% of 2,007 people thought taxpayers had paid too much to cover the Games' costs.

However, 55% said it would prove good value in terms of benefits to the UK.

Some £9.3bn in UK public funding has been set aside to cover the cost of the Games. Many Londoners have been paying an extra £20 contribution in their council tax.

London 2012: Olympic people in numbers

The current budget is almost four times the estimated cost of staging the Games at the time of the bid in 2005.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC: "I think the time to ask people if it's good value for money is after we've had the Olympics and they can see it's been good for the country."

Mr Hunt added: "The economy is on people's minds at the moment and we have yet to see the business benefit."

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

He also announced there would be 22 "live sites" around the country where people would be able to celebrate Olympic action.

There will be seating for people to gather around big screens to watch BBC One's coverage of the best of the action every day of the Olympic Games.

The sites will host entertainment and "have a go" sporting sessions and Olympic and Paralympic athletes and VIPs will make appearances at some locations.

The unveiling of the floral rings at Kew, which can be seen from the Heathrow flightpath, was one of a number of events being held to mark 100 days until the opening ceremony.

Staff took five days to plant up to 20,000 pansies, violas and apple mint which make up the rings spanning 50m (164ft).

Lord Coe also planted an oak tree at the gardens, one of 40 celebrating the UK's role in the birth of the modern Olympics.

They were grown from acorns collected from a tree planted in Much Wenlock in 1890 in honour of Baron Pierre de Coubertin - considered the founder of the modern Olympic Games.

Schoolchildren helped build a giant sandcastle on Weymouth beach to mark the day but it has since been demolished.

Giant sandcastle Schoolchildren helped build a giant 100 days to go sandcastle on Weymouth beach

And on London's Horse Guards Parade, 260 members of the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots and Welsh Guards formed the number 100 in recognition of the day.

Later on Wednesday, cast members from London's West End shows took part in a "Welcome the World" performance in Trafalgar Square.

The stunt was part of a campaign to back the theatre industry amid fears visitor numbers would dwindle during the Games.

Film and theatre producer Stephen Daldry, executive producer for the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies, said: "The most important message today is that we are about to embark on the greatest sporting festival of our lives and also a cultural festival.

"What we are are trying to do here is encourage people, whether they are coming to the stadiums, the live sites or to watch sport on the streets of London, to make sure they come to the theatre as well."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    Will they be the museums funded by the tax payer which show how Britain used to be great when we were a go ahead nation not hamstrung by small people with little vision that want to just give all our money away to prop up the hopeless?

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    Its hard to remain proud when all of this money is wasted on sports day instead of things that really matter; huge numbers of homeless, lack of water storage, under-funded NHS, education...

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    Inspire a Generation to drink Coke and eat McDonald's ?

    Or to spend 9 Billion pounds on a 3 week event - young people need jobs by the way !!!

    You are just teaching children how you know nothing - and they know already !

    Frankly if you paid Usain Bolt to run a couple of times around Crystal Palace it would be BETTER and more HONEST than the Olympics.

    And ... he would probably do it too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    An EXTRA £50 billion would have to be spent in the U.K. for that £9 billion to end up back in public coffers.

    It would have been better for all concerned (except the low paid migrant workers building the facilities) if that £9 billion had been put towards paying off our national debt and the games were held elsewhere.

    Who cares about the olympics? That's right - rich MP's & their rich chums!

  • Comment number 301.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    How much would taxpayers have contributed to a Birmingham or Manchester games - a hell of a lot less methinks!

    Yet another example of hard-working taxpayers all over the UK subsidising London!

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    "Olympic motto revealed as 100-day countdown begins"


    It should be; "Inspire a generation that will be paying for it until the next generation takes over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    @281 - To me it wouldnt matter where it was in the country. The negative rates on my previous comment alone shows exactly what is wrong with the British public.
    People useds to be proud to be British. Im not saying that it isnt too costly, It is a huge amount of money. But id prefer for my taxes to go on this that somebody playing the benifit system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Stop moaning and get involved. If every person did one thing (learn a new sport, do a bit of volunteering, attend an event, organise a party) it would be truly "generation changing". I learnt archery and will be volunteering at the Opening Ceremony. It's not all about cash.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    I have no issues with with the games and the costs. Most money will filter back to tax payers. However I have an issue with wasting millions on all those fringe events that have little to do with the actual games, like planting 25K flowers in Kew Gardens, the torch relay, etc. Olympics should be about sports and nothing but sports.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    Well I'm looking forward to it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    it turns out that the Olympics brought in an economic benefit (crudely defined) of, say £12bn, then surely it would have been a success?
    For London, yes, who else will benefit? Nobody in N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Devon, Cornwall, Northern England, or the Midlands...

    Once more London gets everything. The best thing that could happen to the U.K. is have London sink below the waves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    Im suprised that nobody has mentioned or is commenting on that the current ''net gain'' for the Olympics has so far been an estimated net loss of approx 3.5bn at the taxpayers expense... and that doesnt include the stadiums being unused after, either...

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    Has anyone spent £15 on a "London 2012 official Olympic £5 coin".
    It's a £5 coin in a specially designed commemorative wallet.
    Or the superlative "London 2012 celebration of Britain - Great British icons collection", six silver coins for £550 which does come in a lovely box.
    How can such prices be justified?
    Even a 50 pence piece is £3.

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    London 2012, another Millennium Dome, waste of tax-payers' money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    The whole thing is an exercise in utter futility with little or no lasting benefit to the nation. Within months, venues will be left crumbling and unused. Meanwhile, hospitals and the justice system are starved of cash. I sincerly hope the Olympics are a complete disaster thus proving the whole travesty for what it is. I have zero interest in sport and consider all atheletes to be preening fools.

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    Just a big white elephant-a politicians vanity project, another Millenium Dome, overpriced and of little long term value, especially to most people living outwith Greater London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    270 Like your comment but I think the 'higher, faster, stronger' may apply sequentially to

    Cost of hosting
    Waste of finances
    Links with corporate sponsors

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    This olympic bid was made by London (extra council tax being charged) so why should it benefit the North West. I live in London and cant wait to be a partt of it. I would also fully support the Midlands of the North West if a city in this region where to be hosting the event

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    Weymouth has been chaos for over a yr we had to go down for a funeral it was a mass of road works, had been for some time, no info,plus works sent us around in circles, we tried to go for a meal pm it was all blocked so gave up!! The good thing is that the recycling do not charge for rubble [use it 4 road works] here in Devon the council prefers to charge so it goes to land fill, fly tipping rife


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