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 325.

    How did the Editor manage to pick 5 positive posts when the other 290 are negative?

  • Comment number 324.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Who benefits? Public investment £9bn, plus untold costs associated with site clearances and relocating businesses. Housing sold off to developers who will cream off a profit after the Games.

    Income £12 bn ? - but where does this go? Why to the private sector who will end up paying a notional amount in income tax. So I see little benefit to the public purse just a great cost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    I'm sure the games will be a huge success for those involved, and I'm also sure that people will profit hugely both in monetary and prestige terms. The problem is, what happens afterwards?

    Will the area revert once again to a wasteland? Probably. Will it be as much of a white elephant as the Millennium Stadium that will take years to unload? I'm sure O2 are immensely please with their venue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    100 days to go ? Time to start stocking up on DVD's to avoid the wall-wall coverage that will surely come.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    297. hectoring
    I'm currently learning Russian Calligraphy as a hobby because I find it interesting.
    Not because someone spent £10 Billion on an event or someone told me to stop moaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    You naive moaners are all just jumping on the 'miserable' bandwagon, as usual and i'm sure you'll find something else to moan about when the Olympics is over. You can't quantify the benefits in terms of morale and improved attitude to sport, plus the improved infrastructure and extra work in the construction and tourism industries that you actually can quantify....tbc

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Ah so you agree that the olympics is a huge waste of money that is just being given away to prop up the hopeless, (in this case the politicians and rich). Glad you came around to a more enlightened way of thinking instead of following like the bleeting sheep you initially appreared to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Not just the cost - its just that its a flagship for London,government,corporate business and not for the rest of us.
    Early hose pipe ban in Glos because Thames Water is protecting its stock for London during the Olympics.
    Olympic torch through the Cotswolds with runners not even from the UK - nothing local to support.
    LETS HOPE IT RAINS ON THE PARADE - at least will benefit the whole country

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    Too many tickets to 'sponsors' who will now rip-off the public by means of competitions!!


    Even more ironic is that so many people who are likely to win the competitions will sell on the tickets were possible, as is the case with most music events/etc...

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    I just wonder how many of the corporate spectator seats, which could have gone to the general public, will be empty during the events because their owners are too busy doing rich and important business things to actually appreciate the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    I understand that the No.1 sponsor, McDonalds, are very disapointed after lobbying hard for the slogan 'Deep Fry The Nation'

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    This olympic bid was made by London (extra council tax being charged) so why should it benefit the North West.
    We're all paying for it, not just the south east, so why shouldn't it benefit the north west. Ah that's right, it's because the south east is where all the politicians and money men like to play. And you wonder why people from outside london generally don't support the games. shesh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    I am pretty sure that it will be a damp squid and will be the subject of vicious press reporting picking up on every negative that can be found. Alas, at such a colossal cost too the country it seems a horrible waste of time and money. My wish is it all passes quickly and without too much negativity for the country - but I doubt it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    I have no problem with hosting the games per se. However the ticketing was a shambles. Genuine fans unable to get tickets, but now there are plenty available as prizes from Coca-Cola (Official drink), McDonalds! (Official food), Castrol GTX!!! (Official goodness knows what)...

    Too many tickets to 'sponsors' who will now rip-off the public by means of competitions!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

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

    These people must work for the Olympic sponsors or LOCOG.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    @241 GillsForever "the 'indirect' benefits of the olympics. All the kids now getting involved in sport, schools and the government taking an interest in promoting sports in young children."

    Kids may be 'getting involved' and government 'taking an interest', but reality is we decided to blow our money on a 3-week party for elite athletes rather than improving sports facilities around the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Lets have a quick wake up call. Has anybody heard of the country Greece? What happened after their huge Olympic Games overspending? Hmm... Bad times. You see we pump all this investment right now, but straight after it we're gonna see a fall in demand burying us into a deeper recession.

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    If we paid £9 billion towards it, and also bought a ticket, then surely we should be able to a/ take our babies with us and b/ not have to eat Macdonald's and drink coke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Was it not only last year that Montreal finished paying for its Games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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