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 725.

    Kew gardens deserve a pat on the back for using the true symbol of the Olympic moverment - the five rings - and not using that dreadful 2012 logo as Royal Mail did on its special stamps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 724.

    As a public sector worker living in the North of England there is absolutley no way on earth I and my family could ever afford tickets (never mind accomadation) to this complete waste of my taxes. Its once again another example of greedy southerns making the North pay for their high life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 723.

    We're in the midlands and are very excited about the Olympics. We got some tickets (none in 1st ballot and none of our first choices). We should do well as a nation and our sports fanatisism will shine through. It is costing a lot but coming in on time and in budget - plenty of money is squandered in this country with chance of legacy. So easy to mock, a dire character of so many in this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 722.

    See this is why I don't really care for the Olympics. This country is in a mess can we really afford to host the games? Taxpayer's money going to this. Once the Olympics have finished, all those jobs involving this event will be gone.

    Really though, this country is in a mess, can we really afford to host this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 721.

    Good on the Olympic Committee & good luck Team GB!!

    The anti brigade might be loud, but ultimately all they produce is just an outpouring of spite & resentment.

    Luckily 99% of the UK population support the games & are looking forward to enjoying a world class festival of sport.

  • rate this

    Comment number 720.

    Nearly every discussion here is peppered with comments on the rich , big business etc its depressing . The cost of the games is less than half beijing but could have been a lot cheaper and all the spend was committed 7 years ago not now . After recently visiting London my personal motto for the games would be ' Welcome to London , spot the englishman ' )) oops sorry english person ))

  • rate this

    Comment number 719.

    For all those people complaining about Scotland and the North not benefitting from the Olympics - just a reminder that it is called the London Olympics for a reason. The UK is not a particularly large country so everyone can get involved if they wish. I am not a huge sports fan, cannot attend the Olympics but will still be supporting it from Manchester. We need to be more optimistic!

  • rate this

    Comment number 718.

    I, for one, can't wait for this bloated, expensive, fiasco to be over. If only the Government decided to spend as much on hospitals, schools, transport etc, but that will never happen. Another example of a Great British balls up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 717.

    it's the usual story of london being exploited. the fact is most people don't want it, just like most people didn't want our troops going to iraq.

    the north seems to be complaining that we have the olympics. well, if we could, many of us in the south would have been happy to have seen the north get it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 716.

    I hope the Olympics provide a lasting legacy but I fear we are once again being brain washed into believing everything in the garden is rosy. £9billion is a collosal gamble and if it turns out to be a white elephant then it will be a criminal waste. One cautionary note to Cameron and Clegg. Wilson tried to bounce off 1966 and the World Cup and ended up the most unpopular PM since Lord North.

  • rate this

    Comment number 715.

    Can I suggest a new motto? "Bankrupt a Generation"

  • rate this

    Comment number 714.

    As I don't live or work in London, I am an idiot, and have no idea of what these VIP lanes, that other posters have mentioned, are supposed to achieve. Will they stop anyone using them unless they have diplomatic immunity?

  • rate this

    Comment number 713.

    I'm looking forward to the sport. But it could have been done so much better. When you have an poncy out of touch elite in charge you get the design fiasco, the ticketing fiasco, the transport fiasco and the usual suspects filling their pockets and the pockets of their friends. I just hope they put on an opening ceremony that isn't a cringefest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 712.

    Motto should have been.
    "This is going to cost a packet, but dont worry, Seb and the team will get minted"

  • rate this

    Comment number 711.

    Wow I really wish all the haters would just do one! No room for all this negativity in life
    Touble is the Olympics and a viscious austerity programme dont really mix too well...

  • rate this

    Comment number 710.

    692: "yes, that would send a clear message, don't bother with Great Britain, they couldn't organise the preverbial. Exactly how would that enhance our business ties with the rest of the world? We are on the world stage, try to show some support."

    Exactly how does an event hijacked by self-promoting politicians and corporate sponsors matter to our business ties with the rest of the world?

  • rate this

    Comment number 709.

    I have zero interest in sport of any kind. The olympics are nothing but a waste of billions of pounds of taxpayers money. The only people who benefit from it are the super-rich people who run the building firms that are building the thing. I will not watch a single minute of TV coverage. These games are nothing but a sham and a fraud and have very little interest for most people in the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 708.

    So the IOC get to have a jolly up and fill their coffers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 707.

    We should never have bid for 2012. But that's history, now it's here lets enjoy it and stop moaning.
    I just hope the media are not left standing out in the rain like they were at the Dome opening. It will be the kiss of death if the press get wet!

  • rate this

    Comment number 706.

    Whether you are for or against the Olympics, everyone needs to just put on a brave/happy face so we don't look like a total joke. The worst thing that could happen alongside the huge bill we're having to foot is looking like a bunch of idiots. Lets deal with all the costs and problems afterwards and just get through this with a stiff upper lip!


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