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

 

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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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