As it happened: London prepares for Olympics

Key Points

  • David Cameron tells a news conference on the Olympic Park that people will see that Britain can deliver. He says he wants the Games to lift the world by bringing people together
  • The Olympic torch has been on the penultimate day of its 70-day UK journey, visiting the White City site of the 1908 Olympics, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace along the way
  • Olympic officials in London are to blame for the North Korean flag error that jeopardised a women's football game at Hampden in Glasgow, the BBC understands

Join the discussion

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions


    Good morning and welcome to the BBC News live page. We'll be bringing you all the latest news, views and analysis as the countdown continues to the official London 2012 opening ceremony on Friday night. Follow our coverage for the most up-to-date developments in text, video and audio.


    Of course, the sporting action actually began on Wednesday, with Team GB's women's footballers setting the tone for the host nation with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. It's not often a team playing in all black gets beaten at that stadium.


    However, that victory was overshadowed by controversy later when images of players from North Korean women's football team were shown on a screen beside the South Korean flag at their match at Hampden Park, Glasgow. The players walked off, delaying the match by an hour.

    A North Korean Official gesturing to explain the wrong flag was being shown

    London 2012 organisers later apologised for the error, saying: "A genuine mistake was made for which we apologise."


    Looking ahead to today's action and there is plenty more football being played, including the start of Team GB's men's campaign - one of eight matches.


    Wednesday also saw more than 60,000 people attend the technical dress rehearsal for the Olympics opening ceremony. Everyone has been sworn to secrecy about the event. So what can be said? Here are 10 facts about Friday's show, which is expected to be watched by millions worldwide.

    0920: Kate Connolly in Glasgow

    tells the BBC she was at the match at Hampden Park on Wednesday and does not blame the North Koreans for walking off: "It was a real foot-in-mouth moment, and put a dampener on what had been a really good day earlier."


    The Olympics has other facets, aside from the sporting spectacle. A global investment conference is being held in London on Thursday, starting a series of business summits intended to showcase the UK and attract investment during the Games.

    Andy in Coventry

    emails: I'm all for the games; I think they are a fantastic showcase of all things sport, but I see no benefits to bringing it over here once in a blue moon. We've spent billions building stadia that will never be filled again, disrupted the lives of those of us that just want to go about our daily lives and it's all paid for by us - not only now but for the foreseeable future as we repay the interest on the loans.

    Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: David Cameron says ministers are paying for their own tickets for Olympics unless on official Govt business #olympics


    The Olympic flame is making its penultimate outing, travelling from Camden to Westminster. Earlier, Rhyania Blackett-Codrington - who helps disadvantaged youths - passed the flame to comedian David Walliams. Follow the progress of the flame all day on the torch relay live page.

    Rhyania Blackett-Codrington passes the Olympic flame to comedian David Walliams
    Mark Beckett in Bloomsbury

    emails: I have tickets to the men's water polo on Sunday - Italy v Australia and Serbia v Hungary. Look out for two big blokes with UK and Serbian flags and facepaint in the crowd as that will be us.


    If you're interested in finding out what events are on, in which sports, at what venues and when, our colleagues at BBC Sport have everything you need right here.

    John Craig

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Gone in to hibernation. Please tell me when normal service will be resumed. #London2012

    Rugby League star Jon Wilkin

    tweets: The olympics will inspire a child who will then go onto win an olympic gold medal - The challenge cup final inspired me to play rugby.

    Ajay Saini

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Can't wait! Heading to London tonight for GamesMaker role from tomorrow! #GreatestGames #TeamGB


    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay i have unbridled support for the games and look forward the immense joy and spectacle that will occur over the next 2 weeks.


    Simon Calder, travel editor at the Independent, says Heathrow Airport expects 125,000 passengers to arrive on Thursday and about 115,000 going out. That, he says, equates to about 200 passengers passing through every minute.

    Chrish Hey

    texts: My daughter and i went to the Olympic Ceremony rehearsal last night, which was amazing. She went by bicycle. Despite all the encouragement to cycle it was impossible to find a place to leave a bike securely.


    We still don't know who will light the Olympic cauldron on Friday night. BBC Sport's Frank Keogh has been looking at some of the potential candidates for the prestigious task.


    So Team GB's men start their football campaign later (1945 BST at Old Trafford v Senegal). It's not the first time this summer, of course, that an English coach has gone into an international tournament having lost players due to injury, with controversy over a high-profile omission and a side that's technically inferior to the most-fancied nations. Quarter-final defeat anyone? On penalties?

    Marcus Chapman in Crewkerne

    emails: As I was watching the GB women's football team I was disappointed by two things. A half empty stadium but also no ball-boys. Why? The women footballers say this is the most important tournament there is, bigger even than their World Cup.


    Will Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins be fresh for the Olympics? Will three weeks of mountain climbs scupper his hopes of a Olympic glory? Possibly not. Here's a feature looking at how the cyclist, who already has three Olympic golds, differs from the average man.


    Prime Minister David Cameron tells a global investment conference being held in London that the Olympics are about more than sport. The Games are "about great business too", he says.

    Prime Minister David Cameron
    Gordon Farquhar BBC sports news correspondent

    tweets: BOA chair Moynihan says the flag mix up was a mistake, if it had happened to Team GB they would have accepted the apology and carried on.


    The British Olympic Association says it's still waiting to receive medical records from triple jumper Phillips Idowu. It said: "Once we receive the records we will talk about next steps. We really want Phillips to be here and we want to see if we can help him. It would be fantastic to give him every support to be successful."

    1030: David Bond BBC sports editor

    says BOA chief executive Andy Hunt has confirmed that unanimous agreement has been reached with Locog on how the Olympic cauldron will be lit on Friday. BOA chairman Colin Moynihan makes the case again for Sir Steve Redgrave.

    Richard Burgess head of BBC sports news

    tweets: LOCOG chief exec Paul Deighton on who will light Olympic flame: "I think when everyone sees our choice, they will understand why we made it"

    Alex Banks in Bonn, Germany

    emails: I wanted to fly home from Germany to see some of the Olympics but the train and plane price both rocketed by over 30%. I'm gutted, but I simply can't afford it. The Olympics might as well be in Rio already - it would make no difference to me.


    The torch relay, which you can follow here, will lead to a concert in Hyde Park later. Drivers are being urged to avoid central London. Meanwhile, BBC Travel says there is a good service on all London Underground lines. For those trying to navigate their way around London, travel updates are available here.


    One interesting aspect of today's football is the potential appearance of Uruguay's Luis Suarez at Old Trafford, Manchester. It'll be interesting to see if there's any crowd reaction against him after he was banned last season for racially abusing a Manchester United player while playing for Liverpool. Will the crowd's Olympic spirit transcend club loyalties?


    Angus Walker, ITV News China correspondent, tweets: No mention of flag mix up in a brief report on North Korea vs Colombia by state news agency


    We've been talking to people all over the globe who are heading to the UK especially for the Olympics. Szilard Pall, from Budapest, says it might be his last chance to see such an event live. How far are you travelling?


    Danny Boyle, who directed Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, is the creative force behind the Olympics opening ceremony. You can find out more about him in our profile.


    The Olympic Games are under discussion on the BBC News Facebook page, with contributor Steve H saying: "So the games are off to great start then, with signs reading as gibberish in Arabic (and other languages) and now offending countries by mixing up the flags. This should be fun to watch."


    Earlier, Paralympian Ade Adepitan carried the Olympic torch across London's Millennium Bridge on what has been a sunny day in central London, with temperatures of about 26C. You can follow the progress of the torch here.

    Paralympian Ade Adepitan

    It's been 52 years since a British men's football team played in the Olympics. Watch the BBC's Tim Hague meet three of the 1960 side.


    Here's a man sure to catch the eye at the opening ceremony. Basketball player Yi Jianlian is 7ft tall (2.13m) and will be carrying the flag for China. Read more about him here.

    China's basketball player Yi Jianlian poses during an arrival ceremony at the Olympic Village in London, 25 July 2012
    Darragh Kelly

    tweets: I'm really looking forward to the swimming. I love swimmers' bodies - it's like looking at Michelangelo's work come to life. #olympics


    Prime Minister David Cameron and Lord Coe, who's in charge of Locog, are in the Olympic Park ahead of a press conference.

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Lord Coe
    Joe in London

    emails: Unbelievably excited, London is BUZZING! Naysayers very much in a tiny minority... cheer up people.


    The Daily Telegraph reports that Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, has questioned the UK's preparedness to host the London 2012 Olympics and asked whether the country is genuinely willing to "celebrate" the Games.


    Great Britain's Andy Murray has been drawn against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round of the men's singles at the Olympic tennis tournament, which will take place at Wimbledon.

    1151: Breaking News

    Speaking at an Olympic Park press conference, Prime Minister David Cameron says people will see that "Britain can deliver". He adds: "This is a truly momentous day."

    Andrew Cotter, sports broadcaster,

    tweets: Won't happen, but would love to see someone like Matt Hampson light the Olympic flame. Embodies strength of human spirit.


    The prime minister says the Games will leave a "genuine legacy" that will last years and decades.


    Mr Cameron says "seven years of waiting, planning, building, dreaming are now almost over".

    1158: Breaking News

    Mr Cameron says he wants this to be "a Games that lifts up our city, lifts up our country and lifts up the world, bringing people together".


    Lord Coe, who chairs Games organiser Locog, says this has been an "extraordinary journey", adding that he never fails to be surprised and proud that what has happened has "been kicked off by sport".


    Mr Cameron says the North Korea flag mishap was an "honest mistake" and an apology has been made. He says the issue should not be over inflated.

    Phillip Rowntree

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I think that London is well organised... I'm driving through east London today, but just need extra time and care! Also, the buzz around the city about the games is great... All feel very patriotic!


    David Cameron says he thinks the torch relay has bring the country together by demonstrating "this is not a London Games, this is not an England Games, this is a United Kingdom Games". You can follow the progress of the torch relay here.


    Prime Minister David Cameron and Locog chairman Lord Coe are fielding questions at the Olympic Park. Looking ahead to the opening ceremony, the prime minister predicts that there will be "something for everyone" and some "spine-tingling" moments.

    Lord Coe and Prime Minister David Cameron

    The Time Out blog takes an alternative look, in pictures and video, at what it thinks should be in the London 2012 opening ceremony.


    Mr Cameron says he hopes that, throughout the Games, people will see a very modern and vibrant Britain that is also celebrating the country's past.


    "This is an extraordinary few weeks for our city, for our country and people need to be prepared for that," says Mr Cameron, in response to questions about London's transport infrastructure and suggestions that it might not be able to function smoothly during the Games.


    Mr Cameron ends the press conference by saying: "We are set for a really remarkable few weeks for Britain.... we are an amazing country with fantastic things to offer. This is a great moment for us. Let's seize it."

    Yvonne Pickton

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I'm looking foward to the Games! Think of all the publicity our great country will get and the revenue as well.

    Alison Hughes

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I have attended football for 30 years, home and abroad. Never have I seen security measures like at Hampden Park. Ridiculous.


    If you won't be able to get to the Games, you can still check out the facilities on offer via the Guardian's virtual tour of the Olympic park.

    Michael W Holden‏

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Would look forward to the Games more if only the media would calm down a bit.

    Terry Macnamara

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Staying away from the Olympics as much as possible. Waste of time and money. I'll be glad when it's over, especially to be rid of that awful logo.


    With just over a day to go before London 2012 is officially launched, is Olympic fever spreading across the capital? Samantha Dalton and Emma Lynch went to find out and discovered families like this one, who have no Olympics tickets but are keen to sample the flavour of the Olympic city

    Boys wearing London 2012 t-shirts near tower bridge
    Matt Davenport

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I'm massively looking forward to the Olympics and seeing real sporting talent, above the overpaid, over-rated football fodder we usually get.

    James Dunn

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay After seven years it's almost here. Feels like Christmas eve rather than a boiling July day. I'm that excited!


    Athletes from around the world, such as this rower from Sweden, are busily training ahead of the Games.

    A rower from Sweden practices on a single sculls boat at the 2012 Summer Olympics in Eton Dorney, near Winsdsor,
    Martin Bradley

    tweets: @bbc_HaveYourSay A lot of negativity about the Olympics today. Stop moaning, be grateful you live in a developed country and enjoy it!


    tweets: The Torch will move along Oxford St this afternoon before finishing in Hyde Pk at 19:15. We hope you enjoy it but do expect delays

    Peter Hunt BBC royal correspondent

    tweets: Prince William: for us to hold the Olympics and Paralympics here in London is a great moment for our nation.


    Olympic officials in London are to blame for the flag row that jeopardised a women's football game at Hampden, in Glasgow, it has emerged. BBC Scotland understands the video package that showed the South Korean flag had been sent from London and Hampden organisers had no input. Read more here.

    Sam Conway ‏

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay On my way to my first shift as a volunteer in the Olympic Park. I'm getting goosebumps!


    The BBC's Olympics correspondent, James Pearce, tweets an image of a large screen at the Olympic Park where the public will be able to watch the action unfold and says: "Will be great place to watch when sun shines. Looks stunning."

    Big screen at the Olympic Park
    Derek White, Edinburgh, UK

    emails: Any apology yet to the fans like me who bought tickets for the Colombia vs North Korea game and were left in ignorance for over an hour? Or don't the fans matter?

    Ollie Williams BBC Sport

    tweets: Every time Zara Phillips smiles - which is often - a thousand flash bulbs go off. Talented GB Eventing team but no doubting star attraction.

    Chris Buckley, London

    emails: Words cannot express my excitement. I have been going on about it for the last seven years and watched with anticipation every day as I passed the Olympic Park. Hackney is my home and we have seen nothing but improvements over this time - the legacy is here already. I think it is high time that all of these negative people just keep quiet and let the majority of us have the time of our lives.

    Mark Mills, Chichester

    emails: I was lucky enough to go to the Olympic opening ceremony rehearsal last night. All I can say is wow what an amazing show, should be a great start to a fantastic Olympics.

    Tom Fordyce Chief sports writer, BBC Sport

    tweets: Starting to love the purple-shirted Olympic volunteers. Enthusiasm + friendliness + spot of banter = endless splendid brief encounters

    Craig B.

    tweets: Eddie and Patsy, Olympic Torch Relay, down the King's Road, now. genius. #london2012 #torchrelay


    Here's a picture gallery of some striking images from day 69 of the Olympic torch relay, including this one of Luke Corduner of Camden, and here you can follow live updates as the flame winds its way through more streets of London.

    Luke Corduner holding the Olympic Flame

    Olympic officials are facing another nationality blunder - as programmes for Team GB's men's football team have listed Welshman Joe Allen as English. The Swansea City midfielder, who is a fluent Welsh speaker, is described as "one of the breakthrough players of the most recent Premier League season". But under the title Nationality, the 22-year-old Pembrokeshire-born player is listed as English.

    Penny Wallington

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay up in London last night & seeing torch cross Millennium Bridge, excitement palpable. Feel really proud to have world focus


    Could the London Olympics be the "biggest media event in history", as some have claimed? Media correspondent Torin Douglas reports.


    The BBC's cricket correspondent, Jonathan Agnew, tweets a picture showing how the home of English cricket, Lord's, has been transformed into an archery range for the Olympics.

    The archery range at Lord's cricket ground
    Heather, Earls Court

    texts: In Holland park awaiting the torch - band is playing and atmosphere is amazing !!

    Head of BBC Sports News and BBC Radio Sport, Richard Burgess

    tweets: Sir Bruce Forsyth will carry the Olympic flame at the BBC's White City offices this afternoon. I'm standing by if he pulls out.....


    Channel 4's website carries research which suggests that more of Team GB athletes were born in the UK's most affluent and healthy areas than anywhere else. This interactive map highlights the regional disparities.


    BBC Monitoring says North Korean state television appears to have completely ignored how the South Korean flag was mistakenly displayed on the screen at Hampden Park before the women's football match against Colombia on Wednesday. The channel's match report was the last item in an hour-long news bulletin and showed only still photographs of North Korea's 2-0 victory.


    Want to see a rather dazzling 360-degree view from the top of the Olympic equestrian arena in Greenwich Park? The BBC's Ollie Williams provides exactly that via his twitter feed. Lovely day for a photograph.


    Thousands of troops are in place to help provide security at the Games - here, two soldiers are seen watching a practice session at Wimbledon.

    Soldiers watch as Maria Sharapova of Russia practices

    As the Olympic flame's torch relay nears the end of its lengthy journey, relive some of the highlights of its journey around Britain. You can also follow live updates of Day 69 of the relay, which is passing through London.

    Chris Jefferies ‏

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Looking forward to joining my fellow British Red Cross volunteers as we help keep people safe across the capital


    Heading to the Olympic Park? Want to know how to survive the crowds, negotiate the transport system and simply find your way around? Then check out the BBC's survival guide.


    Games organisers have apologised to North Korean athletes whose images were shown next to the South Korean flag. And Prime Minister David Cameron has called it an "honest mistake". But could you do any better? Take our flags and anthems gaffes test to find out.


    How big would Usain Bolt's margin of victory be if he raced the best sprinter of 1896 in a 100m race? The website Slate worked it out and you can see the results here.

    1519: Breaking News

    James Pearce, BBC Olympics correspondent, reports: "It's looking increasingly likely that the opening ceremony will not sell out. There are still tickets on sale for the top two price categories - £1,600 and £2,012. London 2012 says that a decision will be taken tomorrow on what to do with any remaining tickets, but promises that there will not be empty seats. It's likely that they will be given to troops or children."


    Our correspondent adds: "It's fairly astonishing that the organisers are still trying to sell opening ceremony tickets when you consider the demand last year. It appears that the appetite to pay top prices for these tickets has waned considerably over the past 12 months."


    Brief pause for the live page team there as we lined up with the crowds to see the Olympic torch pass BBC Television Centre on its way to the White City complex, where the 1908 Olympics were staged. Remember you can follow all the torch relay action here.


    Ripple of applause around the BBC newsroom as Sir Bruce Forsyth takes the flame at White City and does his traditional pose. Nice to see it, to see it.... no, let's not go there. The 84-year-old certainly knows how to play a crowd.


    It's not the first time there has been Olympic excitement at White City, west London, where the 1908 Games were staged in a purpose-built stadium. Sir Bruce took on the flame at the finishing line of the former 70,000-seater stadium, which cost the Franco-British Exhibition £60,000 (£5.7m today). See how London's three modern Olympics - 1908, 1948 and 2012 - compare in this table.


    Here's the moment Sir Bruce took the Olympic torch and thrilled the crowd. He said the experience was "wonderful" and "very moving".

    Sir Bruce Forsyth

    For a closer look at the Olympics venues, check out our picture gallery of where the Games are being held, which includes maps of sites in London and other parts of Britain.

    Chris Bevan BBC Sport

    tweets: On my way from sunny Stratford to, erm, sunny Salford for an Olympic football double-header. Expecting wins for Uruguay & Team GB. #BBC2012

    Caroline, Glasgow

    emails: The opening ceremony will not be a sell-out because the tickets were way too overpriced. People around the rest of the country could have afforded to come down and enjoyed it if the tickets had been fairly priced. Now it's too late and they're having to give them away. What a joke.


    The greatest sportsmen and women from around the world are competing in events ranging from archery to wrestling, badminton to volleyball. How do those sports work? How did the superstars get started and how can you have a go yourself? With expert analysis, rules, history, ones to watch and an explanation of each sport's unique appeal, BBC Sport provides comprehensive guides alongside details of how to try them out.


    London 2012 organisers apologise for listing Welsh footballer Joe Allen as English in the programme for tonight's Team GB match. A spokesman said: "We apologise for this mistake and new programmes are now being printed with the correction in time for Team GB's next match."


    Organisers of the Olympics opening ceremony remain tight-lipped about the full contents of the show. However, a brief excerpt of footage from the rehearsal has been released to prepare people for Friday's extravaganza, which is the vision of artistic director Danny Boyle and is expected to have an audience of millions worldwide.

    Olympics opening ceremony rehearsal

    US presidential candidate Mitt Romney rowed back from his earlier criticism of London's Olympics preparations when he spoke outside Downing Street. It came after Mr Romney had expressed concerns about "disconcerting" signs of a lack of readiness for the Games in an interview with a US television station.

    Mitt Romney at 10 Downing Street

    At 84 years of age, Sir Bruce Forsyth - a torchbearer in London today - shows all the energy of a man a fraction of his age. But 11-year-old Tyreese might be stretching it a little to describe him as an "Olympic hopeful". Tyreese is part of a team of pupils from Burlington Danes Academy, in Hammersmith, who are reporting on the torch relay for BBC News School Report, and he grabbed a word with policeman Chris Seymour, prompting a memorable exchange. Listen to it here.


    Train drivers' union Aslef and East Midlands Trains release a joint statement in which they announce that planned strikes on 6, 7 and 8 August have been called off after both sides "reached a positive settlement of all issues relating to planned pensions changes". They say it means there will be no disruption to "important rail services" during the Games.


    Japan began its bid to win the men's Olympic football event with a surprise 1-0 victory over Spain, whose full international team are the current World and European champions. Full results from the men's football tournament can be found on the BBC Sport website. Remember Team GB are in action later.

    Japan's Yuki Otsu scores against Spain
    Pete, Norfolk

    emails: Cheer up everyone. Yes, there will be a few mistakes here and there, tickets overpriced, a mistaken flag. In the grand scheme of things this matters little and personally I'd be glad to see some tickets go to kids and the armed forces for free. It's about bringing people together, celebrating being British and enjoying being entertained by great competitors. Don't get caught up on the little things!


    The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter reports from Old Trafford that "Luis Suarez's face on the big OT screens gets booed, then applauded. [Premier League] rivalries at play".


    There have been many, many highlights during the Olympics torch relay and one of today's was undoubtedly the appearance of Sir Bruce Forsyth at the White City site of the 1908 Olympics. If you missed it earlier, you can watch some of it here.

    1735: Oliver Holt Daily Mirror chief sports writer

    tweets: Just arrived at Old Trafford and Luis Suarez being booed every time he touches ball. Bet he was chuffed when he found Uruguay playing here


    The Olympic relay is heading to Downing Street, before being greeted by members of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace. The last torchbearer of the day will light a cauldron at a celebration event in Hyde Park featuring performances by The Wanted, Mark Ronson and Dizzee Rascal.


    We are signing off for the day but preparations for tomorrow's Olympics opening ceremony continue. You can follow the end of today's torch relay here and the coverage of all tonight's football games, including Team GB's men's opening match, are available in text, video and audio on the BBC Sport website.


    But, before we go, here's one final image from London as it prepares to host the greatest athletes in the world.

    The Tower of London is framed by a set of Olympic Rings

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.