London 2012: Olympic Village handed over to organisers

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Media captionThe BBC's Tim Muffett had a look inside the athletes' apartments

London 2012 organisers have taken control of the Olympic Village site in a ceremony marking six months until the start of the Games.

The village's 2,818 flats will now be fitted out to cater for 16,000 athletes and officials from 200 countries.

As well as 64,000 bed sheets, the village will need 11,000 sofas, 170,000 coat hangers and 5,000 toilet brushes.

Organisers have also revealed details of the Games' opening ceremony which will be watched by one billion people.

Attention to detail

London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe and its chief executive Paul Deighton have been setting out what the next six months holds as the final preparations for the Olympics are laid down.

Lord Coe said: "It's a heavy weight of responsibility but a fabulous opportunity"

Mr Deighton said the challenge was to get everything done on time because "27 July is the mother of all immovable deadlines".

He said the next six months would be all about attention to detail, focusing on training and mobilising people who will make the Games happen, testing and putting materials in place.

He said organisers Locog would also be building the excitement and helping people to be a part of what will be "the greatest thing this city has seen in their lifetimes".

Locog have put together a creative team of British talent to oversee the ceremonies, with Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle as artistic director for the Olympics opening ceremony and Take That's creative director Kim Gavin as artistic director for the Olympic and Paralympic closing ceremonies.

Mr Boyle and the opening ceremony's executive producer Stephen Daldry have been talking about the task of putting on a show with a 20,000 strong cast.

Meanwhile, Martin Green, Locog's Head of Ceremonies, has told the BBC it was not the organisers' intention to keep details of the events secret.

60,000 meals

"We want the country to be engaged with it," he told BBC East's London 2012 correspondent Shaun Peel.

"We want them to come along on the journey."

Friday's event marked the handover of control of the Olympic Village - based on the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London - to Locog from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

Image caption Details of the Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies are to be revealed before the Games

John Nicholson, from the ODA, said the overall project involved 62 buildings, 3,000 apartments, a polyclinic and a school.

"The idea is to try and ensure that we're combining the requirements of the athletes during the Games with the requirements of the local community in the legacy after the Games," he told the BBC.

The village will serve up to 60,000 meals each day from a 24-hour restaurant with 5,000 seats and food carts dotted around the site.

It is expected to get through 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tonnes of potatoes, 75,000 litres of milk and more than 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables during the Games.

Its main social area - the Village Plaza - will have shops and services for athletes and guests including a cafe, general store, bank, beauty & grooming salon, internet lounge, London 2012 shop and entertainment centre.

More volunteers needed

The ODA said the project - which started in June 2008 - involved:

  • Building apartments with courtyards, gardens and balconies in 11 residential plots, as well as landscaping throughout the village
  • Building the Chobham Academy, an education campus with places for 1,800 students and a state-of-the-art health clinic
  • Providing work for more than 16,500 people

After the Games the village will be turned into a part-affordable housing and part private-owned community known as East Village.

Locog chairman Seb Coe said the Olympic Village would provide athletes "with a home-from-home as they prepare for one of the biggest sporting moments of their lives".

It is estimated London 2012's opening and closing ceremonies will be watched by four billion TV viewers, which advertising industry experts say is worth up to £5bn in airtime exposure.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt last month defended a doubling of the budget for the Olympic ceremonies to £81m as "an extraordinary business opportunity" likely to attract foreign investment.

Locog said last month more than 10,000 would-be performers had auditioned for the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and called for more - particularly male - performers to come forward.

They said dancers, actors, percussionists and general all-round performers would have a role in the ceremonies, and that previous performance experience was not required.

Mr Green - who choreographed the montage at the close of Beijing 2008 featuring David Beckham, Leona Lewis, guitarist Jimmy Page and a double decker bus - is charged with delivering the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympics, as well as all the medal ceremonies and the torch relay.

He said some of the content of the show would be revealed over the coming months, but some surprises would be kept for the night.

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