I was able to tell the media this week about the steady progress that has been made in delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year at the Government’s London 2012 Annual Report press conference.
With just under 18 months to go, 80 per cent of the construction is complete and the Games remain on time and within the overall £9.3bn budget. Next week the velodrome will be the first venue to be handed from the ODA to LOCOG so they can start preparing it for Games time. This will be a key milestone in the Olympic programme.
And when it comes to progress, we can’t forget the Olympic Stadium. In all the excitement of last Friday’s announcement by the OPLC recommending West Ham takes over the Stadium in legacy, it seems to have been forgotten that we are the first Olympics since 1972 to have a tenant for the Stadium lined-up sixteen months before the Games open.
Although the Government and the Mayor still have to give our formal approval to the preferred bidder, as founder members of the OPLC, this is a great achievement and one that is in the process of being repeated for other venues across the Park. A truly remarkable achievement and one that is in the process of being repeated for venues across the Park.
I believe that the success of the OPLC has established a new model for all future host cities looking to secure a legacy from the infrastructure developed for the Games.
This was followed by the publication of the competition schedule, which the London Organising Committee did this week. I am sure that this is now the moment when people will start to plan their London 2012 experience.
People have a month to start thinking about the events they’d like to go to before tickets go on sale on 15 March 2011. Everyone has until the 26 April to place their ticket requests into the ballot. There is no advantage for submitting an application on the first day but all successful applications will have to be paid for – so it is worth taking time to decide the events you want to see before committing to a ticket.
The buzz around the Olympics this week makes my trip to the 2011 UCI Track World Cup finals in Manchester this weekend even more exciting. As the home of British cycling Manchester has really embraced the GB team and I’m looking forward to what will be an amazing event in one of our top sports and seeing many potential London 2012 medallists compete.
A year of sport
This is just one of the many opportunities British sport fans will have this year to train their vocal chords as the UK gets ready to host up to 27 major sports events in at least 12 different towns and cities including: the Mountain Bike Cross Country World Cup, the Gymnastics World Cup, the Sailing World Cup and Diving World Series.
I hope that everyone will support these and events and see some new sports that you don’t follow every day. You may even be inspired to go and give them a try yourself.
CGI image London 2012 cycling velodrome © ODA.