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100 Days to Go Till the Olympics: Is London Prepared, and Do We Care?

Posted on the 18 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
100 Days to go till the Olympics: Is London prepared, and do we care?

Lord Coe: let the games begin! Photocredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/6766123949/sizes/m/in/photostream/

It’s 100 days until the Olympics begin in London! On your marks… The official motto has been revealed – “Inspire a generation.”  The games will start on 27th July, in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

Kew Gardens have been leading the way in celebrating, unveiling a giant set of Olympic rings made up of 25,000 flowers. Lord Coe, chairman of the games, will also plant an oak (the first of 40 planned) to commemorate the games. Schoolchildren in Weymouth, Dorset, have built a giant sandcastle to mark the day, whilst Grenadier Guards in London formed the number 100. West End cast members and athletes will perform in Trafalgar Square, reported the BBC. The general mood amongst commentators is one of optimism – the games are on time and on budget; our sportsmen and women are ready; we’re going to show the world how to have a good time. Coupled, of course, with the traditional digs at the more priggish aspects of the games – see Ian Chadband’s comment on the Olympics motto below. People are saying that whilst Londoners aren’t necessarily showing a great deal of enthusiasm at the moment, that’s exactly what happened before the Royal Wedding, which was greeted with unprecedented celebrations.

The BBC gave a rundown of statistics – the further away from London people are, the more they think the taxpayer has paid too much for the games, and the more they think that their region won’t benefit. So, let the countdown begin…

“Personally I would have preferred the slogan to be ‘Good Games, Good Games’. They only needed to ask Brucie,” said Ian Chadband, chief sports correspondent of The Telegraph, about the motto.

“As London gets ready to welcome the world, and the world gets ready to come to London, my team are working our socks off every hour of every day to make sure we don’t disappoint,” said Lord Coe in The Daily Mail.

There’s still some way to go. It’s the “biggest logistical peacetime exercise Britain has seen,” said Owen Gibson on The Guardian. We’re expecting 10,500 athletes, 21,000 media types, and 8.8 million ticket-holders. Expect more PR stunts, more questions about what the taxpayer gets from its £9.3 billion, and more “government drum-banging about the benefits.” But the Olympic Park still looks like a “building site.” However, Locog (organising committee) has “steered a steady course.” But will Britain go for it? Lord Coe certainly thinks so. “But it is obsessive attention to detail in the next 100 days – from the final ticket sales in early May to the torch relay days later – that will ensure the chance of a medal is not discarded before the flame is even lit.”

But it’s going to be a blast. What are the Brits trying to say? asked Paul Hayward, the Telegraph’s Chief Sports Writer. Maybe that we still have “a kind of gloriously mad energy, a recklessness with money, and certainly a willingness to turn up and support people who are doing complicated things for inexplicable reasons in the name of sport.” Basically, there is also the idea of “compulsory regeneration” of the east. But when the sports start, it will be the “human” side that will win out. The Brits will cheer on anything: the Olympics “return us, sub-consciously, to the school playing field and the spontaneity of youth.” We already know that Britain will do best “in the middle-class sports.” And the Olympics as a whole balance the brilliance of the few against the haplessness of the many. “London will become the Olympics and the Olympics will become London so that the two are indivisible. This is how it works for three weeks. Then it lifts like a spaceship and lands somewhere else, leaving the empty stadiums, the memories and the bills.”

And we’ve done it on time. Cities never recover from how they deal with the games, said Jonathan McEvoy on The Daily Mail. But Lord Coe’s organiser have done a superb job of delivering us to the verge of the Games on time and on budget. “Beyond bricks and mortar and all the speech-making, the world’s athletes are counting down to July 27, the start of a party that will shape their lives.”

But you can’t please everyone… Charlie Cooper on The Independent  rounded up a few different voices. A coach from Warwickshire and a gym owner were excited, amongst others; the manager of a delivery firm in East London was not, and nor was the spokeswoman for OurOlympics, which plans to organize acts of civil disobedience around the Games. Let’s hope that the Trenton Oldfields of this world are kept to a minimum, thinks Periscope.


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