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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
London 2012 emulates Sydney volunteers AAP

Relighting of the Olympic cauldron by Cathy Freeman.

Organisers of the 2012 London Olympics will use the 10th anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Games to help launch their push to find 70,000 volunteers.

The Australian Olympic Committee is organising a number of events on September 15 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sydney Games, including a relighting of the Olympic cauldron by Cathy Freeman.

Two-time 1500m Olympic champion Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, will be a special guest at a celebration dinner that night.

belowLord Coe and his fellow London organisers will use the occasion to push for volunteers to help at their Games, which are just under two years away.

"It's a great nod to Sydney that Seb is coming to the anniversary dinner," said Australia's International Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper.

"And it's even better that they are using the occasion to launch their own volunteer program."

Jackie Brock-Doyle, the director of communications for the London Games, said that with two years to go, it was time for the London organisers to inspire volunteers, or "Games makers" as they will be called in 2012.

"We are encouraging everyone in the UK to get involved if they have the time and motivation," she said.

"We thought it was perfect to use the 10th anniversary of the Sydney Games to help launch our push.

"Everyone remembers what it was like in Sydney and how great the volunteers were."

Brock-Doyle said while Lord Coe was in Australia he would be talking to volunteers from the Sydney Games and bringing recorded messages back home.

"We want the volunteers from Sydney to talk to people in Britain about what it takes to be a Games maker," she said.

"We want them to talk about their experiences, about how great it was, but also about how hard it was and the long days and the work involved.

"It's not easy, but the volunteers in Sydney were absolutely fantastic and that is what we want as well."

8,142 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Aquatics centre looks good but the stadium looks like shit, temporary or no. It could have been designed in the 1950s. The Basketball arena is a giant bouncy castle and the grounds look l.ike a nuclear test site. In all, lots of money down the pan.
lol not started on the grounds or park really yet.......Had to
clear tons of toxic ground first, as site was major industrial.

8,142 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Billions are being spent on the 2012 Olympics in an effort to out do Sydney 2000

SEB Coe admits he doesn't always get it right. The man charged with trying to make London's 2012 Olympics a bigger success than Sydney's "best ever" Games remembers the mistakes he made when working at the 2000 Olympics for Channel 7.

After another late-night session at the athletics, Coe dragged himself and his bags into the back seat of a waiting car and asked to be taken back to his hotel. The amused driver replied, "You know this is a police car, mate?"

As head of the London Olympic bid in 2005, Coe beat the favourite, Paris, to win the race to host the next Games, from July 27 to August 12, 2012.

Now chairman of the London Organising Committee, Coe welcomed about 300 Olympic delegates from 30 countries to judge London's preparations at a world press briefing in the British capital this week.

Coe is an Olympics expert who has attended the Games since winning two gold medals as an athlete in the 1500m in the Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984) Olympics. It is also third time lucky for London, which will become the first city to stage a modern Olympics trifecta: in 1908, 1948 and 2012.

While every host city wants to beat the last, Coe agrees that despite the romance of the Athens Olympics in 2004 and the precision of Beijing in 2008, Sydney remains the high-water mark for Games success.

"Sydney had everything, it had great sport, a party atmosphere, a nation that was celebrating its own birthday party, it was profound and funny and poignant," Coe says.

"We will do everything we can but I tend to try not to think about beating Sydney.

"If I can capture some of that Sydney magic in London, we will be doing pretty well."

To try to reproduce Sydney's magic, London is spending pound stg. 9 billion ($15.6bn) on infrastructure, split between new venues, regeneration and contingency. Another pound stg. 2bn will be used to stage the Games and Coe boasts 75 per cent has already been raised, with the most of the remainder coming from ticket sales.

Coe says the pound stg. 11bn Olympic bill is what's left after pound stg. 27m was shaved off the Olympic budget by the new British Conservative-led coalition government, which won power with a promise to bring the country back from the economic brink.

Coe is close to the new government, given he was a Conservative MP from 1992 to 1997 and then served as chief of staff to former Tory leader William Hague, and he has absorbed the financial haircut.

"As one of the largest global financial markets in the world, London was hard hit by the financial crisis," Coe says. "But all the independent assessments say that over the course of the Olympic project [2005-12] the Games could account for between 5 per cent and 7 per cent of London's [gross domestic product] over that seven years."

Australian International Olympic Committee delegate Kevan Gosper, who is chairman of the IOC press commission, believes London will go close to beating Sydney in two years' time when a worldwide audience of four billion will judge for itself whether London has trumped Sydney. "With two years to go London is the best prepared Games I have seen," Gosper said at the world press briefing.

"It has been a very smooth operation. They have an excellent organising team. Seb knows his way around government and finance.

"They have also had a smooth run with the English press, which is a good benchmark.

"And the people of London are behind it."

The 2012 Olympics is also proving a welcome economic stimulus for the depressed British economy and the capital is littered with cranes, building sites and road and rail works as about pound stg. 6bn worth of construction is rolled out.

Coe says the whole country is benefiting, with 50 per cent of Olympic contracts being awarded outside London. "When we were bidding in 2005 I don't think we understood how economically important this project would be," Coe says. "We hit 2008 and the economic markets collapsed. But we will be able to deliver this project despite the testing economic times."

Australian companies have also scored, with Austrade confirming that more than 20 Australian businesses have secured about $250m in contracts for the London 2012 Olympics. Colin Biggs, Austrade's London-based senior business development manager, says contracts have been won by Australian infrastructure companies, architects, procurement specialists, security trainers and sports managers.

Nowhere is the construction more intense than in east London, a historically poor, depressed and ugly area that has festered with social disadvantage for centuries.

Just as the 2000 Olympics transformed Sydney's Homebush area 20km west of the city from a wasteland into a business and event centre, so too is the 2012 Olympics rejuvenating east London.

"We are building a new city within an old city," explains Coe.

Stratford in east London will be the epicentre of the London Games and the site of a new 2.5sq km Olympic Park, which includes a main stadium, an innovative wave roof Aquatic Centre, velodrome, press centre and athletes village.

British government and sporting chiefs point to Olympic Park as London's Games legacy.

"If you get on the underground [train] and travel seven stops from Westminster in the parliament district to Stratford in the heart of Olympic Park, you would lose a year in life expectancy at every stop," Coe says.

"This area is among the poorest of the poor. We will be leaving behind a legacy of some 3000 homes, a [pound stg. 1.3bn Westfield] shopping centre, transport links and a healthcare centre.

"There are about 10,500 people working on Olympic Park and 20 per cent of the workforce is resident of this area."

Being a regular visitor to Australia, Coe claims Melbourne as his second home and says that until now London could only have dreamed of having Melbourne's glut of sporting facilities, including Olympic Park, the Telstra Dome, MCG and the tennis centre. "London has been limping along with one Olympic-size swimming pool," he says. "We now have an aquatic centre with two 50m pools and diving facilities. They are facilities London should have had a long time ago."

Gosper says the weak point in London's plan will be transport and moving millions of locals and visitors across a city that suffers from endemic gridlock and home-grown terrorism.

The day after London won the right to host the Games, in July 2005, four home-grown terrorists bombed London's transport system, killing 52 people.

Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred says London's transport is his biggest concern during the Games. He is particularly worried about the safety of Australia's team of 430-450 athletes, who will be using public transport to enjoy the Olympic city after they have competed.

"What happened in 2005 should be in the front of everyone's mind," Tancred says. "Protecting people on the underground is their challenge."

Coe acknowledges transport is a complex problem, compounded further by the need for terrorism-proof security, funded by a pound stg. 600m police and security budget.

Director of Games security Ian Johnston says the security alert for the Olympics will be set on the second-highest level: severe. Johnston admits that striking the balance between public safety and freedom will be tough and that transport is an acknowledged soft target.

"Transport will call for more creative thought than most previous Olympic cities have had to bring to the table," Coe says. "We need to meld our thinking and make sure it works. We'll get there. It will not be business as usual."

In addition to security, the London Games' transport plan includes a new high-speed bullet train running from central London to Olympic Park, ribbons of bridges, an alpine-style cable car spanning the Thames, light rail extensions and underground line upgrades.

But Coe says London's public works and new venues will not be on the same scale as the elephantine structures that emerged in the Chinese capital for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A distinguishing feature of the 2012 Games will be the use of famous London landmarks as Games venues, including Wimbledon for tennis and Lord's for archery.

"We will not be the elephant Olympics and we will not be the white elephant Olympics," Coe insists. "We will not see the likes of Beijing again, the venues were jaw-dropping.

"We will not be trying to replicate Beijing. But I am happy to magpie the best from the best.

"From Sydney I want the party atmosphere, the volunteers and a city that came alive. I want the spirit and the regeneration of the city from Barcelona [1992]. I want the theatre and drama of Athens [2004] and the precision and eye for detail of Beijing. If I can capture all those elements in London, I will have done a good job."

Coe declines to predict whether it will be enough to steal Sydney's "best ever" crown. Nor is he game to predict whether Britain will once again beat Australia on the medal table, as the mother country did in Beijing, winning 47 medals overall to finish fourth, ahead of Australia's 46-medal total in fifth place.

"I know enough about Australians to know you don't much like losing," Coe says.

Louise Evans, The Australian's managing editor, has covered four Olympic Games.

Yes. No. Potato?
3,023 Posts
I agree with him. Sydney is the benchmark for us.
Surely the benchmark should be Berlin 1932 or Moscow 1980.

Put it in your mouth
7,109 Posts
What was so good about Sydney? Aside from the fact there were no terrorist bombings/hostage situations? One of the few good things about Sydney was how tongue-in-cheek the closing ceremony was - what other city would have drag queens marching around whilst Kylie sings Dancing Queen surrounded by guys in hot pink two piece suits dancing around her? We 'pwned' on the camp factor alone.

London could easily beat Sydney. Just include some of the music the UK has produced over the last 50 years and that'll be enough. Through in some of those other important things like the English language, Shakespeare, and the industrial revolution if you want to really 'wow' the world.

Yes. No. Potato?
3,023 Posts
Just include some of the music the UK has produced over the last 50 years and that'll be enough.
UK music does great when showing off. Like in Eurovision :eek:hno:

28,981 Posts
Sydney not only set the benchmark, they literally had to create one. A blueprint that many future Games now enjoy.

Post Atlanta, Sydney had to start from scratch in many areas. They had to create many of the venue operations plan that host cities can simply borrow from previous hosts through the transfer of knowledge.

They set an entirely new standards in Games time organization.
Organized potentially the largest pre Games transport test events. Hosted major events in venues well before the Games, including the full test events programme.

Host cities from Sydney 2000 onward do not have to re-invent the wheel, but in many areas Sydney 2000 had to.
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