Rogge gives Games organisers confidence

29 July 2012

THE IOC president Jacques Rogge is not a man given to hyperbole. In fact, he has steadfastly refused to follow his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch by passing judgement on Olympic hosts.

In his interview with the BBC, Rogge said he would not be making an exception for London by calling their Games the greatest ever – no matter how well things go over the next three weeks.


But his clear confidence in London’s preparations should give a slightly battle weary Sebastian Coe and his team a huge lift as they enter the final days before the Games which start today (Friday).

For Lord Coe and organising body Locog this is perhaps the most frantic period of the last seven years. They are under enormous pressure and, as the security fiasco with G4S showed, blunders will be held up for the harshest scrutiny.

The organisers want the country to stop moaning and to start focusing on the extraordinary spectacle, which lies ahead.

That is absolutely right. This is a huge undertaking for London and Britain and, as with so many Olympic hosts before them, anxieties and backbiting will quickly give way once the sport starts.

Rogge said few days before Sydney the national obsession in the press was with the lack of Australians in the opening ceremony marching band, which had been largely sourced from America.

There are still a few more hurdles to clear before Lord Coe and his team can start patting themselves on the back.

First of all, there’s the £27 million opening ceremony. Last week tensions between the International Olympic Committee’s host broadcaster service and the show’s director Danny Boyle started to surface.

The length of the ceremony has also been cut amid concerns over getting the 67,000 ticket holders home afterwards.

On Monday night 30,000 people had the first glimpse of how the spectacular might feel, although so many details about Boyle’s Isles of Wonder extravaganza have leaked in recent weeks that they may feel they have seen it before.

An even bigger crowd was in the stadium to see a second and final major dress rehearsal on Wednesday.

Having invested so much money in the show – an extra £41 million was allocated to all the ceremonies earlier this year – plenty is at stake.

Make it right and it will give the London Games exactly the launch pad it needs for the subsequent 16 days. Make it wrong and organisers will be on the back foot.

The last big problem for Locog before the curtain is raised could come from transport. On Wednesday, the notorious Olympic lanes were turned on for the first time. How the road network copes is already one of the biggest headache for organisers.

Rogge said he was sure London did everything right and were set up to stage a successful Games. He added that if Team GB can set off to a golden start then the whole country would stand behind the Games.

There will be a few more jitters before the cauldron is lit on Friday night – but organisers are hoping Rogge’s optimism and confidence will start to be reflected by everyone as London enters the home straight. – BBC News



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