Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We Have A Date in 2012

The games was over in 16 days but the impression will last for a much longer time.

After Beijing wrapped up the highly successful 2008 Olympics, some attention was shifted to the next host, London. It is difficult to imagine that the British will bother to put in the same determination to win the world over. Not that they need to.
For a start, their people will not be seen picking up English feverishly. When Beijing won the bid in 2001, one of the items on their 'to-do' list was to encourage their people to learn English. The effort was fairly visible but far from enough to change Beijing into a English-proficient city.

Let's get back to London.

What is London doing to be ready in four years' time? They already have the world's most expensive stadium: the Wembley Stadium, completed in 2007, with a whooping cost of £778 million. But the focus of the 2012 games will be on the Olympic Park in East London. The progress of the building was reported to be on schedule.

When London Mayor Boris Johnson took over the Olympic flags from China on 24 Aug 2008, one of the issues which he might be thinking of at that moment is security. He has good reasons to be concerned. London won the bids on 6 July 2005. The celebration was rudely disrupted when the 7 July bombing incident killed 52 people on the capital's public transport. Understandably, security will be a big ticket item on their budget list.

The overall budget is the biggest headache. The original budget set aside was £2.5 billion. It has since blown up four times to £9.3 billion. In the next four years, do expect some discussions and debates on London's ability to tame the spiraling budget. When the Wembley Stadium was built, they experienced pretty serious cost and time overruns. When the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow was launched, the initial 'wow' soon turned into moans and groans as the readiness was terribly lacking. Looks like London need to do some image corrections.

At the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, we saw the new host putting up some illustrative performances to tease to world on what to expect in 2012. Many would remember the double-decker bus and the bicycles. The message from the organisers on their preferred mode of transport during the next Olympics was quite clear. They want the visitors to arrive at the Olympics by public transport, on bicycle or on foot. It will be interesting to see how London tune their public transport system to ferry millions of people in and out of the Olympic Park.

Well, they have about four years before the 30th Summer Olympics opens on 27 Jul 2012.


Other Olympics Stories:

From The Ancient Greece To The Middle Kingdom


The Gold Rush and The Medal Drought

The Human Sailfish

Will You Eat That Humble Pie?

The Human Race To Infinity

The Real Fighters In Sports

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