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SBD Global/July 11, 2012/Olympics

'Long Spells Of Rain' Could Soak Olympics Venues, Spectators

With the U.K.'s national weather service "predicting showers and long spells of rain" for the opening week of the Olympics, the lack of cover on most of London’s outdoor venues "is likely to leave spectators bedraggled," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. Around 40% of the seats in the Olympic Stadium are uncovered, "including all of those closest to the track that are among the most expensive." The configuration of the stadium roof means that at least some of those paying £295 ($458) or more for a seat "will get wet" if it rains. All those "in the cheap seats," by contrast, will be dry, as they are "furthest from the track and beneath the partial roof." The hockey venue in the Olympic Park and beach volleyball, on Horse Guards Parade, are "both entirely uncovered," as are stands for the equestrian events in Greenwich Park, the marathon and cycling road races, and the BMX track. Tennis venue Wimbledon has one covered court. Organizers are confident that the opening ceremony "can cope with any weather except hailstones or a serious electrical storm." A London 2012 spokesperson said, “Our message to spectators is to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly" (TELEGRAPH, 7/9). In London, Frank Praverman wrote spare a thought for the London Oranising Committee, which is trying to finalize its venue preparation for a deadline that won’t wait." The Games will go on "come hell or high water." LOCOG has confirmed the construction of temporary facilities, which have been left to the last minute to reduce costs remained "on track." LOCOG Head of Media Joanna Manning-Cooper said "We planned for both good weather and not-so-good weather." Manning-Cooper said that LOCOG "would have been mad not to have been prepared" for the possibility of a wet English summer. They have protected all the fields of play and spectator areas in temporary venues by laying trackway to "prevent them becoming a quagmire" due to foot and vehicle traffic. They have "done all they can" but even they cannot have anticipated that it would be "as wet as this" (LONDON TIMES, 7/10).
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