LOCOG Officials Optimistic Six Months From The Start Of Olympics
The Opening Ceremony of the London Games is exactly six months away, and LOCOG still has some “major challenges -- transportation and security -- but organizers say that long before the final torch is lit ... they’ll be ready to go,” according to NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk. The “main venues are finished, on budget and on time.” Gosk: “Among the highlights of the $11 billion project: A sleek velodrome; an aquatic center christened with a dive from one of Britain's Gold Medal hopefuls, Tom Daley; and the centerpiece, the main stadium that will hold 80,000 cheering fans.” A “massive operation is getting ready” in terms of security. There will be a “combination force of police, military and thousands of security guards.” Dogs that “search for explosives are in short supply,” so they are “being pulled from units in Afghanistan to come back to help.” Officials said that all the preparation is to “make sure this is not only a smooth Olympics, but a memorable one.” Gosk notes expectations “are high after Beijing,” and London is “hoping to do even better, giving Oscar Award-winning Director Danny Boyle everything he needs for the performance, including lots of money.” LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the United Kingdom. Billions of people will be watching that ceremony and I think it's a very appropriate investment” (“Today,” NBC, 1/27). In DC, Karla Adam reports while construction of the Olympic Park has "proceeded relatively smoothly," concerns over "security, transportation logistics and cost overruns remain." London has been "accused of woefully underestimating the costs of securing the 34 venues," and the government "recently announced that it would nearly double its budget and assign 13,500 troops to help guard venues and assist police" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/27).
OPENING CEREMONY DETAILS: The GUARDIAN's Owen Gibson reports Boyle Friday for the first time unveiled a "handful of carefully selected details of his vision" for the Opening Ceremony. Nurses, children and the "biggest bell in Europe" will be part of the Opening Ceremony, which will be titled "The Isles of Wonder." The ceremony is "inspired by William Shakespeare's The Tempest." Stephen Daldry, who is overseeing the artistic vision, said the title encapsulates the "heritage, diversity, energy, inventiveness, wit and creativity that defines the British Isles." Boyle said that the ceremony "would not have the scale of Beijing in 2008 but would aim to match the humanity of Sydney in 2000." Boyle: "The scale of Beijing was breathtaking and the beauty of Athens is very inspiring. But I have to say that Sydney is something that has inspired us because it got the feel of a people's Games right. Given the economy, the reduction in scale is inevitable. But what has been amazing is that the stadium has already begun that process and has gone for an intimacy that we hope to make part of the Games" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 1/27).