London Moves Into Final Month Of Preparations
London moved into the final month of preparations for hosting the Olympic Games on Wednesday with "a new landmark to greet visitors, and a warning that some others would not be welcome," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. London Mayor Boris Johnson and LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe watched as "a giant set of interlocking Olympic rings were eased into place" on Tower Bridge across the River Thames. The rings, 25 metres wide and 11.5 metres tall, are a centrepiece of the "2012 look." They cost £260,000 ($404,500) to produce. However, "not everyone will be allowed to attend the party." Britain has already "refused a visa" for Syria National Olympic Committee Head General Mowaffak Joumaa, to travel to London. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that he expected "more exclusions in the days and weeks to come." Robertson said, "Any [applications] that are controversial are referred to the Foreign Office, the Home Office and myself as the Sports Minister, and we take decisions on a case by case basis" (REUTERS, 6/27). The PA reported that each of London's "famous bridges" will be lit in "a dazzling display of colour." Giant mobile Olympic rings will "travel up and down past famous waterfront landmarks." The Agitos, the "giant swirling symbol of the Paralympic movement," will replace the rings on Tower Bridge for the Paralympic Games (PA, 6/27). The London TELEGRAPH reported that Coe "remained bullish," insisting that London 2012 organisers "will have to work day and night until the very start of the Olympics" to prepare for the Games. Coe said, "We aren't complacent -- every day and every hour is as vital to us as it is to the athletes in this final countdown" (TELEGRAPH, 6/27). Meanwhile, TNN's Boria Mazumdar noted that it "wouldn't be unfair to suggest London is almost ready." There are still a few "niggling concerns that need to be ironed out." One of them is at Heathrow where the long queues and long waits at immigration "have been done away with." Meanwhile, East End is "all set to roll." Despite "apprehensions over the Olympics having completely altered the character and identity of this once rundown neighbourhood, there's little doubt that the regeneration of the area is now complete" (TNN, 6/27).
MUSIC IN THE AIR: In London, Alan Baldwin wrote that LOCOG unveiled a music program for the Games and "pledged to plug in to the crowd's energy and not drown it out." A library of 2,012 songs was compiled with "five musical themes – energy, primetime, extreme, heritage and world stage – tailored to occompany specific sports and venues." In a "Games first," ticket holders will be able to purchase in-ear wireless headsets for $15.60 to get live commentary at events that "might otherwise be confusing or unfamiliar" (REUTERS, 6/27).