London 2012 - Welcome to the Games
For most of the world the build-up to the Olympic Games has been four years at most. For the host city it has been considerably longer.
It is the best part of two decades since the plan for a third British Olympics was hatched and it is a touch over seven years since London was dramatically awarded the Games, ahead of Paris and Madrid, on 6th July 2005. London’s journey since then from successful bidder to Olympic host city has been, all things considered, a smooth one, especially when compared with the well-documented experiences of certain recent hosts of the biggest sporting event in the world.
That is not to say that preparations have been perfect – how could they be given the scale of the event and its all encompassing nature, stretching across political, social and economic lines? Complaints about a seemingly ever-expanding budget, which contrasted sharply with a severe economic backdrop, and the sometimes woeful ticketing strategy and operation have become virtual national pastimes over the past few years. Put in a global perspective, however, and these are but minor missteps during what has been a quite brilliantly choreographed period of preparation. Locog chairman Sebastian Coe and his chief executive Paul Deighton will doubtless receive rich rewards once the Paralympic Games conclude in early September, assuming no catastrophes transpire during the heat of competition, and deservedly so.
"London’s journey from successful bidder to Olympic host city has been, all things considered, a smooth one, especially when compared with the well-documented experiences of certain recent hosts of the biggest sporting event in the world"
With London 2012 finally upon us we decided to dedicate the August edition of SportsPro entirely to the many different business aspects of the Olympic Games, focusing first and foremost on London, the city in which SportsPro is based, but also on wider global Olympic issues – a sort of barometer of where the movement sits on the eve of its standout event. The future of Olympic sponsorship is predicted, while current worldwide Olympic partners Coca- Cola and Dow Chemical outline exactly how the Olympics work for them; EDF provides the perspective of a London 2012 partner and Puma chief executive Franz Koch offers an outside-the-ropes brand viewpoint; London’s Olympic Delivery Authority chairman Sir John Armitt reflects on seven years of intense build-up, while Olympic Park masterplanners from Aecom explain the thinking behind the revitalisation of one of London’s most downtrodden areas; host broadcaster Olympic Broadcasting Services plus NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel and the BBC’s Olympics chief Dave Gordon detail the extraordinary effort of taking the Games to the world; and the United States and Canadian Olympic Committees paint a picture of the health of the Olympic Movement across the Atlantic.
Living and working in an Olympic host city and experiencing the build-up first hand, day to day, can at times leave you a touch exasperated. Occasionally it can make you more than a little cynical – and let no one tell you there is no cynicism or even apathy around London as the Olympic flame makes its scenic way to town. There is. For some the build-up has been nothing but tedious and the Games will never be anything other than an inconvenience.
For this London dweller at least, though, and it seems for many others judging by the mood in the capital over the past few days, exasperation and cynicism fall some way behind excitement about what lies ahead. Excitement for the sport, yes, but also for the atmosphere, the jamboree and all the assorted paraphernalia the Olympic circus brings with it when it rolls into town.
Hopefully that excitement carries through our Olympic-flavoured issue and here on the website because, make no mistake, these are special days for a special city.
The August edition of SportsPro examines all aspects of the Olympic experience and movement: the venues, host nation impact, politics, sponsorship and broadcasting, featuring exclusive in-depth interviews with influential figures responsible for making the Games happen. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.
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