News

London and Rio in good shape

8 July 2011

Lord Sebastian Coe has declared London is in “good shape” almost one year out from the start of the Olympic Games.

Coe, the Chairman of the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that construction is 88% completed, test events are underway and the Games are on budget.

He told the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa, “It is my ambition to get London across the line in a smooth and orderly fashion in 12 months time”.

Coe rejected suggestions the Games would cause transport chaos in the very busy streets of London.

“Let me bust myths,” he said.” Chaotic transport predictions are very wide of the mark. Dedicated lanes will not cause chaos on London’s roads and taxis will be welcome.

He was supported by the British Minister for the Olympics and Sport, Hugh Robertson, who said security at the Games is their number one priority.

“Last year we reviewed security, a national security council has been established and we will deliver a safe and secure games.”              

One year away the first test events are underway including the Equestrian course at Greenwich. Coe said the city has now “come alive” with the test events underway. But riders have complained about the venue surface in Greenwich. British Nations Cup rider David McPherson told British media: "The surface is nowhere near good enough. It needs an enormous amount of work."

Coe said LOCOG staff are now taking over the venues that are complete. “The dream is about to become a reality,” with the main stadium ready, velodrome and handball among others ready to go.

“We have made rapid progress on the (Athletes) Village and the project will be completed by the end of 2011”.

Coe admitted “there has been disappointment over ticketing. Demand for tickets has been unprecedented, we have 6m tickets and 23m ticket requests, we are sold out in 23 of 26 sports”.

Also in Durban, Rio de Janeiro Olympics chief Carlos Nuzman soothed fears about the city's preparations for the 2016 Olympics after criticism of Brazil's readiness for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Nuzman said the city has been laying the groundwork for the Olympics for almost a decade after their successful bid to host the 2007 Pan American Games.

"We are on board since 2002, when we had the Pan American Games," Nuzman told the IOC Session.

"There's some major positions that we started 10 years ago.

"Immediately after the Pan American Games - which were a success, they were the best Pan American Games ever - we immediately had the (Olympic) bid.

"We have the same team. It helped us a lot."

Mike Tancred
AOC - Durban