With exactly 199 days to go until the Games, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) yesterday outlined the next stages in preparing for the two biggest sporting events on the planet this summer.
Following completion by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) of the main structures on the Olympic Park, the site was officially handed over to LOCOG to begin transforming it into a fully-operational venue.
Dennis Hone, ODA Chief Executive, said: ‘We hand the Olympic Park to the Organising Committee fully confident that they will continue pressing ahead on their preparations so that London 2012 becomes a brilliant once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience for everyone involved.’
LOCOG will now commence ‘ramping-up’ work to fit out venues and stage testing and licensing events. This will include constructing 100,000 square feet of Games-time retail space, installing the ‘look and feel’ of the Games throughout the Park and sourcing a million pieces of sport equipment.
LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said yesterday : ‘The handover of the Olympic Park sounds the starting pistol in the race to get the site and venues ready to host the two biggest sporting events on the planet.
‘In just 200 days time, 200 countries – more than the membership of the United Nations – will be sending 15,000 athletes and 20,000 accredited media to London to create history.’
‘Maximise the benefits’
As part of the milestone celebrations, Prime Minister David Cameron met British London 2012 diving hopefuls in the Aquatics Centre..
David Cameron said: ‘As Ministers visit Olympic venues, businesses, schools and organisations associated with 2012 right across the UK, I want the message to go out loud and clear, from tourism to business, sport to investment, we are determined to maximise the benefits of 2012 for the whole country.’
Games-time venue names
LOCOG has also released details of new Games-time names for two venues in the Olympic Park. The new names are:
Riverbank Arena (formerly Hockey Centre). The venue will host Hockey events during the Olympic Games and 5-a-side and 7-a-side Football at the Paralympic Games. The new name reflects the venue’s location next to the River Lea in the Olympic Park.
Copper Box (formerly Handball Arena). The venue will host Olympic Handball and the Fencing discipline of the Modern Pentathlon, then Goalball during the Paralympic Games. The new name reflects the venue’s boxed-shape and distinct copper cladding, helping create a visual reference for spectators travelling to the venue.