POSTED: April 23rd 2009

High marks again for London 2012

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: London 2012 is riding the effects of the world financial recession, as far as the International Olympic Committee is concerned.

Denis Oswald, president of the co-ordination commission, gave the work of Lord Seb Coe and his organising team a resounding vote of confidence at the conclusion of its latest assessment visit.

Last time around Oswald awarded London a mark of nine and a half out of 10. This time he said: “We are very close to 10 but I don’t want to be pressed to give a mark every time I come here. We have to leave something to be said in the Closing Ceremony!”

Oswald reported “very productive meetings” and said his team had been “deeply impressed” by the progress in venue construction. He added: “The stadium itself is impressive, also the Village and the swimming pool. We know everything is on time and some things ahead of schedule. This gives us a very good feeling more than three years before the Games.”

Oswald sidestepped contentious local issues concerning venues for the boxing and equestrian competitions. He also noted that lessons from Berijing included the need to revise the sports programmes with shorter sessions to improve ticketing flexibity.

He added: “We were also briefed on the legacy aspect which is very important for LOCOG, the London population, the country and also the IOC.”

Much of the legacy potential depends on the strength and depth of the financial investment, an issue which has come even more strongly to the fore since the world financial crash.

Oswald said: “We know the world is going through difficult times but LOCOG has a strong commercial policy and had been able to secure a high amount of sponsorship before the crisis. The remainder needed is comparatively limited and should be assured. The logistics and preparation are not being affected by the world financial crisis.

“The recession is a world problem and I don’t think the preparation of the Games is being affected because LOCOG has been quite cautious and successful in its sponsorship program.

“In addition, in the government’s latest budget there are contingency plans which can be used – and will be used – partly for the Village so that construction will not be delayed. The money will probably will come back when the properties of the Village are sold again.”

He concluded: “We have been very impressed by the quality of the work. It’s in very good hands and we are confident of having excellent Games in 2012.”

Keywords · London 2012 · Olympic Games · IOC · Oswald · Coe

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