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spikegifted - London 2012 - London's bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

Progress of London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics

July 2005:
February 2005: The IOC Evaluation Commission arrived in London to assess London's suitability as host for the 2012 Olympics. After a four event-packed days, the IOC Commission went away happy. Personally, I feel the bid team is doing a heck of a good job linking the themes, the cultures, the lifestyle and the energy that London possesses in abundance. They are bringing the right kind of enthusiasm to the whole bid, from a broad spectrum of people - local residents, politicians, athletes past and present, businesses and people living outside the capital. It is still a long road ahead, and even if London manages to beat the other Candidate Cities to host the Games, there is much work to do. However, I think we're on the right track, progressing at the right pace and doing the right things at the right time. Now that the technical stuff is out of the way and Evaluation Commission came and gone, it is all down to the lobbying and decision making. Let's hope that London has left the Commission with the right impressions.
November 2004: This has to be one of the most important dates in the Olympic bidding calendar. London and other Candidate Cities for the 2012 Olympics handed in their technical plans (or otherwise known as 'Candidate Files') for their respective bids for the Games. The London Candidate File, and I'm sure like others', is one giant document - over 600 pages in length and come in three volumes. It covers every aspect of London's bid, from politics and economics to culture to infrastructure, no issue is too small to address. If anyone doesn't know anything about a Candidate City, he/she will have a pretty good idea after going through one of these files, nor would he/she fail to be impressed by the imagination of each of the Bid Cities. Now that we have set up what we have to do, let's go and do it!
May 2004: London, along with four other cities (Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow), has been selected as 'Candidate Cities' for the 2012 Olympics! For the next few months, it is the task of the bid organization to 'flesh out' London's bidding proposal, addressing all the issues including: financing of the Games, transportation and infrastructure, Games securities, post-Game utilization of facilities, etc. While London is not the favorite city (that honor goes to Paris), we are in an excellent position and as long as the bid organization can secure total political and public support, full financing for the Games and commitment for proposed transportation and infrastructure projects, London should be in a very strong position to win.
January 2004: After months of intense preparation, London 2012 submitted it's 'pitch book' to the IOC. This 37-page pitch book contains answers to every 'why' and 'how' that will be asked of the 'applicant cities'. As a Londoner, I'm proud to be living and working in city that has such ambitions demonstrated in the pitch book. While it is immediately obvious that London and its citizens are a long way from being totally ready for such a project, this pitch book lays out the blue print for London's future. This is an incredibly exciting time.
July 2003: As with any large public project, politics enter the frame. After weeks of political arguments, the organizers of the London 2012 finally secured government backing for the bid. The British Olympic Association submitted London as an official applicant city to the IOC. One simply can't fail to notice that the government and politicians are giving less than whole-hearted support for London's bid. Of course, it all comes back to the financing of such a project. The short-sightedness of some politicians is simply unbelievable! The social and economic benefit to London and to the nation far outweigh any financial cost of this investment.
May 2003: After much talk but little substance, London announced that it is to bid for the Olympic Games in 2012. Let's hope it can successfully bring the first Olympics Games to London since 1948!

Bidding to host the 2012 Olympics!!

London, one of the greatest cities in the world, has just launched it bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. London, the city that I've been living, studying and working in for the past 15 years, is attempting to woe the judges from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with its facilities, history, culture, transport, economics, people, enthusiasm and its ability to 'put on a good show'. Everyone who has seen the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney would agree that the Australians, and the people of Sydney, put on a very successful Olympics. Can London reproduce or surpass such achievements?

London has a lot to offer
London has one of the most diverse cultural and ethnical make-up in Europe, if not the world, nearly every major or cultural ethnic group is represented here. It is one of the premiere visitor destinations in Europe and hence the city and the people are accustomed to dealing with large number of visitors. London has excellent transport links via rail and via planes to Western Europe and to the rest of the world. London has a long tradition of supporting the Olympic Games, when in 1908 and 1948, the city answered the request from the IOC. And last but not least, sports is such a major part of the lives of people of London - football, rugby, tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, cycling, cricket, etc. The list goes on and on. By hosting the Games in London, the event will be supported by the most enthusiastic people the Games have experienced.

Image isn't everything, it's the substance that counts
While it is all very positive to announce our intention to bid for the Games and inform people how great it would be for London and the Olympic Games if the Games are hosted here, it is an entirely different issue to convince people that we are in a position to deliver the goods. While the Games that London is bidding to host are still eight years away, the city and bidding organization have to demonstrate the ability to deliver the Games - and there are a multitude of concerns London and the organizers have to address before the city can become a serious contender.

Hurdle One: Venues
First, let's start with the venues. The proposed site for the Olympic Stadium is currently derelict. While that in itself is not necessarily a problem there will it means that there is an uncertainty to the completion of the stadium. Compare with competing cities like Paris where there is already a full-size Olympic-standard stadium in Stad de France, London's proposal requires a large dose of imagination. The bid organizers are keen to spread the Games to various sites in and around London. That's a good idea, utilizing existing, historical, functional or other under used structures to minimize cost and maximize the public's attachment to existing sporting facilities. However, this approach runs the risk of loosing the focus of the primary site, scattering the judges' attention and potentially losing the coherence of the bid. Another potential problem with the Games scattered over too many sites is the problem with transport.

Hurdle Two: Transport
Now that we have mentioned transport, just let me say one thing that nearly everyone living and working in London will agree - London's public transport sucks! Having the oldest sub-terrain train system is one thing, having an efficient and functioning system is quite another. Can you imagine the damage it would cause to the bid if the inspection committee got stuck in one of the London Underground trains. There has to be a massive injection of money to improve, update, renovate and generally tidy up the entire Underground network. That includes the stations, the trains, the tracks, the signaling... That's pretty much the entire system and not something you can completely overhaul overnight and it will cost a princely sum! The over-ground trains are another problem altogether. Like it's underground cousin, similar problems exist and the scale is equally daunting. The other component of public transport is the buses. While there are hundreds and thousands of buses in London, the city's congestions are grinding this form of public transport to a halt. While the Congestion Charge operating in the center of London is bringing down the level of congestion, there is no guarantee that this method will improve the speed of traffic in the city in the long run. All in all, London has to invest heavily into its various forms of public transport and come up with some innovative solutions to the city's congestion problems.

Hurdle Three: 'Regeneration'
Finally, the whole project is overly reliant on 'regeneration'. While it is great that Olympic project will result in regeneration of a large part of east London in a huge scale, aren't we putting out the wrong message? In effect, the bid is suggesting that those derelict parts of London will probably remain as they are unless we get to host the Olympics? That is simply not the case. The area of London that is proposed for the building of the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Village needs investments of no small amount in any case. Various governments since the 1980s have been talking about investing into the 'Thames Gateway' and surrounding area. Yet, after nearly 25 years of talk, we've yet to see any positive result. It is simply irresponsible to suggest that without the Olympic Games, this area will not be ear-marked for regeneration. That is simply not the case - it has been ear-marked for years, just that nothing have been done about it. A more positive message will be that a successful London bid will at impetus to the regeneration program and kick start the long-awaited revitalization of Thames Gateway.

London: The Winning Bid
It would sound like I'm not in favor of London bidding to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is not the case. London not only has the history, the culture, the enthusiasm and the people to win the right to host the Games, but also the ability to make the Games the most successful ever. However, success comes with a price tag. This price tag is not exclusive to the Olympic Games, but to generally revitalize a part of London that has been left behind and reinvigorate the whole city. The money needed to regenerate the Thames Gateway should have been invested long ago, but it hasn't. The money needed to improve London's public transport should have been invested long ago, but it hasn't. The rationalization and improvement of London traffic should have taken place long ago, but it hasn't. Now, with the announcement of the bid to host the Olympic Games, we should take this opportunity to refocus our efforts to make this city a world class city - one that Londoners can be really be proud of, not only of its history and heritage, but also of its future. Whether London is successful in its bid to host the Games is almost a secondary issue, it is far more important to use the successful bid as a scenario, as a benchmark, to improve London. The bid to host the 2012 Games should be part of an integral effort to bring this city into the 21st century. Our bid to host the Games may or may not be successful, but if we carry out the investments and regeneration regardless, London will still be the winner.

Artist's impression of the Olympic Park

Internal view of the main Olympic Stadium

London 2012 Homepage
London 2012: Milestones
A vision for the Olympic games and Paralympic Games (Bid Brochure, pdf)
10 Reasons Why
Questionnaire Response

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