The London Olympics may be just under 18 months away, but things are starting to crank up a gear in preparation for the greatest multi-sport event on the globe.
Today sees the release of the final event schedule for the games, along with the all-important ticket prices. The tickets themselves will go on sale a month from today, with the organizers operating a ballot system for those events/sessions that are oversubscribed. It hardly seems like 5 minutes ago when I was glued to the TV waiting anxiously to see the announcement on whether the games would be awarded to Paris (the favourites) or London. That was actually the best part of 6 years ago – yes, “6 (six)” ,as the old Grandstand teleprinter would say! And now we are at the point where we can say that the Olympics will be taking place here next year.
The athletics – most people’s flagship sport of the Olympics – will begin on August 3rd, running through to the last day of the games on August 12th. The blue riband event of the men’s 100m race will take place on August 5th. The full schedule of events for all 26 sports can be found on the London 2012 website.
In other Olympic related news, the decision was made last week to confer “preferred bidder” status on West Ham United to take over the Olympic stadium once the Paralympics have been completed in September 2012. West Ham were up against Tottenham Hotspur in the battle for the stadium, or the stadium site to be more accurate as Spurs intended to knock down the stadium itself and build their own in its place. Neither bid was 100% perfect, and by all accounts the fans of both clubs were not too enthusiastic about moving to the Stratford site.
To my mind the West Ham proposal was the more honourable – the club already have a home in the same borough and intend to keep the athletics track in place, whereas Spurs intend to move away from their traditional North London base, bulldoze the stadium, and remove the athletics track although they would renovate the Crystal Palace athletics stadium as a compensation. Part of the bid to host the games was the promise that athletics would have a legacy from London 2012 at the Olympic Park. Spurs proposals would obviously go against this promise. So it is understandable that the Olympic Park Legacy Company chose the West Ham bid as preferable.
However, as a football fan, I have to say that I hate watching games that are played in athletics stadia. The action is taking place too far away from the crowd and the atmosphere is completely lost. So, whilst I believe that the correct decision was made, I can’t say I am looking forward to the resultant compromise venue that will be West Ham’s new home. Sometimes, I guess, there really is no correct answer.