Olympics 2008 News
IOC hails London Olympic preparations on last inspection tour
Mar 28, 2012, 13:29 GMT
London - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Wednesday gave the 'thumbs up' to Britain's preparations for the Olympic Games, which are due to kick off in London in four months' time.
'We are happy at the IOC,' IOC President Jacques Rogge said at the start of a three-day inspection tour of Olympic venues - the last by the organization before the Games begin on July 27.
'I am confident that we will have great Games,' he said. 'But we all know that the proof of the pudding is in the eating,' added the Belgian.
He singled out as exemplary British efforts to secure a 'lasting legacy' of the Olympic Games and the Paralympics, which follow at the end of August.
'London has raised the bar on how to deliver a lasting legacy. We can already see tangible results in the remarkable regeneration of East London. This great historical city has created a legacy blueprint for future Games hosts,' said Rogge.
His glowing compliments, expressed at a news conference after talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, were clearly much appreciated by the British leader, who in turn pledged to deliver the 'greatest show on earth' in London this summer.
I think it is time to tear up any notion of the Olympics leaving behind white elephants,' said Cameron, referring to the government's ambitious legacy blueprint, entitled 'Beyond 2012.'
However, Rogge's warning that success could only finally be claimed once the Games were over will have given the planners in London food for thought.
Even though the British government can lay some claim to having achieved an impressive level of preparation, the issues of transport and security remain a major headache.
The government has admitted that original estimates for security have more than doubled since planning began, but insists that overall costs for the Olympics will not exceed the current target of 9.3 billion pounds (14 billion dollars).
However, a parliamentary committee recently predicted that the final figure would be closer to 11 billion pounds.
Cameron, meanwhile, remains upbeat.
'I hope we will have a sporting event with a security operation, and not a security operation with a sporting event,' he said of the security challenge.
He was confident that transport infrastructure improvements would be in place to deliver not only a great sporting and cultural event for London, but also bring long-term economic benefit for Britain.
'I am acutely aware that the drive to embed and secure the benefits of London 2012 is still to come. That is our biggest challenge. It's also our greatest opportunity,' said Cameron.
The Olympic Games will take place from July 27 to August 12, to be followed by the Paralympics from August 29 to September 9.
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