Millions of People Around the UK Get Ready to Welcome the World to London for the 2012 Olympics
Whilst the UK gets ready to host the Games, LOCOG have announced that the world-famous aerobatic display team the Red Arrows will perform a nine-ship flypast in Big Battle formation across the UK to mark the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games (27 July), providing a stunning curtain raiser to the show. Flying over London 2012 Live Sites in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London before the Opening Ceremony begins, the iconic Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team will herald the start of the Games, and welcome the world in quintessentially British fashion. The Red Arrows are the public face of the Royal Air Force and are acknowledged as one of the world’s premier aerobatic teams. Within the UK, the Red Arrows exist to demonstrate the professional excellence of the Royal Air Force and promote recruitment to the Service.
Officer Commanding the Red Arrows, Red 1, Squadron Leader Jim Turner said, ‘The Red Arrows are honoured to have been invited to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Games celebrations to represent both the Royal Air Force and the very Best of British. My whole Squadron, pilots and ground support staff alike, share the pride and privilege of being part of such a special occasion.’
Millions of people around the UK are getting ready to welcome the world to London in 100 days time. 70,000 volunteers are already a significant way through the million hours of training they will receive ahead of the eight million hours of volunteering they will deliver; over eight million people have said in a recent survey they are getting ready to line the streets and cheer the thousands of community heroes carrying the Olympic flame around the UK; two million school children are learning about the values of the Games and the countries and cultures of the 10,000 plus athletes from over 200 National Olympic Committees coming to the UK and eight million Olympic and Paralympic tickets will be in the hands of British sports fans by the Summer.
London 2012 Live Sites will be among the destinations in 22 towns and cities across the UK for communities to come together and cheer on the athletes this summer. Up to 500,000 people per day are expected to celebrate the Games at Live Sites throughout the country, and watch the sporting action on the big screens. The sites, run in partnership between London 2012, the BBC and local authorities, and supported by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, partners BT and Lloyds TSB, and supporters Cisco and Cadbury, will become fully dedicated to London 2012 from May. Fully branded, there will be seating provided so crowds can watch the sporting action in style. Many Live Sites will also feature ‘have a go’ sessions for Olympic sports.
LOCOG also today unveiled the motto for the Games – ‘Inspire a generation’. Reflecting the promise made when London bid for the Games, the motto will appear on branding and publications in the run up to, and during, the Games.
Today sees the latest ‘spectacular’ installation of the Olympic rings unveiled – at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, west London. The rings, which are 50m long, will be made up of 20,000 plants and will be visible from the Heathrow flight path. The flowers were planted over a period of five days by a team of volunteers and Kew staff and consist of Pansy ‘Light Blue’, Viola ‘Clear Yellow’, Viola ‘Black Delight’, apple mint (Mentha suaveolens) and Viola ‘Red Blotch’ plants. They will be in full flower for the summer.
LOCOG, and its delivery partners, are getting ready for the Games – 31 out of 42 sport test events have been successfully completed, with the biggest test event to come in May, involving over 80,000 people on the Olympic Park for six events. In total, around 250,000 people will have attended the London Prepares series of test events.
Finally, preparations are well advanced for the London 2012 Festival - the country’s biggest ever arts festival which will see over 1,000 events held across the UK to welcome the world as part of the Cultural Olympiad. There will be 10 million free opportunities to take part in events across the UK.
Across the UK, thousands of people will be marking 100 days to go. At Weymouth and Portland, the venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions, a giant sandcastle has been built featuring the Olympic Rings. There will also be activities including have a go sessions and interactive video games at many Live Sites throughout the day on 18 April.
To celebrate the UK’s role in the birth of the modern Olympic movement, a total of 40 'Coubertin Oaks' oak trees are being planted at venues around the UK. Trees grown from acorns taken from an oak planted in 1890 during the visit of the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, Pierre de Coubertin, to the Wenlock Olympian Games will be planted at Kew Gardens; William Brookes School in Much Wenlock, Shropshire; the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum; and at the UPS London Central Centre, in Camden. Twenty-six Get Set schools will also plant oaks as part of this project.
IOC President Jacques Rogge said, ‘Organising the Olympics is a team effort and over the next hundred days, people from all walks of life and from all around the world will play their part in helping to make London 2012 a Games that will inspire a generation. From the athletes refining their technique, to the volunteers learning about their roles, to the torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame and the people supporting them as they go, each and every one of them is playing their part in making these a Games to remember. Around the world, the excitement is growing and expectations are high but I am confident that Britain and London will deliver a great sporting event and a warm welcome too.’
LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said, ‘With 100 days to go to the start of the Games, millions of people are getting ready to do the best work of their lives and welcome the world this summer. There is a groundswell of support and excitement, not just in the UK, but internationally as the final countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games begins. Whether it’s the competing athletes or people getting ready to join their communities in supporting Torchbearers on the streets of the UK, the whole world is getting ready for London. Expectations are high, and we won’t disappoint.’
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said, ‘The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are within touching distance now and there’s something incredibly exciting about that. The country is getting ready to welcome the world this summer, and it’s set to be an amazing celebration that we will never forget.’