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November 2008

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November 2008

Enjoying the rare privilege yesterday of standing in the Long Room at Lord's within a few feet of the (tiny) urn containing the Ashes, I was transported thousands of miles back to my childhood and endless (frankly, boring) summer Sunday afternoons in parks while my Dad played as part of a pub cricket team.

That sparked a memory of watching my Mum playing netball – the reason I took up the sport at all – and an image came to mind of her wearing driving gloves to play because she was so cold. This brought me to the memory of...

Read more of “What does sport mean to you?”

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This month I was fortunate enough to take to the skies over the Olympic Park. I was there with our photographer to capture all the recent changes and developments on the Park with our latest set of aerial photographs

The last time the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Filming team was airborne was back in June and the set of pictures that we returned with this time show just how much progress has been made on the Park.

Paul in the helicopter

From up in the air the Olympic Stadium already looks spectacular.  The steel seating supports on the south stand gives...

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With anything up to four Host Cities at any one time, plus bidding cities and numerous other commitments and charitable work that the IOC undertake, getting time in the IOC President's diary is not easy. So we were thrilled to have an hour of Jacques Rogge's time this morning, in between the Beijing Debrief, which meant we were able to host a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Village site.

Rogge_Coe on Olympic Park bus

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On Friday, November 21, at the behest of Nations and Regions Coordinator, Tanya, I was in the impressive Dolphin Centre in sunny Darlington, for a Local Authority London 2012 event. This was a result of a local partnership between Tier One partner Lloyds TSB, ONE NorthEast, Sport England, the Assoc. of NE Councils and Public Health NE - designed to explore how London 2012 could benefit communities and businesses in the region.

Although I didn't see any dolphins in the swimming pool on site, I did however see a ground swell of excitement over how the Games in 2012 might stimulate innovative...

Read more of “Who put the 'darling' into Darlington? Finding out in the North East”

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Chairing yesterday evening's proceedings at the annual Pierre de Coubertin lecture held was hugely exciting for me as my role as Chair of the Culture, Ceremonies and Education team is all about delivering Pierre de Coubertin's vision of marrying sport and culture for the 2012 Games.

The lecture was held in conjunction with the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and the British Olympic Foundation.

Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, gave the keynote speech - 'Advancing the Games: the IOC, London 2012 and the future of de Coubertin's Olympic Movement'. He shared with the audience...

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I have worked at London 2012 for over four years - and have enjoyed some great experiences - but today was a pretty special day.

Read more of “Me, the All Blacks and a new adiZone”

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A nice early start set me off on my journey to Heath Primary School in Ipswich. I had to be there for a 9am start along with Olympic Fencer Richard Kruse. Heath Primary School had been lucky enough to win an athlete visit to their school due to submitting an amazing idea telling us about their Paralympic Handover celebrations.

This was part of the 'gold medal idea' competition a scheme produced by a school contacting us with their plans on how they were going to celebrate Paralympic Handover. Every two weeks the school with the best idea was announced as...

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Last week members of the London 2012 Procurement team and I travelled up to the Bolton Wanderers Football Stadium for the start of two days of business events in the region.

That evening I hosted a dinner for leading business figures from the North West to find out more about their views on London 2012 and how the region was reacting to the contract opportunities that are being generated. There were a good mixture of businesses working on the project, and umbrella business organisations who wanted to mobilise their members to push for London 2012 contracts.

It was an early start the...

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So London is in the very teeth of an economic storm. This was a week when the human face of this financial tsunami was vividly there for all to see, with thousands learning that their jobs are part of the price of the global downturn.
And yet this was also a week in which this most resilient of cities showed its creative heart beating as healthily as ever.

For three days the nation's village hall - The Royal Albert Hall - hosted thousands of school children from all around the UK in Music for Youth's Schools Proms. The calibre and...

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It was fun going to ODA offices recently with the rest of the Construction Crew, the views were fantastic from the 22nd floor, we could see all the buildings and the Olympic Park.

Construction Crew members

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Earlier this week I had the pleasure of going to Northern Ireland with Seb Coe and Angela, the head of our Nations and Regions team, to help promote some of the opportunities the 2012 Games have created in Northern Ireland. 

The day started with organising a radio interview for Seb with 'Good Morning Ulster'. Once we'd found each other at Heathrow, Seb phoned in live to the programme from the departure lounge. During the call - and albeit in some competition with the airport's tannoy system - Seb set out his ambition for the day and answered the presenter's questions on progress...

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This week work started to remove the first of 52 pylons on the Olympic Park. Watch this video to find out more about the task of switching the power on the Park underground.

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Today we released our annual Sustainable design and construction update on the progress we are making towards meeting our main sustainability commitments on the Olympic Park. As part of this I filmed my first video blog to explain the ODA’s approach on carbon, water, waste, materials, biodiversity and environmental management.

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Since we returned from Beijing, things don't seem to have stopped for me. The public support for Team GB has been immense and this was evident in the fantastic reception we received during the open-top bus tour through the streets of London. Media interest around the team has also gone through the roof and I even got the opportunity to present an awards at the MOBOs last month which was simply amazing!

Over the past few weeks I've been helping to launch the EDF Energy Programme for Greener Schools, an interactive programme designed to help pupils learn...

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On Monday, LOCOG Chief Executive Paul Deighton was invited to ‘Celebrate Excellence’ during his annual nations and regions visit to Yorkshire. This time it was the turn of Leeds - and specifically Leeds Metropolitan University - to host the visit and give us an insight into the abundance of inspirational activity taking place in the region. From sport, to culture and back to sport again, our day was packed to say the least but we came away with a grin on our faces and rather full stomachs after a day of fine Yorkshire fayre at every stop!

But before all...

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75p out of every £1 spent on the Games will be spent on projects that will have a long term legacy benefit, and my personal favourite that falls under this category is the Parklands.

Inspired by the Victorian and post-war pleasure and festival gardens, visitors to the Park during the Games will enjoy broad sweeping lawns and footpaths leading down to riverbanks, ample seating and public spaces throughout the Park with live screens showing the sporting action, as you can see from this computer generated image here:
 
Parklands

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Yesterday LOCOG hosted its latest regional briefing for MPs and Peers from the North East of England.

NE Parliamentarians drop in

Compared to other regions, the North East is actually quite small in the number of MPs, so I was nervous we would not get a great turnout – but my nervousness was misplaced. The turnout was hugely impressive, with MPs from across the region (from Durham, Hexham, Stockton, Tyne Bridge, Bishop Auckland, Blaydon and elsewhere) all crowding into a room to find out more about the impact of the Games on their constituencies and the broader region....

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Take a look at the past and future of Stratford Regional Station by seeing the new hoardings now up at the station. They reveal a fascinating story of the station’s past, but also look to the future, showing how it will be improved for the London 2012 Games and long into the future. 

The hoardings are situated at the front of the station, where the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is building a new entrance. This is part of an investment of more than £100m to improve Stratford Regional Station for the growing number of people who will use it before, during and after the Games....

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Watch this video to see some of the improvements being made at Stratford Regional Station, which will be one of the main gateway stations to the London 2012 Games.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is investing more than £100m to boost accessibility and capacity at the station, through new lifts, a new entrance, a new platform, less-congested platforms and an additional subway.

Work will be finished by the end of 2010, meaning that passengers will benefit from these improvements before, during and long after the Games.

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Watch a video showing some of the new designs of the Parklands areas in the Olympic Park.
 
The designs were launched this week by Phillips Idowu, Olympic silver medallist, David Higgins ODA Chief Executive, Paul Deighton, LOCOG Chief Executive and George Hargreaves Landscape Architect, Hargreaves Associates.

The video also includes views from some local residents that attended one of the pre-planning application consultation events.

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