Andrew MitchellFCO Director for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, London
Imagine the scene. A 1500-seat stadium appears on Horseguards Parade, as if dropped from a visiting spaceship. Men in grey suits, lately disgorged from the corridors of Whitehall, clapping politely as rain and sunshine alternate overhead and lycra-clad sporting heroes high-five to the sound of Lady Gaga. The aroma of Cornish Pasties wafts over from the direction of the Downing Street garden. No one quite knows where to look next. This is going to be a very British Olympics, make no mistake.
For those of you that haven’t spent time around the London campus this month I should explain that this is the Olympic Beach Volleyball test event. And what’s a test event, you may ask? Well, several Olympic sports will run competitive tournaments this summer to allow the organisers, LOCOG, to road-test processes, venues, security, logistics and planning in the locations that will host the Games next summer. So across London the Olympic and Paralympic venues are being put through their paces. And, yes, it’s suddenly all very real.
Those of us working in London have a particular interest in all this because the Games will be a big and visible part of our daily lives in summer next year. Imagine marathon runners charging down the Mall and St James’s Park a jamboree of Volleyball pundits decked in the flags of nations from Sweden to China. For all that this means plenty of head-scratching and planning for the Olympics team, the test events are a real reminder of what we’re here for. A very British Olympics. We’ll have ‘em eating pasties yet...”
12 August 2011