As the saying goes, the third time is the charm.
And for the 2012 London Olympics it happens to be the perfect saying for the occasion.
The XXX Olympiad is set to begin tomorrow evening with the opening ceremony and it will mark the third time that London has hosted the international competition. With that said, it will be the first time that the city has welcomed the event.
Twice before, London has hosted the Olympics but both times it has been unplanned or a makeshift event
In 1908 the Olympics were scheduled for Rome but the massive eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 1906 threw a wrench into those plans. Disaster-relief funds depleted the money that was set aside to host the games, so holding them there was out of the question. The world need someone to step up and host the event and that’s where London came in. Then in 1948, when few countries were willing to take on the responsibility of hosting the games due to the postwar recovery efforts, London stepped up again. What is now referred to as the “Austerity Games” was a low-budget effort made by London to ease back into the spirit of competition after years of fighting.
As for the 2012 London Olympics, they will be far from a makeshift effort. The English have invested well over $15 billion in infrastructure upgrades, construction and security. Furthermore, that astounding total does not even account for putting on the events or providing for the athletes. It all adds up to provide the best experience for fans traveling to support their country and they are in for a treat.
Bringing back the Olympic games to London has spurred the renovation and opening of dozens of hotels and improvements to existing facilities to accommodate the flood of visitors and athletes. The preparations are staggering and the effects of all the improvements to London’s infrastructure will last for years to come.
The only tough thing to come by in London these days will be tickets to the events since almost all were sold out in advance. However, there will be plenty of major events to witness for free including the historic London marathon. The marathon in the 1908 games established the modern distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, which is now the standard for events all over the world. This year’s event will start in the heart of the city and take a great scenic route along the Thames, circle around St. Paul’s Cathedral, loop around the Tower of London, return along the Thames to Big Ben before passing Buckingham Palace and ending back on the Mall. There will be multiple spots along the way for spectators to take in one of the highlights of the Olympic games.
One other event that will attract sightseers will be the beach volleyball matches. These matches will be played on makeshift courts in front of the prime minister’s residence at Horse Guards Parade. It has been said that playing there is the equivalent of playing the games on the front lawn of the White House. Talk about presenting the games.
The crown jewel of the XXX Olympiad is the Olympic Park. What was once a factory and warehouse positioned on a wasteland is now one of the center pieces for this year’s games. As part of the Park is the $400 million state-of-the-art Aquatics Centre that will be part of the city’ Olympic legacy for centuries to come. In the very middle of Olympic Park sits the Olympic Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
It’s set to be one of the most iconic Olympics in the history of the games and for London, it will be something that they will welcome and embrace with open arms for the first time.
Get ready, the XXX Olympiad’s begin in less than 24 hours and London is calling. Time for the world to answer.