2012 Summer Olympics
Games of the XXX Olympiad
London Olympics 2012 logo.svg
This is the clear version of the official logo.
There are four official base colours, and another version for the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
For more details, see section "Logo" below.
Host city London, England, United Kingdom
Nations participating 141 (qualified)
204 (estimated)
Athletes participating 10,500 (estimated)
Events 302 in 26 sports
Opening ceremony 27 July
Closing ceremony 12 August
Stadium Olympic Stadium
2012 Summer Olympics
A London 2012 Olympics banner at The Monument in London.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad, are scheduled to take place in London, England, from 27 July to 12 August 2012.[1] London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times,[2][3] having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.[4][5]

London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris after four rounds of voting.[6] The successful bid was headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe.

The Olympics prompted a redevelopment of many of the areas of London in which the games are to be held – particularly themed towards sustainability.[7] While the budgetary considerations have generated some criticism,[8][9] the Games will make use of many venues which were already in place before the bid, including Wembley Stadium, Wembley Arena, Wimbledon All England Club, Lord's Cricket Ground, The O2 Arena, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, and the Excel Centre.


Bidding process

By the bid submission deadline of 15 July 2003, nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Olympics. These cities were Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York City, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.[10]

On 18 May 2004, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a result of a scored technical evaluation, reduced the number of cities to five: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Paris.[11]

By 19 November 2004, all five candidate cities had submitted their candidate file to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC inspection team visited the five candidate cities during February and March 2005. The Paris bid suffered two setbacks during the IOC inspection visit: a number of strikes and demonstrations coinciding with the visits and a report coming out that Guy Drut, one of the key members of the Paris bid team and IOC member, would face charges over alleged corrupt party political finances.[12]

On 6 June 2005, the International Olympic Committee released its evaluation reports for the five candidate cities. Although these reports did not contain any scores or rankings, the evaluation report for Paris was considered the most positive, now followed closely by London which had narrowed down most of the gap observed by the initial evaluation in 2004 regarding Paris. Also New York and Madrid obtained very positive evaluation reports.[13]

Throughout the process and up to the vote at the 117th IOC Session, Paris was widely seen as the favourite to win the nomination, particularly as this was its third bid in recent history. Originally London was seen lagging Paris by considerable margin; however, this started to improve with the appointment of Sebastian Coe as new head of London 2012 on 19 May 2004. In late August 2004, some reports started emerging predicting a London and Paris tie in the 2012 bid.[14] In the final run-up to the 117th IOC Session, London and Paris appeared to be increasingly in a neck-and-neck race. On 1 July 2005, Jacques Rogge, when asked who the winner would be, told the assembled press: "I cannot predict it since I don't know how the IOC members will vote. But my gut feeling tells me that it will be very close. Perhaps it will come down to a difference of say ten votes, or maybe less".[15]

On 6 July 2005, the final selection was announced at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore, where the 117th IOC Session was held. Here Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair was the only leader of the five candidate cities' countries to make a personal lobby (he had also been the only one to attend the 2004 Olympics).[16] Moscow was the first city to be eliminated, followed by New York and Madrid. The final two cities left in contention were London and Paris. At the end of the fourth round of voting, London won the right to host the 2012 Games with 54 votes, defeating Paris's 50.[17] Various French publications blamed the Paris loss on French President Jacques Chirac's statements before the vote that "We can't trust people [the British] who have such bad food. After Finland, it's the country with the worst food."[18] Two current members of the International Olympic Committee are from Finland. Several other news sources cited Bertrand Delanoë's complaint regarding Tony Blair's secret late night meetings with numerous (African) IOC representatives as having a more significant impact on final vote.[19] When reporting London's win, British media covered the expectant crowds in both France and Britain (and in the other bid cities), and contrasted the jubilant reaction in London to the reaction of the crowd in Paris, where many had gathered in hope of a French win.[20][21][22] However, the celebrations in London were overshadowed when London's transport system was attacked by terrorists less than 24 hours after the announcement.[23]

In December 2005, it was alleged by Alex Gilady, a senior IOC official, that London had won the right to host the Olympics only because of a voting error. A London 2012 spokesman dismissed this, saying "At the end of the day, it was a secret ballot. This is the opinion of one individual. The result is what matters and we are not going to be drawn into speculation."[24]

2012 Summer Olympics bidding results
City NOC Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
London  Great Britain 22 27 39 54
Paris  France 21 25 33 50
Madrid  Spain 20 32 31
New York City  United States 19 16
Moscow  Russia 15

Development and preparation

Since the 2005 bid

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games was created to oversee the staging of the Games after the success of the bid, and held their first board meeting on 3 October 2005.[25] The committee, chaired by Lord Coe, is in charge of implementing and staging the games, while the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is in charge of the construction of the venues and infrastructure.[25] In April 2006 the Olympic Delivery Authority board was established.[26]

The Government Olympic Executive (GOE), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is the lead Government body for coordinating the London 2012 Olympics. The GOE reports through the DCMS Permanent Secretary to the Minister for Sports and the Olympics. It focuses on oversight of the Games, cross-programme programme management and the London 2012 Olympic Legacy before and after the Games that will benefit London and the UK. The organisation is also responsible for the supervision of the £9.3 billion of public sector funding.[27]

In August 2011, some security concerns arose surrounding the hosting of the Olympic Games in London,[28] due to the 2011 England riots, with a few countries expressing fear over the safety of the Games,[29] in spite of the International Olympic Committee's assurance that the riots will not affect the Games.[30]

The IOC's Coordination Commission for the 2012 Games completed their ninth visit to London in October 2011. They concluded that London has been making excellent progress and that the 2012 games would leave a lasting legacy. The commission will make their final visit to London in March 2012.[31] London was awarded the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in November 2011. [32]

Venues and infrastructure

Olympic Stadium in June 2011

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will use a mixture of new venues, existing and historic facilities, and temporary facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade. Some of the new facilities will be reused in their Olympic form, while others, will be resized or relocated.[33]

The majority of venues have been divided into three zones within Greater London: the Olympic Zone, the River Zone and the Central Zone. In addition to these are those venues that, by necessity, are outside the boundaries of Greater London, such as the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on the Isle of Portland in Dorset which will host the sailing events, some 125 miles (200 km) southwest of the Olympic Park. The football tournament will be staged at several grounds around the UK.[34] Work began on the Park in December 2006 when a sports hall in Eton Manor was pulled down.[35] The athletes' village in Portland was completed in September 2011.[36]

In November 2004 the 500 acre Olympic Park plans were revealed.[37] The plans for the site were passed in September 2004 by Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest.[38] The redevelopment of the area to build the Olympic Park required compulsory purchase orders of property. The London Development Agency and the London and Continental Railways had a dispute about the orders in November 2005. The LCR accused the LDA of killing off development in the area. The LDA planned alongside the Olympic Park to buy land for the Stratford City development project, which the 180-acre site of the former Stratford Rail Lands into a mixed-use development, including 4,500 new homes, office space, hotels and shops.[39] This resulted in 2011 with the completion of the largest urban shopping centre in Europe being operated by Westfield.[40] By May 2006 86% of the land had been bought as businesses fought eviction, this lead to an enquiry being set up. 206 companies had to relocate by July 2007.[41] In addition, residents who opposed the eviction tried to find way to stop it by setting up campaigns. However they had to leave as 94% of land was bought and the other 6% bought as a £9 billion regeneration project started.[42]

However, there were some issues with the original venues due to not being challenging enough or being financially unviable. For example, the road racing at the Olympics Games was originally scheduled to take place in Regent's Park and on Hampstead Heath. Instead the Olympic road races will start and finish on The Mall in central London and head out into Surrey to the south and include loops around Box Hill.[43] The Olympic Mountain bike event will take place at Hadleigh Farm after the event was moved from Weald Country Park,[44] after the UCI labeled the course at the park "too easy" in July 2008[45] It was touted that the course could be created in Wales.[46] A location in Kent was also considered[47]

The Olympic marathon course, which was set to finish in the Olympic stadium, was moved to the mall.[48] The idea angered some members of the local community, stating that they had been left out of the Olympics despite it taking place in their back garden no events would take place in the boroughs. The change was made as closing Tower bridge would cause "gridlock" to London.[49][50][51] North Greenwich Arena 2 was scrapped in a cost cutting exercise, with Wembley Arena being used for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events instead.[52][53][54][55]

Public transport

The Olympic Javelin service

London's public transport was an element of the bid which was scored poorly in the IOC's initial evaluation, however they felt that if the improvements were delivered in time for the Games then London would cope.[56] Transport for London (TfL) carried out numerous improvements in preparation for 2012, including the expansion of the London Overground's East London Line, upgrades to the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line,[57] and the introduction of a new "Javelin" high-speed rail service,[58] using the Hitachi Corporation's "bullet" trains.[59][60][61] In September 2011 it was discovered that the platforms at Stratford International station were not at the right height for the Javelin trains. The platforms were raised with wood, which could be removed after the Games as the platforms were originally designed for Eurostar trains, and it is hoped that Eurostar would stop at the station after 2012.[62] According to network rail an additional 4,000 train services will run during the Games, with train operators putting on longer trains during the day.[63]

TfL also propose the construction of a £25 million cable car across the River Thames, the "Thames Gateway Cable Car", to link 2012 Olympics venues.[64] It will cross the Thames river between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, carrying up to 2,500 passengers an hour 50 metres in the air. It is designed to cut journey times between the O2 arena and the ExCel exhibition centre – both of which are Olympic locations. The privately-funded system could provide a crossing every 30 seconds.[65]

They also plan to have 80% of athletes travel less than 20 minutes to their event.[66] In addition the organisers planned to have 93% of athletes within 30 minutes of their event.[67] The Olympic Park would be served by ten separate railway lines with a combined capacity of 240,000 passengers per hour.[68] In addition the LOCOG planned for 90% of the venues to be served by three or more types of public transport.[67] Two park-and-ride sites were off the M25 with a combined capacity of 12,000 cars 25 minutes away from the Olympic Park. Another park and ride site was planned in Ebbsfleet which would have capacity for 9,000 cars were spectators could board a 10 minute shuttle bus.[67] To get spectators to Eton Dorney, four park and ride schemes were set up. Spectators would be dropped off at Windsor Racecourse with a bridge going over the Thames linking the racecourse to the rowing venue.[69]

A London Underground train decorated to promote London's Olympic bid – this coincided with plans for investment in the city's public transport network

Concerns have been expressed at the logistics of spectators traveling to the events scheduled for outside of London. In particular, the sailing events at Portland are in an area with no direct motorway connection, and with local roads that are heavily congested by existing tourist traffic in the summer.[70] However the Weymouth area did undergo a major upgrade on its road infrastructure. A £77 million relief road connecting Weymouth to Dorchester was built and opened in 2011.[71][72] Some £16 million pounds was put aside for the rest of the improvements.[73] Inaddtion the plans removed 5 roundabouts to ease congestion and replaced them with traffic lights[74][75] But some residents were unhappy that the roundabouts were removed.[76]

In January 2010, the South East England regional transport board criticised plans published by the Olympics Development Authority for not providing plans of a credible long term coach network saying "The ODA has been working on an extensive network of coach services... [but] the lack of reference to this work [in the plan] is both intriguing and at the same time concerning." On 15 February 2010, the ODA announced that FirstGroup was the preferred bidder for the provision of bus and coach services for the games. This will involve the provision of venue shuttle and park and ride services, services connecting peripheral park and ride sites on the M25 with the Olympic Park and Ebbsfleet, and a nationwide network of express coaches to the Olympic Park, and the Weymouth and Portland sailing venue. The services will require around 900 vehicles in total, although some will be sub-contracted.[77][78]


The costs of mounting the Games are separate from those for building the venues and infrastructure, and redeveloping the land for the Olympic Park. While the Games are privately funded, the venues and Park costs are met largely by public money.

On 15 March 2007, Tessa Jowell announced to the House of Commons a budget of £5.3 billion to cover building the venues and infrastructure for the Games, at the same time announcing the wider regeneration budget for the Lower Lea Valley budget at £1.7 billion.

On top of this, she announced various other costs including an overall additional contingency fund of £2.7 billion, security and policing costs of £600 million, VAT of £800 million and elite sport and Paralympic funding of nearly £400 million. According to these figures, the total for the Games and the regeneration of the East London area, is £9.345 billion. Then Mayor Ken Livingstone pledged the Games Organising Committee would make a profit.[79]

The costs for staging the Games (£2 billion) are funded from the private sector by a combination of sponsorship, merchandising, ticketing and broadcast rights. This budget is raised and managed by the London 2012 Organising Committee. According to Games organisers, the funding for this budget broadly breaks down as:

On 18 August 2007, The Belfast Telegraph reported that jubilation over winning the right to stage the Olympic Games was becoming more muted as realisation dawns on the public of the enormous costs involved in creating facilities for the athletes.[80] Grassroot sport cuts will fund the Olympics, government figures suggested on 19 August 2007.[81]

In November 2007, Edward Leigh MP, criticised the organisers for significantly under-estimating the cost of staging the games, suggesting they had either "acted in bad faith or were incompetent".[82]

On 10 December 2007, Tessa Jowell announced confirmation of the budget announced earlier in 2007. In June 2007, the Ministerial Funders’ Group (established to manage the allocation of contingency to the ODA within the overall budget) met and agreed a first allocation of contingency to the ODA, being £360 million out of the £500 million of initial contingency announced in March, to enable the ODA to manage early cost pressures.

Following its second meeting on 26 November 2007, the Funders’ Group has now agreed a baseline budget and scope proposed by the ODA. The total budgeted base cost to be met by the public sector funding package remains at £6.090 billion including tax and excluding general programme contingency as announced in March. This includes the allocation to the ODA of the remaining £140 million from the initial £500 million contingency announced in March.[83]

There have, however, been concerns over how the Olympics are to be funded. In February 2008, a London Assembly culture and sport committee report expressed concerns over the funding of the games taking away money from London's sports and arts groups.[84] There have also been complaints that funding towards the Olympics has been to the detriment of funding other areas of the UK. In Wales, there has been criticism from Plaid Cymru about the games depriving Wales of money, by using UK-wide funding rather than English funding.[85] The Wales on Sunday newspaper claimed former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair broke his promise to not use National Lottery funding for the Olympic games.[86][87]

As at December 2009, the Delivery Authority had allocated £702 million of Programme and Funders’ contingency, largely to cover the decisions to publicly fund the Village and Media Centre after it became clear private funding could not be secured on acceptable terms during the 2008 to 2010 economic crisis. According to the Government Olympic Executive and Olympic Delivery Authority risk assessments the remaining £1,270 million contingency is sufficient to manage risks to the Delivery Authority’s programme.[88]

Also from May 2010, the Olympic budget will be cut by £27 million as part of the £6.2 billion cuts by the new Conservative-Liberal coalition government.

On 19 July 2011, Hugh Robertson, Sports & Olympic Minister,revealed that he expected the project to be delivered on time and under budget. "With one year to go to London 2012, the Games construction is 88 per cent complete and ahead of time and under budget. That is an extraordinary thing for a Government Minister to be able to say a year out from the Games."[89]


To help fund the cost of staging the games the London Olympic organisers have agreed partnership deals with major companies. The companies have signed up into four categories, worldwide, tier one, tier two and tier three.

Worldwide partners:[90]

As of 9 September 2011, 44 companies have signed up for domestic sponsorship roles.[91]

Domestic Tier One Partners:[90]

Domestic Tier Two Supporters:[90]

  • Adecco
  • ArcelorMittal
  • Cadbury
  • Cisco

Domestic tier three providers and suppliers:[90]

On 7 September 2011, the LOCOG announced that they had reached their £700 million domestic sponsorship target. They signed their 44th partner Westfield shopping centres who signed as a tier three sponsor.[91]


Organisers estimate that some 8 million tickets would be available for the Olympic Games, and 1.5 million tickets for the Paralympic Games.[citation needed] Ticket sign-up, in Great Britain, was launched on 22 March 2010 and the application website was opened on 15 March 2011 until 26 April 2011. Ticket prices range from £20 for many events to £2,012 for the most expensive seats at the opening ceremony. Ticket allocations for oversubscribed events was decided by a random ballot.[92] For the first time in Olympic history the sailing events will be tickteted.[93] The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOGOC) have admitted that further tickets, up to one million, will be will released later in 2011 for events that have failed to sell out in the initial allocation.[94] Over half the people who applied got no tickets in Great Britain. The second round of ticket sales took place over a 10 day period between the 23 June and 3 July 2011, with priority given to those who were unsuccessful in the first allocation process. At this point there were about 1.7 million tickets for football and 600,000 for other sports, including archery, hockey, football, judo, boxing and volleyball, among other sports with 1.5 million tickets priced between £20 and £50. Unfortunately due to the amount of people buying tickets and because the ticketmaster website did not update immediately, 15,000 had their application rejected, but 90% of people did get some tickets; as some events sold out in 15 minutes and by 8 am 10 sports had sold out.[95] People who were successful in the first round of tickets were allowed to buy more during the period 8–17 July 2011. By this point 1.5 million tickets were available for football, 40,000 for Volleyball and 8,000 for freestyle wrestling on a first come first served basis. However by 10 July all the tickets for Volleyball had been sold, as 3.5 million tickets had been sold in total. Another round of tickets was promised to go on sale in 2012.[96] To reduce traffic, ticket holders will be entitled to free use of London's public transportation network on the day of the event.[97] It is estimated that 82% of available Olympic tickets and 63% of Paralympic tickets will be sold. LOCOG aims to raise £375–£400 million in ticket sales. There will also be free events: for example, the marathon, triathlon and road cycling.[98] Tickets for the London Prepares series, the Olympic test events, started to go on sale in May 2011.[99]

There was a huge demand for tickets as 20 million tickets were bought by 1.8 million people, three times the 6.6 million tickets available in the first round lot, with 95% of the applications from Great Britain. More than 50% of the sessions went to a random ballot.[100] A consumer group questioned the point of taking money out of people's bank accounts before they knew what tickets they had successfully purchased.[101] Barclays Bank ended up declining its customers tickets, stating that it was a unusual purchase and looked like fraud, before they and LOCOG tried to process them for a second time.[102] Many athletes and ex-Olympians also questioned the way the tickets were sold, with Triple Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins labeling the process a shambles.[103] However, Lord Coe and the LOCOG insisted that the process was fair, and that there was no 'perfect' system.[104][105]

In Russia people bought "Olympic vouchers" which one would have to redeem in London during July and August 2012, with people making their own accommodation and travel arrangements.[106] In Brazil, the host of the 2016 Games, the ticket website did not work for three and a half days with people leaving disappointed as all their tickets appeared to sell out in a day, despite people having seemingly bought tickets.[107] And the British government was asked to explain why it bought 9,000 tickets.[108]

Free tickets were given to Military personnel and children were invited to 'win' tickets.[109] Free tickets were also given to the survivors and families of those who died during 7 July 2005 London bombings.[110]


Countdown clock in Trafalgar Square

A digital clock, located in Trafalgar Square, commenced a countdown to the opening ceremony on 14 March 2011. However, less than 24 hours after it was switched on, it suffered a technical failure, and stopped—displaying "500 (days) 7 (hours) 06 (minutes) 56 (seconds)." It was quickly repaired.[111]


The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) appointed Prestige Ticketing Limited to operate the London 2012 Prestige Ticketing programme.[112] The Prestige Ticketing on-site hospitality packages includes top-category tickets, fine dining and entertainment.[113] These hospitality tickets were on sale until 15 March 2011.[114]

Scheduling issues

Some representatives of Muslim countries have complained that the 2012 Olympic Games will take place during the month of Ramadan, which in 2012 occurs from 20 July to 19 August. During Ramadan, Muslims are to fast from sunrise to sunset, which may put Muslim athletes at a disadvantage during the Games. Some Muslims have called for the Olympics to be rescheduled outside this period.[115]

There have been two London 2012 logos: one for the bidding process created by Kino Design and a second as the brand for the Games themselves. The former is a ribbon with blue, yellow, black, green, and red stripes winding through the text "LONDON 2012," making the shape of the River Thames in East London. The latter, designed by Wolff Olins, was unveiled on 4 June 2007 and cost £400,000.[116] This new logo is a representation of the number 2012, with the Olympic Rings embedded within the zero.[117]

The Paralympics logo (far left) and the different official colour combinations for the Wolff Olins main logo design

This will be the first time that the same essential logo is to be used for both the Olympic and Paralympic games.[118]

The standard colours are green, magenta, orange and blue; however the logo has incorporated a variety of colours, including the Union Flag to promote the handover ceremony.[119] The flexibility of the logo has also enabled sponsors to incorporate their corporate colours into a personalised version, such as Lloyds TSB,[120] British Airways,[121] and Adidas.[122]

London 2012 has stated that the new logo is aimed at reaching young people. Sebastian Coe stated that it builds upon everything that the organising committee has said "about reaching out and engaging young people, which is where our challenge is over the next five years." One observer, a managing director of an advertising agency, noted that the logo bore a strong resemblance to the logo for the 1974–1982 children's television programme Tiswas, commenting that appealing to young people is difficult, and that they will see right through attempts to patronise them.[123]

Early public reaction to the logo, as measured by a poll on the BBC website, was largely negative: more than 80% of votes gave the logo the lowest possible rating.[124] Several newspapers have run their own logo competitions, displaying alternative submissions from their readers. The Sun displayed a design by a macaque monkey.[125] It was suggested that the logo resembles the cartoon character Lisa Simpson performing fellatio[126] and others have complained that it looks like a distorted Swastika.[127] In February 2011, Iran complained that the logo appeared to spell out the word "Zion" and threatened to boycott the Olympics.[128] Iran submitted its complaint to the International Olympic Committee, describing the logo as "racist", asking that it be withdrawn and the designers be "confronted". The IOC "quietly" rejected the demands, and Iran announced it would not boycott the Games.[129]

A segment of animated footage released at the same time as the logo was reported to trigger seizures in a small number of people with photosensitive epilepsy. The charity Epilepsy Action received telephone calls from people who had had seizures after watching the sequence on TV. In response, a short segment was removed from the London 2012 website.[130] Ken Livingstone, then London Mayor, said that the company who designed the film should not be paid for what he called a "catastrophic mistake."[131]

A blogger at the BBC said that "London 2012's new logo has got the country talking [although] not in the manner the organisers would have hoped."[132] One employee at a design firm described it as "well thought out" and anticipated it would "become a source of pride for London and the Games."[133]

In October 2008, it was reported that clothing branded with the logo accounted for 20% of sales at Adidas' flagship Oxford Street store, despite occupying just 5% of floor space.[134]


The official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were unveiled on 19 May 2010;[135] this marks the second time (after Vancouver) that both Olympic and Paralympic mascots were unveiled at the same time. Wenlock and Mandeville are animations depicting two drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton.[135] They are named Wenlock, after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, which held a forerunner of the current Olympic Games, and Mandeville, after Stoke Mandeville, a village in Buckinghamshire where a forerunner to the Paralympic Games were first held.[135] The writer Michael Morpurgo wrote the story concept to the mascots, and an animation was produced;[136] it is intended that this will form part of an ongoing series concerning the mascots in the run-up to the Games in 2012.[135] Two stories have been created about the mascots: Out Of A Rainbow, the story of how Wenlock and Mandeville came to be, and Adventures On A Rainbow, which features the children from Out Of A Rainbow meeting the mascots and trying out many different Olympic and Paralympic sports.[137]

Handover ceremony

The handover ceremony marked the moment when the previous games in Beijing in 2008 handed over the Olympic Flag to the new host city of London.[138] Mayor of London Boris Johnson received the flag from Mayor of Beijing Guo Jinlong, on behalf of London. The next section was entitled "From London, 'With a whole Lotta love."The handover ceremony featured the urban dance group ZooNation, the Royal Ballet and Candoco, a disabled dance group, all dressed as typical London commuters waiting for a bus by a zebra crossing. Whilst Olympic Champions Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and BMX World Champion Shanaze Reade; however due to Reade's broken wrist from her event Jamie Staff replaced her;[139] cycled around the stadium. A double-decker bus drove around the stadium to music composed by Philip Sheppard eventually stopping and transforming into a privet hedge featuring famous London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, The Gherkin and the London Eye. Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis then performed the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love and David Beckham kicked a football into the crowd of athletes accompanied by violinist Elspeth Hanson and cellist Kwesi Edman.[140][141]

For the London 2012 Games, 'Take Up The Challenge' is the leading contender to be the music that will inspire a new generation of athletes. The anthem was composed by Rob Cremona, an Anglo-Maltese trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist from Woking in Surrey. Meanwhile, the handover has been celebrated in a UK-wide series of events. The BBC broadcast "The Visa London 2012 Party" on BBC One and Radio 2, the free concert on The Mall in central London had 40,000 tickets available.[142] In nations and regions around the UK there were live screens that showed the activities from Beijing, the Closing Ceremony and then the concert itself. Local communities around the UK also hosted their own events.

Year to go

First glimpse of the medals in Trafalgar Square.

On 27 July 2011, London celebrated the one year to the start of the games with a special event in Trafalgar Square. There were other events around the city such as Lord Coe and Colin Jackson cast their feet in clay at St Pancras Station, whilst the Aquatics Centre opened, with Tom Daly marking the event with a dive from the 10 metre platform. While in Trafalgar Square Jacques Rogge invited the world to London.[143] Prime Minister David Cameron promised that London's games would be the greatest, whilst Boris Johnson comically called for a snap Olympics. The Royal Mail announced that it would produce special stamps celebrating every gold medal won by a British athlete.[144]


In December 2010, it was announced that the Royal Mint would produce the medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.[145] The Royal Mint expected to produce around 4,700 medals for the games.[146] The medals are 7mm thick and weigh between 375-400g. They are designed by David Watkins. Each medal will have the sport and the discipline engraved on the rim. Like the last few Olympic medal designs the front will once again have Greek goddess of victory, Nike, stepping from Parthenon. The reverse side has the Games logo, and a ribbon depicting the River Thames with a grid symbolising pulling together and radiating energy.[144][147] The medals will have a purple ribbon attached to them which symbolises Royalty and protocol. The Princess Royal unveiled the design of the Olympic medals. In a poll by the Telegraph just 66% of the people who voted liked the design. Designer David Watkins said "I knew it was a take it and love it design. If not – sorry. There was no plan B."[148]

Test events

London Prepares series.jpg

Many test events will be held throughout 2011 and 2012, either through an existing championship such as Wimbledon or as a specially created event held under the banner of London Prepares. Some events are closed to the public, others are ticketed. Basketball and BMX were the first events to be tested within the Olympic Park.[149]

The Games

Participating nations

Athletes from 204 NOCs are expected to participate. The Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee, which had planned to continue functioning after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, had its membership withdrawn by the IOC Executive Committee at the IOC session of June 2011. However, Dutch Antillean athletes who qualify for the 2012 Olympics will be allowed to participate independently under the Olympic flag.[150] Listed below are NOCs who have qualified at least one athlete. As of 13 November 2011, 141 nations have qualified at least one athlete.


The 2012 Summer Olympic programme features 26 sports and a total of 38 disciplines. The 2012 Paralympic Games programme has 20 sports and 21 disciplines. London's bid featured 28 sports, in line with other recent Summer Olympics, but the IOC voted to drop baseball and softball from the 2012 Games two days after it selected London as the host city. The IOC reinforced its decision to drop both sports during the 2006 Winter Olympics after they lost votes for reconsideration. They will remain Olympic sports, despite being scheduled for the last time at Beijing in 2008.[175] Following the decision to drop the two sports, the IOC held a vote on whether or not to replace them. The sports considered were karate, squash, golf, roller sports, and rugby sevens. Karate and squash were the two final nominees, but neither received enough votes to reach the required two-thirds majority.[175] The IOC has given the approval for the addition of golf and rugby sevens for the 2016 games.[176][177]

The International Olympic Committee executive board met on 13 August 2009 and approved the addition of women's boxing to the programme. The International Boxing Federation has proposed that 40 athletes compete in five different weight classes.[178]

Murad Qureshi, a member of the London Assembly, is pushing for a Twenty20 cricket showcase tournament to be included in London.[179] Twenty20 cricket did originally bid for inclusion in 2012, but was not one of the finalist sports.[180] Netball is being drafted as a possible demonstration sport at the 2012 games. This idea was backed by then British prime minister Gordon Brown, suggesting that it would encourage more girls and young women to play sports.[181] The IOC eliminated demonstration sports following the 1992 Summer Olympics.[182] However, special tournaments have been run for non-Olympic sports during the games, such as the Wushu tournament at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[179] There has been speculation that the London Sevens tournament held at Twickenham as part of the IRB Sevens World Series could be put back to coincide with the Olympics.[183]

Following the awarding of the 2012 Olympic Games to London, the government announced that special dispensation would be granted to allow the various shooting events to go ahead, as had been the case previously for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.


The final official schedule was released on 15 February 2011.[184]

OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals CC Closing ceremony
July / August 25
Ceremonies OC CC
Archery 1 1 1 1 4
Athletics 2 5 7 5 4 4 5 6 8 1 47
Badminton 1 2 2 5
Basketball 1 1 2
Boxing 3 5 5 13
Canoeing 1 1 2 4 4 4 16
Cycling 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 3 2 1 1 18
Diving 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
Equestrian 2 1 1 2 6
Fencing 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 10
Field hockey 1 1 2
Football 1 1 2
Gymnastics 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 4 1 1 18
Handball 1 1 2
Judo 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 14
Modern pentathlon 1 1 2
Rowing 3 3 4 4 14
Sailing 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 10
Shooting 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 15
Swimming 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 1 1 34
Synchronized swimming 1 1 2
Table tennis 1 1 1 1 4
Taekwondo 2 2 2 2 8
Tennis 2 3 5
Triathlon 1 1 2
Volleyball 1 1 1 1 4
Water polo 1 1 2
Weightlifting 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 15
Wrestling 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2 18
Total events 12 14 12 15 20 18 22 25 23 18 21 17 22 16 32 15 302
Cumulative total 12 26 38 53 73 91 113 138 161 179 200 217 239 255 287 302
July / August 25


The International Broadcast Centre in June 2011

The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the tenth Olympic Games (counting both Summer and Winter Games) where Panasonic's digital technologies will be used as the official recording format, dating since the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. The official international video will be produced and distributed from the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in London Olympic Park, in 1080/50i High-Definition (HD) format.[185] Panasonic announced that DVCPRO HD will be the official recording format for capturing the Games. Olympic Broadcasting Services London (OBSL), the Host Broadcaster, will use P2 HD series equipment to support the broadcast of the competition. The cameras that will be used are the AG-HPX250, the company’s first P2 HD handheld camcorder with AVC-Intra recording and two new AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders, the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130, with Full HD imagers and a new, wider 21X HD zoom lens.[186]

Continuing the IOC's commitment to providing over-the-air television coverage to as broad a worldwide audience as possible, London 2012 is scheduled to be broadcast by a number of regional broadcasters. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the home broadcaster for the Olympics and Channel 4 the home broadcaster for the Paralympics. The BBC aims to broadcast by various channels all 5,000 hours of the Olympic Games.[187] Much of the actual broadcasting is originated by the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). The United States television rights currently owned by NBC account for over half the rights revenue for the IOC.[citation needed] Many television broadcasters granted rights to the games have bureaux and studios in London, but since at least the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, rights-holder operations are hosted in the dedicated International Broadcast Centre (IBC). London's IBC is planned to be inside the security cordon of the Olympic Park.

Social media will be important for the Games. Online technology is being developed for the London 2012 Olympics and YouTube will stream highlights of the Games to countries all over the world as part of an IOC deal.[citation needed]

Olympic flag

On 26 September 2008 the Olympic and Paralympic flags were raised outside City Hall formally mark London becoming host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Beijing Gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu raised the Olympic flag, whilst Paralympic Champions, Helene Raynsford and Chris Holmes raised the Paralympic flag.[188][189]


The Olympic Park will incorporate 45 hectares of wildlife habitat, with a total of 525 bird boxes, and 150 bat boxes. Local waterways and riverbanks are to be enhanced as part of the process.[190]

Renewable energy will also feature at the Olympics. It was originally planned to provide 20% of the energy for the Olympic Park and Village from renewable technologies; however, this may now be as little as 9%.[191] Proposals to meet the original target included large-scale on-site wind turbines and hydroelectric generators in the River Thames. However, these plans were scrapped for safety reasons.[192] The focus has since moved to installing solar panels on some buildings, and providing the opportunity to recover energy from waste.

Food packaging at the Olympics will be made from compostable materials – like starch and cellulose-based bioplastics – where it cannot be re-used or re-cycled. This will include fast food wrappers, sandwich boxes and drink cartons. After they have been used many of these materials will be suitable for anaerobic digestion (AD), allowing them to be made into renewable energy.[193]

Tourism and the 2012 Games

Kate Hoey MP at the launch of Blue Badge 2012 Guided Walks

The 2012 Games park near Stratford is attracting new tourists to the area.[194] The upgraded Greenway cycle and walking path provides an ideal viewing point for the park while the site remains closed to the public.

There are daily public walking tours[195] running alongside the 2012 site led by qualified Blue Badge tourist guides. The guided walks – which leave from Bromley-by-Bow tube station at 11 am – are attended by over 1000 people each month. They are run by guides who are specifically trained to talk about the 2012 Games and the history and traditions of the local area.

In 2010, Blue Badge Guides led 220 visits from colleges and schools to the 2012 Games site and nearby Olympic venues. During summer they guided over 1000 new visitors and tourists a day around East London’s 2012 sites.

In 2011, a new initiative to bring tourists and visitors into the area will involve a public waterbus ‘hop-on hop-off’ route, from Limehouse Basin to waterways near the Olympic Park.[196]

Cultural Olympiad

The Olympic Charter, the set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games and the governing the Olympic Movement states that

"The OCOG shall organise a programme of cultural events which must cover at least the entire period during which the Olympic Village is open."[197]

London's Cultural Olympiad includes 500 events spread over four years and culminating in the London 2012 Festival. The cost of the events is around £40 million and funding has been provided by Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor.[198][199]

Those announced as being involved in the festival, which will run from 21 June to 9 September 2012, include Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett, director Mike Leigh, musician Damon Albarn and artists including David Hockney, Lucian Freud and Rachel Whiteread.[200][201]

The Cultural Olympiad has been criticised for its refusal to include Cornish language, sport and culture amongst celebrations within its South West region. University College Falmouth had put a bid in for funding from the Legacy Trust for an event, An Gwary Meur (The Great Play), combining theatre and sport, participant and audience, story-telling and physical endeavour. This was backed by a wide range of partners including the Cornish Pilot Gig Association, Cornish Wrestling Association, Cornwall Rowing Association, Cornwall Rugby Football Union, the Cornwall Cultural Partnership and the Cornish Language Partnership. The refusal of this application has been viewed as "a direct barrier to people in Cornwall celebrating their distinct Cornish identity."[202]



In August 2009 the Royal Mail commissoned artists and illustrators to create 30 stamps which were released in batches of 10 during 2009 to 2011. The 30 stamps symbolise that the Games take place during the 30th Olympiad. Each stamp featured an Olympic or Paralympic sport and in addition had the London 2012 logo on each stamp.[203] The Royal Mail had initially approched photographers to be included as well but this was abandoned as the photos would have to be of dead people as the only living person allowed to feature on stamps in the United Kingdom is the Queen.[204] Stamps with an Olympic theme go back to the very first games in Athens 1890; when the organisers commissoned the sale of stamps in order to balance the books and construct the last four venues. When London first held the Games in 1908 no stamps were commissoned. On that occasion and for the 1912 are the only time when stamps were not issued. When London last held the Games in 1948, just four stamps were issued.[205] On 22 July 2011 the last of the 30 stamps were released.[206]


A portable shop at the VISA FIVB Beach Volleyball International.

On 21 July 2009 the LOCOG announced that Hornby Plc had won the license to develop and market a range associated with the Games. The license allowed the company to sell products across its Corgi, Hornby, Scalextric and Airfix brands. Airfix will have kits for all of the main venues,[207] including a 1:500 scale Olympic Stadium.[208] The centre piece of the Scalextric collection will be a cycling Velodrome set.[207] The collection was launched by British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead in Hamleys toy store in June 2011, Hornby staggared the release of the collection with the Scalextric velodrome released in September.[209] In March 2011 the LOCOG commissioned and published a series of traning guides.[210] The merchandise was sold online and in five shops known as "The London 2012 Shop," in Heathrow Airport, Stansted Airport, St Pancras International Station, Paddington Station and in John Lewis on Oxford Street. In addition Addidas sold its London 2012 range in its flagship store on Oxford Street and selective Next stores sold their 2012 range.[211] Sainsburys as Official sponsors of the Paralympics also sold merchandise within their stores.[212]

See also

Olympic Rings.svg Olympics portal


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Preceded by
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XXX Olympiad (2012)
Succeeded by
Rio de Janeiro

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