London sets eyes on legacy ahead of Games

Updated: 2012-01-10 09:23


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LONDON - When the 2012 Olympics was just some 200 days ahead, Britain and London in particular, is looking forwards to the legacy left by the sports gala.

On Monday, the day marking the 200-day countdown, the British government held its first cabinet meeting in the year in the handball arena at the Olympic Park in east London.

"I want the message to go out loud and clear, from tourism to business, sport to investment, we are determined to maximize the benefits of 2012 for the whole country," said Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement.

Six of eight Olympic venues have been secured, as operators were appointed for the Aquatics Center, Multi-use Arena and ArcelorMittal Orbit. The new contracts are expected to create more than 250 jobs. Organizers are confident for the rest two, the stadium and the media center, to be secured before the games.

"Today's appointments are just another example of how London's legacy plans are further ahead than any previous host Olympic City," said Baroness Margaret Ford, Chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company. "By working closely with sporting bodies and our local communities now, we can ensure that these venues will have a full and compelling program of activities for when they reopen after the Games," he said.

According to the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), all the 34 stadiums have been completed by Monday.

Meanwhile, the security cost at the Olympic venues across Britain has almost doubled the original budget to 553 million pounds. The projected expenditure on opening and closing ceremonies was raised from the previous 40 million pounds to 81 million.

"London's opening and closing ceremonies are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase the very best of our country to four billion people around the world," said sports official Hugh Robertson last month.

"To get the ceremonies absolutely right and boost the Games business and tourism legacy, we are putting additional investment into our ceremonies," he said.

For those who are to be competing in the sports gala, medals are undoubtedly their most important legacy.

In Beijing four years ago, Team GB (Great Britain) bagged 47 medals including 19 gold to finish fourth on the medal table.

Looking into the upcoming Olympics at home, Andy Hunt, Chef de Mission of the British Olympic team and British Olympic Association Chief Executive, wrote in his blog that he expected to "see Team GB athletes win more medals across more sports for over a century".

"We have recently reviewed the data for 2011 across all world championships and other relevant world events and rankings in every Olympic discipline for 2011," he said. "This shows Team GB finishing in 6th position with 59 medals across 13 different sports in what would be a relative Olympic medals table,"

"This includes an outstanding 50 medals won in Olympic disciplines at World Championships this year and shows that we are indeed on course," he added.

In all aspects, Cameron believed that the Games would create "a massive legacy".

"The whole country can benefit from the legacy of the Games because of the inspiration they will bring to people young and old," he was quoted by local media.