Unless you spent yesterday with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears, chanting “La La La” all day long, you will today be aware that that we are just 100 days away from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. How ready are we?
The optimists (of which I am one) are represented by this wonderful picture:
260 Guardsmen from the Household Division, who normally guard the royal palaces, pick out the number 100 with inch-perfect precision on Horse Guards Parade (venue for the 2012 beach volleyball). A good example of the tradition, discipline and dedication which, we optimists believe, will deliver an memorable and successful Olympics.
The pessimists are well represented in the national press, though here we have to distinguish between the Jeremiahs who have prophesied doom from day one, and the more balanced sceptics who point out potential problem areas. Despite the impressive efforts of the ODA (the builders) and LOCOG (the organisers), such problem areas still abound. Top of the list comes transport. Today’s Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/18/london-olympics-2012-hurdles-transport-system) reports on a test journey from the Basketball Arena to the Shooting venue and then on to the Aquatic Centre, using the public transport network which LOCOG are telling us is the ONLY way to travel during the games. It makes a disturbing read.
Over the past 2 years I have been amazed at the speed and efficiency with which the venues on the Olympic Park have been built. But my focus has been on how far we’ve come; it takes an outsider to see how far we still have to go. The word “park” is only figurative: everywhere there are still acres of concrete, piles of building materials, large expanses of brown earth. And only 100 days to finish planting, landscaping and clearing away the bulldozers.
Well, 99 now.