When London won the bid to host the Olympics seven years ago, the whole of the United Kingdom celebrated. It meant not just a financial bonanza for the three weeks of the tournament but also years of tourism income from staging the world’s greatest sporting event.
The Cayman Islands will have notable athletes there in hurdler Ronald Forbes and swimming brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser. Also in the frame for an Olympic berth is sprinter Cydonie Mothersill, hammer thrower Michael Letterlough and middle-distance runner Jon Rankin.
From the opening ceremony on 27 July to the closing one on 12 August, the London Olympics organisers, headed by the legendary British runner from the Seventies and Eighties, Lord Sebastian Coe, have promised an exceptional tournament. The Paralympics will follow two weeks after and that too promises to be a memorable one.
Lord Coe is Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
He said: “With ten months to go, we are where we should be and we are extremely proud of the progress we have made over the last six years.
“Construction of venues on the Olympic Park is largely complete and we are working to turn them into competition venues. We are continuing to build a high quality team to deliver the Games. “We’ve started to test our venues and there are many opportunities for the public to get involved with the Games.
“We are constantly looking at how we can do something better and we want to excite the UK and the rest of the world about the London 2012 Games.”
The buzz amongst Londoners and Brits generally is already high. Coe is pleased about that. He said: “The public support is very high. It’s fantastic to see how many people in the UK and around the world are inspired by, benefiting from and delivering London 2012.”
Every Olympic Games organisers want to top how well the previous one did. The Chinese government heavily supported the Beijing Games in 2008 which made it a huge success, so the London Games team has a hard act to follow.
“We certainly want the London 2012 Games to be the best possible. The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are the world’s greatest international sporting events and London is probably the world’s greatest international city.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to showcase the energy, creativity and buzz which emanates from our capital and showcase the best of British to the world.
“We are also very lucky in that most athletes competing at Games time will be doing so in front of a home crowd, thanks to the hundreds of communities that live in London.
“The British public is mad about sport and we really want to harness that enthusiasm and ensure a great atmosphere in London both in the run-up to and during the Games.”
The latest news is that professional footballers will stay in the Olympic Village, which could make it difficult for security and logistics.
“All athletes at Games time will either stay in the athletes’ village in the Olympic Park, in the athletes’ accommodation in Weymouth where the sailing will be taking place or in accommodation near the football stadiums,” said Coe. “Athletes are at the heart of our planning and we are committed to ensuring they have a fantastic Games experience.”
Doping controls will be tight again. “I think what people remember from an Olympic and Paralympic Games is the fantastic performances from the athletes, the world records being broken and medals being won.
“It’s crucial for athletes to be role models for young people and to show that you can be an elite-level athlete without using drugs. Unfortunately, some athletes feel they need to resort to using drugs to enhance their performance but thankfully they are usually in a minority.
“We will be working closely with our partner, GSK to help ensure London 2012 can be the cleanest Games possible. GSK will provide facilities and equipment to enable King’s College London to operate a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory at Games time.”
What’s the best advice you can give to Cayman Islands residents attending the Games?
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming athletes, spectators and media from around the world and showing them what London has to offer. London has a lot to offer as a city and we would advise residents from the Cayman Islands to make the most of the city.”