LONDON: The stage is set and the athletes are primed as the seven-year countdown to the London 2012 Olympics reaches its finale with Friday’s much-anticipated opening ceremony.
The three-hour spectacle, expected to be watched by a global television audience of up to one billion, will mark the beginning of 17 days of athletic endeavour which will create heroes, shatter dreams and fire national pride. But London is preparing for its own intense examination as questions over the city’s creaking transport system and the ever-present security threat hang over the event. Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that Britain would deliver a memorable Games after US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney backtracked on barbed comments he made about the preparations.
The Republican hopeful, in London to attend Friday’s opening, said the build-up had been “disconcerting”, pointing to the failure of a private security contractor to provide the number of guards it had promised. Cameron responded by saying the Britons would get behind the Games despite an economic downturn.