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London is in a position to win a ‘gold medal’ for its hosting of this summer’s Olympics, according to the final, glowing inspection by the IOC.
Lord Coe and his organising committee (LOCOG) enjoyed Friday’s back-slapping verdict on their preparations, though they were warned not to let up on the last lap.
Denis Oswald, the IOC’s chief inspector, said: ‘With 119 days to go until the Games begin, London is ready to welcome the world.
London presented us with a strong vision seven years ago and, while many details need to be finalised between now and July 27, they are well on track to deliver an outstanding event.
‘If you are in a race, details can make a difference between gold, silver and bronze. They are leading into the final straight and, if they remain focused and work as hard as they have so far, I’m confident the colour of the medal will not be a disappointment to them.’
Coe, sharing the stage with Oswald, said he perceived a swell of Games support around the country.
‘This is not a dance anyone wants to sit out,’ he said. He pointed to success in recruiting 70,000 ‘Games Makers’ to help run the Olympics and predicted the arrival of the Torch Relay on May 18 would prompt people to recognise ‘an extraordinary moment in the history of this country’.
For all the precision of the preparation, the ticketing policy has caused the greatest disquiet. However, a further million general Olympic tickets, plus another 1.5m football tickets and 1.5m Paralympic tickets, will go on sale in late April or May. Doubts also persist over transport demands.
Another point of controversy was underlined by about 25 protestors at yesterday’s press conference in the City of London.
They were angry that the wrap around the Olympic Stadium is sponsored by Dow Chemical, who took over the Union Carbide company that ran the Bhopal plant in India, scene one of the world’s worst chemical disasters in 1984.