LONDON - Two weeks before the opening of the Olympic Games on July 27, the Mayor of London and the London organizing committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced that the city is ready to welcome the world.
|Mayor Boris Johnson reassures international media that London is ready to provide a safe Olympics/Patrick Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
Seven years of comprehensive and meticulous preparations are coming to an end in just two weeks.
Thousands of athletes have already arrived at Heathrow airport, including Filipino Olympians and journalists.
“I think it's great. It's really helpful. We just come here, everybody helps us. For me, as a journalist from another country, it's a good place to be helped,” said Camila Baranda, a sports reporter from Brazil.
The London Media Center welcomed journalists early this week. The center provides state-of-the art facilities and is open 24-7 during the games period.
More than 10,000 athletes from 205 countries will be here for the 2012 Olympics. The media center, which will house journalists from all over the world, is set up and ready. The big question now, two weeks before the opening games, is UK ready for the biggest sporting event on the planet?
The London mayor said the city is ready to receive the world with the top-class sporting venues, landscaped parklands, and world-class facilities at the Olympic Village.
“This is the moment when the final preparations are being made. It's like the last furlong of the race when the horses change places. It's to do with a good Olympic Games, and a really great Olympic Games,” said Mayor Boris Johnson.
Olympic organizers assured that gaps in security have been filled and considerable resources are allocated to ensure security is omnipresent.
“It's important to stress that security is not going to be delivered by one person or one organization. It's a group of people that are coming together. The military has increased their personnel. We are deploying additional officers. The plan is exactly as it was. It's just being delivered by different people. I am very confident in the plan,” said Chris Allison, assistant commission of the London Metropolitan Police Service.
“The security operation is fantastic. You've got an integration between the army and a sizeable body of private contractors. The number one thing is they will deliver a very safe games. You can never be complacent about security,” Johnson said.
The London mayor also dismissed the likelihood that the vagaries of British weather will upset the Olympic mood.
“This is a perfect English summer, cooled by substantial precipitation. But don't forget that it is not raining in London 94% of the time. It rains more in Rome,” said Johnson.
The sports minister uncompromisingly put the weather question aside.
“It's always pretty pointless apologizing for the British weather. It's a fact of life. A top man sportsman in any sport know that they have to compete in all conditions, and those conditions are challenging,” said Hugh Roberston, Minister for Sports and the Olympics.
As London approaches the finishing line of the preparations, it now promises to offer the most exciting events in Olympic history.