Officials still enthusiastic about Olympics
Olympic chief Jacques Rogge flew into London on a week ahead of the opening ceremony and predicted a "great Games", despite a security fiasco, travel disruptions and persistent rain.
The biggest problem in the run-up to the 27th July–12th August Games has been the shortage of guards to secure venues, after the company G4S failed to meet its staffing targets and thousands of soldiers were brought in to fill the gaps.
Rogge, overseeing his last Olympics before stepping down as International Olympic Committee (IOC) president next year, added that in spite of "some difficulties", preparations for the greatest show on earth had been sound.
"I believe these will be a great Games," he told Reuters at the official IOC hotel in central London.He was equally sanguine about the weather, a favourite topic of discussion after some of the wettest months on record.
"It might affect in a minor way scheduling for tennis at Wimbledon, but other than that I do not see many problems."
His comments will be welcomed by Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Olympic organising committee (LOCOG) and a gold medal winner, who has faced a barrage of questions about a series of organisational hitches that have dominated headlines in Britain.
Transport delays loom over the event, with border officials going on strike on 26th July and train drivers in central England walking out from 6th–8th August during the final week of the Games.
Athletes as well as visitors could be caught up in the disruption, with Australia's cycling team among those due to arrive in Britain on 26th July. "We are in discussions with LOCOG and they are aware of it," said Nick Green, Australian chef de mission.
Published: 23rd July 2012