Wed, April 18, 2012
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London Olympics still faces three challenges in 100 days

2012-04-18 02:05:54 GMT2012-04-18 10:05:54(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By Sportswriter Wang Zijiang

LONDON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- With the opening ceremony 100 days away, there are still three major challenges for the final build-up to the London Olympics, the organizing committee chief executive Paul Deighton said.

In an interview with Xinhua, Deighton noted, "Firstly, we have to gear up with an enormous amount of people."

"Secondly, we still have a lot of building to do for our temporary venues - such as ExCeL which needs to be turned into five different sports hall, or Horse Guards Parade where we need to build temporary seating for 15,000 people.

"Finally, we need to continue with our readiness program, which includes carrying out with all the testing and practising."

By Games time, the London Olympics organizing committee (LOCOG) will have a workforce of around 200,000 people - 6,000 paid staff, up to 70,000 volunteers and over 100,000 contractors.

"That is a huge number of people to interview, train, uniform and accredit," Deighton said.

Despite all the challenges ahead, Deighton said the most difficult in his position had already passed.

"I think that actually we've overcome some of the more challenging aspects of preparing for the Games. For example, we have raised all our domestic sponsorship, we've got a great team on-board, our venues are in brilliant shape and we've been hosting some fantastic Test Events. So many of the key things we've had to deliver are already in place.

"So whilst we are confident with the progress we have made to date, in no way are we complacent. We have the most unmovable deadline to work towards and we just want to ensure that in 100 days time when we will welcome the world, that we are 100 percent ready."

The 56-year-old Deighton, who took over as the LOCOG chief executive in late 2005 after giving up his position as a partner at Goldman Sachs, said after six years he still thinks he is doing "a best job" in the world.

"I am thankful every day that I have been given the opportunity to be part of the London 2012 Games in such a way. This type of job isn't plain sailing, there are challenges, but I have never once felt disappointed or regretted my decision to take this job.

"I really do believe I have one of the best jobs in the world and I really appreciate the once in a lifetime opportunity to be in this position."

"What is so wonderful with this job is the fact that every day is completely different - whether it's visiting a school to see how students have been inspired by the London 2012 Games, marking a big milestone such as the launch of the volunteering program or visiting the venues on the Olympic Park to see the progress."

Deighton, who played football, rugby and cricket in his school days, said a successful Olympic Games is a coin of two sides.

"With regards to measuring success, in the short term it will be knowing that we have delivered the best Games possible for athletes and that they were able to compete in the best conditions possible. And also knowing that spectators had a fantastic time and enjoyed great sport in great venues by great athletes.

"In the long term, it will be the realization that we have delivered on our vision to inspire lasting change and that we've helped inspire children and young people in the UK and around the world to choose sport."

Deighton went to watch the Beijing Olympics four years ago and said the London Olympics will be remembered as all different from the previous Games.

"We definitely want to take the best from each Games, but we know that the London 2012 Games will be different simply because London is different.

"Ultimately, it's up to the host city to make their mark on the Games. We want to put on a Games which reflects what London and the rest of the UK have to offer. London is such a fantastically diverse and international city and we have a real opportunity to showcase the energy and creativity that emanates from the UK."

Deighton said that he has not decided what he will be doing after the Olympics.

"I think I will take a holiday to start off with!" he said. "But to be honest, I haven't yet really thought about what I will be doing next. At the moment I am completely focused on delivering a fantastic Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer and ensuring that athletes, spectators and media from around the world have the most wonderful time."

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