By Sportswriter Paul Giblin
LONDON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Maybe it is because the sun finally came out, but Saturday afternoon in the Olympic Park radiated an aura of calm.
An almost languid atmosphere seemed to pervade over the area which in less than a week will see thousands of people hurrying in order to watch the events they bought tickets for months ago.
The tables are stacked next to the food stalls, ready to be arranged. The gravel has been spread on the walkways. The flowers are in bloom and the arrival of temperatures of over 20 centigrade has even allowed the smell of their blossom to permeate the air.
Fortunately there is still no sign of the poisonous caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth, which two months ago were predicted by some to wreak havoc in London.
Instead of moths, hundreds of performers in next Friday' s opening ceremony fluttered their way across the Olympic Park to a dress rehearsal. After Saturday they have two more rehearsals to ensure everything is alright on the night, before stepping onto the grass in the Olympic Stadium with the eyes of the world on them.
The weekend seems to have taken some of the tension out of the air. The bus journey from central London was just 35 minutes thanks to the lack of morning rush hour traffic and that should be even less when the special Olympic traffic lanes are opened on Wednesday 25th.
More journalists have arrived: there are fewer empty tables in the Main Press Center, which has 3 floors with seats for 816 journalists alone on the ground.
The restaurants providing food to the journalists, workers, troops and security staff are also getting busier. Apart from McDonalds, one of the sponsors for the Games, there is a choice of stands serving Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and of course traditional English food to ensure that all tastes are catered for.
Meanwhile the Olympic torch has begun its journey around the capital, starting out from Greenwich in the south-east of the city on Saturday morning and visiting every one of the city' s borough' s before arriving at the Stadium on Friday evening.
The crowds filling the streets to witness the passage of the ancient flame are a testimony to how the Olympics are catching the imagination of Londoners, who may have been asked to make sacrifices in terms of transport problems, but who are showing their enthusiasm for a once in a lifetime event.
Finally customs agents seized 10,000 fake Olympic flags at Heathrow airport this Saturday, while the counterfeit flags could have meant the loss of earnings to official providers, perhaps the fact that somebody thought it was worth taking the risk importing them merely confirms that the Games are going to be a success.
And of course next Friday moves ever closer...even though the sun is going to keep shining, that languid atmosphere is not going to last for long.