The 2012 Summer Olympic Games – 27 July to 12 August

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known informally as London 2012 (for example on the official logo), are scheduled to take place in London, United Kingdom, from 27 July to 12 August 2012.

Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris. London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times,having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.

Construction has involved considerable redevelopment, particularly themed towards sustainability. The main focus of this is a new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London. The Games also make use of many venues which were already in place before the bid.

BIDDING PROCESS

By the bid submission deadline of 15 July 2003, nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Olympics. These cities were Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York City, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said his primary motivation for initiating and lobbying for the city’s bid was to develop the east end of London, neglected for over thirty years. On 18 May 2004, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a result of a scored technical evaluation, reduced the number of cities to five: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Paris.

All five cities submitted their candidate files by 19 November 2004, and were visited by the IOC inspection team during February and March 2005. The Paris bid suffered two setbacks during the IOC inspection visit: a number of strikes and demonstrations coinciding with the visits, and a report that one of the key members of the Paris bid team would face charges over alleged corrupt party political finances.

On 6 June 2005, the IOC released its evaluation reports for the five candidate cities. Although these reports did not contain any scores or rankings, the evaluation report for Paris was considered the most positive, now followed closely by London, which had narrowed most of the gap observed by the initial evaluation in 2004 regarding Paris. New York and Madrid also obtained very positive evaluation reports.

Throughout the process, Paris was widely seen as the favourite to win the nomination, particularly as this was its third bid in recent history. Originally London was seen lagging Paris by a considerable margin; however, this started to improve with the appointment of Sebastian Coe as new head of London 2012 on 19 May 2004. In late August 2004, reports predicted a London and Paris tie in the 2012 bid. In the final run-up to the 117th IOC Session, London and Paris appeared to be increasingly in a neck-and-neck race.

On 1 July 2005, Jacques Rogge, when asked who the winner would be, told the assembled press: “I cannot predict it since I don’t know how the IOC members will vote. But my gut feeling tells me that it will be very close. Perhaps it will come down to a difference of say ten votes, or maybe less”.

On 6 July 2005, the final selection was announced at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore. Moscow was the first city to be eliminated, followed by New York and Madrid. The final two cities left in contention were London and Paris. At the end of the fourth round of voting, London won the right to host the 2012 Games with 54 votes, defeating Paris’s 50. The celebrations in London were short-lived, being overshadowed by terrorist attacks on London’s transport system less than 24 hours after the announcement.

WHERE TO STAY while in London at the 2012 Olympics Games


WOMEN’S NEWS

SPORTS

For the first time, women’s boxing is included in the programme, with 36 athletes competing in three different weight classes. There is a special dispensation to allow the various shooting events to go ahead, which would otherwise be illegal under UK gun law.

London’s bid featured 28 sports, in line with other recent Summer Olympics, but the IOC voted to drop baseball and softball from the 2012 Games two days after it selected London as the host city. The IOC reinforced its decision to drop both sports during the 2006 Winter Olympics, after they lost votes for reconsideration, and were last scheduled for a Games at the 2008 Olympics.

Following the decision to drop the two sports, the IOC held a vote on whether or not to replace them. The sports considered were karate, squash, golf, roller sports and rugby sevens. Karate and squash were the two final nominees, but neither received enough votes to reach the required two-thirds majority.

Even though formal demonstration sports were eliminated following the 1992 Summer Olympics, special tournaments for non-Olympic sports can be run during the games, such as the Wushu tournament at the 2008 Summer Olympics. There were attempts to run Twenty20 cricket, and Netball tournaments parallel with the 2012 games, but neither campaign was successful.


WOMEN’S MARATHON

The Olympic Marathon events start and finish in The Mall. [There is a men’s event and a women’s event].

Athletes complete a first loop of 2.2 miles, which takes them to the River Thames, south to the Houses of Parliament, and back up to The Mall past Buckingham Palace. After this they run back to the river, and this time head east, towards the City of London and beyond to the Tower of London, in an eight-mile loop that is repeated three times before crossing the finishing line.

Competition format

The Marathon is a straight final – the first athlete to cross the finish line is the winner.

Keys to success

Marathon running takes incredible reserves of mental as well as physical strength. The pace will be punishing and only a very few will be able to maintain it and save a final push for the finish.

Any number of factors can affect an athlete’s performance in the Marathon, from the conditions on the day that will suit some but not others, to the quality of preparation in the previous days, weeks and months. An athlete’s body and mind must be working in perfect harmony if he/she is to put in a good performance.

The Marathon Map

WOMEN COMPETITORS

SAUDI WOMEN participating for the first time

Saudi Arabia will send two female athletes to the London Olympics, ending the ultraconservative Muslim country’s record of fielding only all-male teams at the games. In this Saturday, July 25, 1992 file photo, members of Saudi Arabia’s team walk in Olympic Stadium in Barcelona during the opening ceremonies of the XXV Olympics.

The decision, announced Thursday by the IOC, means every country competing in London will include women athletes for the first time in Olympic history.

The two female Saudi competitors are judo athlete Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and 800-metre runner Sarah Attar.

The athletes, who were invited by the International Olympic Committee, were entered by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee by the July 9 deadline.

“This is very positive news and we will be delighted to welcome these two athletes,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement.

Qatar and Brunei, two other countries that have never sent female athletes to the Olympics, are also including women on their teams for the London Games.

About 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in London.

Saudi Arabia has been under pressure from the IOC and human-rights groups to include women athletes. The Gulf kingdom will also include female officials in their Olympic delegation for the first time.

Rights groups hailed the decision as a step forward for Saudi women in their quest for basic rights in a country that severely restricts them in public life. ~ Original Article

Every country competing at the London Games will include female athletes for the first time in Olympic history after Saudi Arabia agreed.

For the first time in Olympic history all 204 participating nations will include female athletes after Saudi Arabia yesterday belatedly bowed to pressure and added two women to its team for the London Games.

Sarah Attar, a 17-year-old middle-distance runner based in the US, and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, a judoka, were named after months of negotiation between the Saudi authorities and the International Olympic Committee. The Saudis join Qatar and Brunei in fielding women at the Games for the first time.


Blanka Vlasic ruled out of London 2012 Olympics after suffering health problems

Olympic silver medallist and two-time world high jump champion Blanka Vlasic has been forced to rule herself out of the London Games after failing to recover from a series of health problems.

The Croatian athlete has dominated women’s high jumping since her silver medal in Beijing in 2008 and had expected to start as favourite for the London Games. She underwent an operation on her Achilles tendon in January but suffered a bacterial infection during her recovery. In May she announced that she would make a final decision on whether to compete at the Olympics, “the day before take off”.

However, writing on her website on Saturday Vlasic, who has the second best jump of all time with 2.08 metres, confirmed that she is unhappy with her current performance and she will not compete in London.

“I’ve been postponing decision about my participation in London hopeful to get some positive wind into my back,” she said. But time is running out and time is the only thing that I need right now. In this moment my health situation is getting better and my trainings are more completed every day. Still, I will not be able to get into the top shape in time for Olympic Games. I”m not interested in jumping below my usual level, so it is the best thing to stay home and get the healing process to the end.


“I feel this is only a minor set back in my career and I”m looking forward to many more years of successful jumping. This is my chance for a new beginning!

Thanks to all people who helped and supported me during this year and to all my colleagues I wish all the best in London!”

Human rights organizations welcomed the move. “It’s an important precedent that will create space for women to get rights and it will be hard for Saudi hard-liners to roll back,” said Minky Worden of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Official song

The Opening Ceremony to the London Olympics will feature an eclectic mix of British music including The Beatles, Handel, The Sex Pistols, Adele, David Bowie, Muse and The Chemical Brothers, as well as songs from movies, TV shows and the West End.

According to a report in the British tabloid The Sun, the director of the ceremony, Danny Boyle, will use a 79-track playlist during the three-hour spectacle on July 27. A more-respected periodical, The Telegraph, also reported the leaked setlist. Olympic officials haven’t confirmed (or denied) the playlist’s authenticity, but if you read between the lines of that Telegraph story, it seems more real than fake. Let’s treat it as if it’s the former and analyze Boyle’s musical selections.

• The show begins with “The Eton Boating Song,” an old hymn evoking early 20th-century London that you’ve never heard, but have probably heard a thousand times. It’s scheduled to be followed by Elgar and Benson’s “Land of Hope and Glory,” which you may remember from every graduation you’ve ever attended and its well-known section, “Pomp and Circumstance.” Then Boyle fast-forwards to a cut from 1970s punk band The Jam and one from current rockers, Muse.

“Survival”, a single released by the English band Muse, will be the official song of the Olympics. It will be broadcast when the athletes enter the stadium and in the period before medal ceremonies; international broadcasters will also be playing it while reporting on the Games.

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