Rogge: London 2012 on Par with Sydney and Beijing

July 28, 2011

International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge has praised London 2012’s readiness for the Games, which begins in a year’s time, stating that preparations are on a par with Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008.

The Belgian visited London’s Olympic sites on a day of festivities to mark exactly one year until the opening ceremony.

When questioned about whether London was the best prepared city, Rogge said: “You can’t compare cities. Regarding operation readiness, I’d put it on par with Sydney and Beijing.”

Rogge paid particular praise to the Aquatics Centre.

“I’ve seen so many venues in my life but when I came up [to the Aquatics Centre] I had a visual shock – this is unique, state of the art,” he said.

Rogge also delivered a warning to the London Organising Committee and its chairman Lord Sebastian Coe.

He said: “First of all, I tell them – ‘no complacency’. But Sebastian Coe is a competitor, so he will never allow for any complacency. It’s all about the delivery of the Games, not just about the preparations.

“I have no worries. I just have a clockwatch and that says to me 27th of July, eight o’clock in the evening, next year, you have to be ready.”

The IOC president believes that London 2012’s only “major challenge” is to have an efficient transport system in place, a problem that all Olympic hosts cities had faced.

A particularly contentious issue that is the one concerning Olympic Lanes, which will be on a third of the 109-mile Olympic Route Network [ORN], which will be roadwork-free and cover 1% of the capital’s roads.

The ORN will be used by 18,000 athletes and officials during the Olympics as well as 6,000 during the Paralympics.

Transport for London (TfL) admitted the lanes would put greater traffic demands on certain parts of the network during the Olympics.

Talking of the Lanes, Rogge said: “The Olympic Lanes, let me tell you that it is less than 10% of the London territory that is affected. It is very much needed because, if you don’t have Olympic Lanes, the athletes will not be able to perform and will not be able to compete on time.”