London relived the magic of winning the right to stage the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games today, with a special event in Trafalgar Square hosted by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Proceedings got underway with the now legendary video clip of Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announcing London as the wining city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As Londoners remembered that moment of elation, Ken Livingstone, London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe and Tessa Jowell outlined the work that has already taken place to prepare the city for the Games. Aerial acrobats abseiled from the top of Nelson’s Column – the first group to do so with official blessing – and dropped a 300 ft silk banner of the London 2012 logo. On stage, Heather Small, backed by a Gospel Choir, performed live the famous London 2012 bid theme anthem 'Proud’ as a silk drape across the central corridor of Trafalgar Square, leading from the stage to the column, was slowly pulled back, revealing the statement 'London Prepares’.
Ken Livingstone said:
"Today we are showing London, the UK and the world, that preparations for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are underway. The passion and commitment we put into the bid is now carrying through to delivering what will be the greatest Olympics ever.
"I have already directed the London Development Agency and Transport for London to do everything necessary to ensure there are no delays in our planning and a contractor has now been selected to remove and reroute the power lines and pylons that cross the Olympic site."
The Chairman of London 2012, Sebastian Coe, was also quick to impress that London had not stood still since 6 July:
"The International Olympic Committee has already publicly acknowledged London’s progress. We said we would start work straight after the decision, and these were not empty words. In the first six days after the decision, 17,000 people registered an interest in volunteering for the Games, with the total tally standing at nearly 60,000 people today.
"Eight days after the decision, the Olympic Bill was introduced to Parliament. Twenty days after the decision, the first lottery scratchcards were launched to fund the Games. Although it will take a few years before we see the actual venues, much work will be done preparing the site."
The Government is also playing its part and Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is looking forward to the challenges that the next seven years will bring:
"In a little over 2,500 days time the Olympic flame will be lit and the Games of 2012 opened - and on this day in seven years time the Paralympic Games will be well underway, completing an extraordinary summer of sport for Britain. Then it will be up to sportsmen and women from the UK to show the world what they can do.
"But in the years before the Games come to London it will be up to us to deliver impressive, state-of-the-art, facilities, a new Olympic Park, a compact and convenient athletes' Village and slick road and rail links. We are ready for that challenge."