Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and 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 bids from Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris. London was the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.
Construction in preparation for the Games involved considerable redevelopment, particularly themed towards sustainability. The main focus was a new 200-hectare (490-acre) Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford, East London. The Games also made use of venues which were already in place before the bid.
The Games received widespread acclaim for their organisation, with the volunteers, the British military, and public enthusiasm praised particularly highly. During the Games, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, winning his 22nd medal. Great Britain achieved its highest tally of gold medals since 1908, finishing third in the medal table. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei entered female athletes for the first time, meaning every currently eligible country has sent a female competitor to at least one Olympic Games. With women's boxing included, the Games became the first at which every sport had female competitors.
The games has been said to be "the greatest games since moderation".
By 15 July 2003, the deadline for interested cities to submit bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. These cities were Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York City, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
Since the United Kingdom hosted the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, three bids had been made for a British city to host the Summer Olympics – Birmingham for the 1992 Games and Manchester for the 1996 and 2000 Games. Preliminary planning for a possible London bid for the 2012 Olympics began in 1997. The United Kingdom had successfully hosted the 1996 UEFA European Football Championships and the 2002 Commonwealth Games which regenerated a large part of east Manchester. Both events satisfied the IOC that the United Kingdom as a whole could host large sporting events and generated impetus for the country to host many events in the 2010s.
Then-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 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 a key member of the bid team, Guy Drut, 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, 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 received 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 as lagging Paris by a considerable margin; however, the situation began to improve with the appointment of Lord 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 bombings on London's transport system less than 24 hours after the announcement.
|2012 Summer Olympics bidding results|
|City||NOC||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|New York City||19||16||—||—|
Development and preparationEdit
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was created to oversee the staging of the Games after the success of the bid, and held its first board meeting on 3 October 2005. The committee, chaired by Lord Coe, was in charge of implementing and staging the Games, while the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was in charge of the construction of the venues and infrastructure. The latter was established in April 2006.
The Government Olympic Executive (GOE), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), was the lead government body for coordinating the London 2012 Olympics. It focused on oversight of the Games, cross-programme programme management and the London 2012 Olympic Legacy before and after the Games that would benefit London and the United Kingdom. The organisation was also responsible for the supervision of the £9.3 billion of public sector funding.
In August 2011, security concerns arose surrounding the hosting of the Olympic Games in London due to the 2011 England riots, with a few countries expressing fear over the safety of the Games, in spite of the International Olympic Committee's assurance that the riots would not affect the Games.
The IOC's Coordination Commission for the 2012 Games completed its tenth and final visit to London in March 2012. Its members concluded that "London is ready to host the world this summer".
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games used a mixture of new venues, existing and historic facilities, and temporary facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade. After the Games, some of the new facilities will be reused in their Olympic form, while others will be resized or relocated.
The majority of venues have been divided into three zones within Greater London: the Olympic Zone, the River Zone and the Central Zone. In addition there are a few venues that, by necessity, are outside the boundaries of Greater London, such as the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy some 125 miles (200 km) southwest of London, which hosted the sailing events. The football tournament was staged at several grounds around the UK. Work began on the Park in December 2006, when a sports hall in Eton Manor was pulled down. The athletes' village in Portland was completed in September 2011.
In November 2004, the 200-hectare (500-acre) Olympic Park plans were revealed. The plans for the site were approved in September 2004 by Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest. The redevelopment of the area to build the Olympic Park required compulsory purchase orders of property. The London Development Agency was in dispute with London and Continental Railways about the orders in November 2005. By May 2006, 86% of the land had been bought as businesses fought eviction. Residents who opposed the eviction tried to find ways to stop it by setting up campaigns, but they had to leave as 94% of land was bought and the other 6% bought as a £9 billion regeneration project started.
There were some issues with the original venues not being challenging enough or being financially unviable. Both the Olympic road races and the mountain bike event were initially considered to be too easy, so they were eventually scheduled on new locations. The Olympic marathon course, which was set to finish in the Olympic stadium, was moved to The Mall, since closing Tower Bridge was deemed to cause traffic problems in central London. North Greenwich Arena 2 was scrapped in a cost-cutting exercise, Wembley Arena being used for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events instead.
Test events were held throughout 2011 and 2012, either through an existing championship such as 2012 Wimbledon Championships or as a specially created event held under the banner of London Prepares.
London's public transport scored poorly in the IOC's initial evaluation; however, it felt that, if the improvements were delivered in time for the Games, London would cope. Transport for London (TfL) carried out numerous improvements in preparation for 2012, including the expansion of the London Overground's East London Line, upgrades to the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line, and the introduction of a new "Javelin" high-speed rail service. According to Network Rail, an additional 4,000 train services operated during the Games, and train operators ran longer trains during the day. During the Games, Stratford International station was not served by any international services, westbound trains did not stop at Hackney Wick railway station, and Pudding Mill Lane DLR station closed entirely during the Games.
TfL also built a £25 million cable car across the River Thames, called the Emirates Air Line, to link 2012 Olympics venues. It was inaugurated in June 2012, and crosses the Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, carrying up to 2,500 passengers an hour, cutting journey times between the O2 arena and the ExCel exhibition centre and providing a crossing every 30 seconds.
The plan was to have 80% of athletes travel less than 20 minutes to their event, and 93% of them within 30 minutes of their event. The Olympic Park would be served by ten separate railway lines with a combined capacity of 240,000 passengers per hour. In addition, LOCOG planned for 90% of the venues to be served by three or more types of public transport. Two park-and-ride sites off the M25 with a combined capacity of 12,000 cars were 25 minutes away from the Olympic Park. Another park-and-ride site was planned in Ebbsfleet with a capacity for 9,000 cars where spectators could board a 10-minute shuttle bus. To get spectators to Eton Dorney, four park-and-ride schemes were set up.
TfL defined a network of roads leading between venues as the Olympic Route Network; roads connecting between all of the Olympic venues located within London. Many of these roads also contained special "Olympic lanes" marked with the Olympic rings—reserved for the use of Olympic athletes, officials, and other VIPs during the Games. Members of the public driving in an Olympic lane were subject to a fine of £130. Additionally, London buses would not include roads with Olympic lanes on their routes. The painting of Olympic lane indicators in mid-July led to confusion from commuters, who wrongly believed that the Olympic lane restrictions had already taken effect (they were to take effect on 27 July). The A4 experienced traffic jams due to drivers avoiding the Olympic lane, and likewise on a section of Southampton Row, where the only lanes available in one direction were the Olympic lane and the bus lane.
Concerns were expressed at the logistics of spectators travelling to the events outside London. In particular, the sailing events at Portland had no direct motorway connections, and local roads are heavily congested by tourist traffic in the summer. However, a £77 million relief road connecting Weymouth to Dorchester was built and opened in 2011. Some £16 million was put aside for the rest of the improvements.
TfL created a promotional campaign and website, Get Ahead of the Games, to help provide information related to transport during the Olympics and Paralympics. Through the campaign, TfL also encouraged the use of cycling as a mode of transport during the Games. However, despite this encouragement to use bicycles, members of the public protested that riding bikes on London roads would be more dangerous due to the blocked Olympic lanes, and also protested against a decision to close the Lea Valley towpath during the Olympics and Paralympics due to security concerns.
The costs of mounting the Games are separate from those for building the venues and infrastructure, and redeveloping the land for the Olympic Park. While the Games are privately funded, the venues and Park costs are met largely by public money.
The original budget for the Games was £2.4 billion, but this was increased almost fourfold to about £9.3 billion ($14.46 billion) in 2007. The revised figures were announced to the House of Commons on 15 March 2007 by Tessa Jowell. Along with East End regeneration costs, the breakdown was:
- Building the venues and infrastructure — £5.3 billion
- Elite sport and Paralympic funding — £400 million.
- Security and policing — £600 million
- Regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley — £1.7 billion
- Contingency fund — £2.7 billion
- VAT — £800 million.
Unpaid volunteers known as Games Makers performed a variety of tasks before and during the Games. A target of 70,000 volunteers was set as early as 2004. When recruitment took place in 2010, over 240,000 applications were received. Sebastian Coe said in February 2012, "Our Games Makers will contribute a total of around eight million volunteer hours during the Games and the Games simply wouldn't happen without them". The volunteers wore Olympic style clothing which includes purple and red shirts, jackets and fleeces. They also have to wear beige socks and trousers with beige-brown shoes. Volunteers also wore photo accreditation badges which were also worn by officials, athletes, family members and media which gain them access to specific venues and buildings around the site.
Organisers estimated that some 8 million tickets would be available for the Olympic Games, and 1.5 million tickets for the Paralympic Games. LOCOG aimed to raise £375–£400 million in ticket sales. There were also free events such as marathon, triathlon and road cycling, although, for the first time in Olympic history, the sailing events were ticketed. Eventually, more than 7,000,000 tickets were sold. Following IOC rules, people applied for tickets from the NOC of their country of residence. European Union residents were able to apply for tickets in any EU country.
In Great Britain, ticket prices ranged from £20 for many events to £2,012 for the most expensive seats at the opening ceremony. Free tickets were given to military personnel, as well as to survivors and families of those who died during 7 July 2005 London bombings. Initially, people were able to apply for tickets via a website from 15 March until 26 April 2011. There was a huge demand for tickets, with a demand of over three times the number of tickets available. The process was widely criticised as more than 50% of the sessions went to a random ballot, and over half the people who applied got no tickets. On 11 May 2012 a round of nearly one million "second chance" tickets went on sale over a 10-day period between 23 June and 3 July 2011. About 1.7 million tickets available for football and 600,000 for other sports (including archery, hockey, football, judo, boxing and volleyball). Although technical difficulties were encountered, ten sports had sold out by 8 am of the first day.
During the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympics, the Olympic Flag was formally handed over from the Mayor of Beijing to the Mayor of London. This was followed by a section highlighting London. One month later, the Olympic and Paralympic flags were raised outside the London City Hall.
A countdown clock in Trafalgar Square was unveiled, 500 days before the Games. The clock broke down the following day. The countdown to the start of the Olympics began with a ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece.
The security operation was led by the police, with 10,000 officers available, supported by 13,500 members of the armed forces. Naval and air assets, including ships situated in the Thames, Eurofighter jets and surface-to-air missiles, were deployed as part of the security operation; the biggest security operation Britain had faced for decades. The cost of security increased from £282 million to £553 million, and the figure of 13,500 armed forces personnel was more than Britain currently had deployed in Afghanistan. The Metropolitan Police and the Royal Marines carried out security exercises in preparation for the Olympics on 19 January 2012, with 50 marine police officers in rigid inflatables and fast response boats, joined by up to 100 military personnel and a Lynx Navy helicopter.
The Ministry of Defense distributed leaflets to residents of the Lexington building in Bow, announcing that a missile system was to be stationed on top of the water tower. This caused concern to some residents. The Ministry said it probably would use Starstreak missiles and that site evaluations had taken place, but that no final decision had taken place.
It emerged in July 2012 that G4S, the firm responsible for supplying security staff for the Olympics, had been unable to recruit enough, so the shortfall would have to be made up by 3,500 UK military servicepeople. There were also media reports that G4S had failed to respond to people applying for jobs as security staff, that recruits were inadequately trained, that some were teenagers, and some were not fully conversant in English.
Approximately 4,700 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been produced by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant. They were designed by David Watkins (Olympics) and Lin Cheung (Paralympics). 99% of the gold, silver and copper was donated by Rio Tinto from a mine in Salt Lake County, Utah in the U.S. The remaining 1% came from a Mongolian mine. Each medal weighs 375–400 g (13.2–14 oz), has a diameter of 85 mm (3.3 in) and is 7 mm (0.28 in) thick, with the sport and discipline engraved on the rim. The obverse, as is traditional, features Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, stepping from the Panathinaiko Stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, with Parthenon in the background; the reverse features the Games logo, the River Thames and a series of lines representing "the energy of athletes and a sense of pulling together". The medals were transferred to the Tower of London vaults on 2 July 2012 for storage.
Each gold medal is made up of 92.5 percent silver and 1.34 percent gold, with the remainder copper. The silver medal (which represents second place) is made up of 92.5 percent silver, with the remainder copper. The bronze medal is made up of 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc and 0.5 percent tin. The value of the materials in the gold medal was about $644, the silver about $330, and the bronze about $4.71 on the market at the time.
The Olympics torch relay ran from 19 May to 27 July 2012, before the Games. Plans for the relay were developed in 2010–11, with the torch-bearer selection process announced on 18 May 2011. The Olympic flame arrived on flight BA2012 on 18 May 2012 from Greece. The relay lasted 70 days, with 66 evening celebrations and six island visits, and involved about 8,000 people carrying the torch a distance of about 8,000 miles (12,800 km), starting from Land's End in Cornwall. The torch had one day outside of the United Kingdom when it visited Dublin on 6 June. The relay was focusing on National Heritage Sites, locations and venues with sporting significance, key sporting events, schools registered with the Get Set School Network, green spaces and biodiversity, Live Sites (city locations with large screens), festivals and other events.
The Olympic Park was planned to incorporate 45 hectares of wildlife habitat, with a total of 525 bird boxes, and 150 bat boxes. Local waterways and riverbanks were enhanced as part of the process. Renewable energy also features at the Olympics. It was originally planned to provide 20% of the energy for the Olympic Park and Village from renewable technologies; however, this may now be as little as 9%. Proposals to meet the original target included large-scale on-site wind turbines and hydroelectric generators in the River Thames. These plans were scrapped for safety reasons. The focus has since moved to installing solar panels on some buildings, and providing the opportunity to recover energy from waste. Food packaging at the Olympics is made from compostable materials – like starch and cellulose-based bioplastics – where it cannot be re-used or recycled. This includes fast food wrappers, sandwich boxes and drink cartons. After they have been used, many of these materials would be suitable for anaerobic digestion (AD), allowing them to be made into renewable energy. Buildings like the Water Polo Arena will be relocated elsewhere. Building Parts like Roofing Covers and membranes of different temporary venues will be recycled via Vinyloop. This allows to meet the standards of the Olympic Delivery Authority, concerning environmental protection. Through this recycling process, the Olympic Games PVC Policy is fulfilled. It says that
- Where London 2012 procures PVC for temporary usage or where permanent usage is not assured, London 2012 is required to ensure that there is a take-back scheme that offers a closed loop reuse system or mechanical recycling system for post-consumer waste.
London 2012 are the first Olympic Games whose guidelines include the recycling of PVC.
The Olympic Charter, the set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games and for governing the Olympic Movement, states that
"LOCOG shall organize a programme of cultural events which must cover at least the entire period during which the Olympic Village is open."
The Cultural Olympiad comprises many programmes, with over 500 events spread over four years across the whole of the United Kingdom, and culminating in the London 2012 Festival.
The opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics was held on 27 July and called "Isles of Wonder". Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle was its artistic director, with the music directors being the electronic music duo Rick Smith and Karl Hyde of Underworld.
The Games were officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It was the second Games the Queen had opened personally, the first being the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. All successive Olympics held in Canada or Australia have been opened by their respective governors-general.
A short comic film starring Daniel Craig as secret agent James Bond and the Queen as herself was screened during the ceremony.
Live musical performers included Frank Turner, Mike Oldfield, London Symphony Orchestra (accompanied by Rowan Atkinson), Dizzee Rascal, Arctic Monkeys and Sir Paul McCartney, who performed the song "Hey Jude" at the end of the ceremony.
Furthermore, there was Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling who read a piece of the story of Peter Pan, followed by an enormous Voldemort figure trying to attack little children, alongside his Death-Eaters. But thousands of Mary Poppins' rose from the sky to stop him.
The official BARB ratings give the opening ceremony a rating of 24.24 million viewers, the highest audience for any British television broadcast since 1996.
The closing ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics was held on 12 August 2012. In addition to protocol, the ceremony featured a flashback fiesta to British music with The Who finishing out the performance. The ceremony also included a handover of the Olympic flag by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, to Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics.