GB Athletes Pass London 2012 Tests with Flying Colours
August 16, 2011 17:00 pm
Since the one year to go mark passed at the end of last month the preparations for London 2012 have definitely moved up another gear, just as the sensational Mark Cavendish did in his sprint for the finish line down the Mall to win the London Prepares road race on Sunday.
The London Organising Committee (LOCOG) are to be congratulated for putting on a string of successful test events so far. I’ve attended all fifteen of them, from sailing in Weymouth to rowing in Eton, canoeing in Broxbourne to triathlon in Hyde Park. The test events provide a vital opportunity for the BOA, and our colleagues within the sport National Governing Bodies, to test our operations and use the feedback to develop our detailed plans for execution with Team GB next summer.
Last week my colleagues from the Team GB leadership and I took part in the London 2012 Chefs de Mission seminar alongside representatives from around 200 National Olympic Committees. The leaders of Olympic teams from around the world that we spoke to were unanimously positive about the progress being made in London. In fact, they were very enthused about the quality of the venues, the integration of iconic venues - such as the beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade – and the reports from their athletes were that they are greatly enjoying the test events and looking forward to extraordinary sporting competition next summer.
Perhaps the biggest test of all over the past fortnight has been the riots. While there can be no doubt that the images of violence were damaging, in some ways, it underscores why events such as the Olympic Games are so vitally important in our world today. A year from now, London will be the city where the world comes together in a spirit of friendship, peace, understanding and human excellence. London will be the city where we see the very best examples of humanity - and those images will be far different from what we have seen the past week.
Great Britain’s athletes have been in truly outstanding form across a wide range of sports, with Helen Jenkins and Alistair Brownlee’s fantastic victories in the women’s and men’s triathlons followed by another win for Ben Ainslie in the sailing before Mark Cavendish showed his class in the road cycling. Combined with exciting performances from young athletes in badminton and beach volleyball last week, these results certainly add encouragement to our ambition of winning more medals from more sports than we have done in over a hundred years next summer.
Perhaps the most pleasing outcome of the test events is that the British athletes have clearly enjoyed competing at home and been boosted by the enthusiastic support of the home crowd. The importance and impact of British fan support cannot be underestimated and I have no doubt that come next summer, the great British public will give Team GB athletes the extra one percent that can make all the difference. To my mind, British sports fans are simply the best in the world – passionate, knowledgeable and ready to play their part in helping Team GB to succeed. We are currently finalising a number of opportunities for fans to get behind the team and we will reveal these exciting initiatives over the coming months as we build up to the greatest sporting event of our lifetimes, now just 346 days away.
This week, attention will turn to the Olympic Park as the first test events take place in the hugely impressive basketball arena and on the BMX track. Once again, British athletes will be looking to feed off the home crowd support and deliver inspirational performances. Let’s go GB!
Andy Hunt, Team GB Chef de Mission & BOA CEO