Excitement builds for Olympics opener

25 July 2012 / 13:47

Anticipation is building on the streets of Cardiff as the Welsh capital prepared to play host to the first sporting action of the London Olympics.

While the opening ceremony does not take place until Friday, the Millennium Stadium plays host to the group stage meeting between Team GB and New Zealand in the women's football competition.

Glorious sunshine greeted Lord Coe, the chairman of the Games organising committee, as he visited the ground just hours ahead of kick off.

While Lord Coe will not be at the game he took the time to address the security and volunteer staff working at the stadium, warmly thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to enjoy a "once in a lifetime" experience.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is set to attend the opening event of the Games, which ends a seven-year wait for the Olympics to begin after London was awarded the right to host them back in July 2005.

Following his tour of the stadium, Lord Coe said: "One of the commitments we made when we were bidding, and I felt strongly about this as somebody who was not brought up in London, was this had to be about the whole of the UK, and this is a really strong signal to our commitment to that concept.

"A lot of the Games are in London but this is not uniquely a London story. When I came in this morning I felt I was arriving in an Olympic city, I have been to Cardiff plenty of times but it had a different feel about it today."

Among the volunteers at the Millennium Stadium will be retired teacher Susan Enright from Vancouver, who previously volunteered at a number of events, including the 2010 Winter Olympics.

She said: "My Olympic journey started a couple of years before the Winter Olympics. I had worked at World Cup events for biathlon and cross country skiing, for paralympic and able-bodied athletes, and it was such a wonderful experience that my husband and I went on to volunteer for the Winter Olympics.

"After those Games we had a lot of emails from the IOC saying they were looking for volunteers in London and here I am."