London calls with one year to go
The 2012 Olympic games medals, designed by David Watkins, are unveiled ahead of the 'London 2012 - One Year To Go' ceremony at LOCOG headquarters, Canary Wharf on July 27, 2011 in London, England. The one year countdown to the London 2012 Olympic games was marked with a unique ceremony in Trafalgar Square, with IOC President Jacques Rogge inviting the world's athletes to compete in next summer's games.
LONDON, July 28, 2011 - London's Olympic organisers have celebrated another milestone on the road to 2012 in Central London. British Prime Minister David Cameron made the short journey from Downing Street to join the thousands in Trafalgar Square to mark yesterday's one year until the Opening Ceremony.
London rolled out the pageantry for the occasion with a fanfare by the trumpeters of the Household Cavalry . The Olympic Anthem resounded around the square to introduce the IOC President Jacques Rogge, on hand to issue the first invitations to compete next year.
"The athletes will be ready and so will London," said Rogge. "Athletes will be dreaming of competing in packed state of the art venues in front of passionate crowds in this magnificent city," he said.
It seems likely that there will be 202 teams in London, although there will also be a sizeable contingent of Individual Olympic Athletes. Competitors from the new nation of South Sudan will be amongst those to compete under the Olympic flag, alongside athletes from the Netherlands Antilles and nations which are still suspended by the IOC at the time of the Games.
HRH the Princess Royal, President of the British Olympic Association, introduced the Olympic medals to be awarded in 2012. Struck at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, they were designed by British artist David Watkins and lean heavily on architectural motifs and the River Thames. The medals also feature the design of the goddess Nike, introduced at the 2004 Games in Athens.
Incidentally, the London Games in 1908 were the first to have the gold silver and bronze medals so familiar today.
Earlier in the day journalists had their first opportunity to inspect the inside of the Aquatic Centre. The work of Zaha Hadid, it features a signature wave- like roof. Synchronised swimmers formed a giant figure one to mark the time until the games and local swimmers were followed into the pool by a small group of journalists.
There was only one man to make the first dive into the pool, former World Champion Tom Daley. At 14 years and 83 days he was Britain's youngest competitor at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Lord Coe cheerfully admits that the Sydney 2000 Games will be hard to beat .
"As far as I am concerned, Syndey were the best games ever," he said . "I want to deliver a games that pulls all the best things that I witnessed in Sydney.....The party atmosphere , the athletes' atmosphere, the high standard of volunteers. If I can nick all those things I'll be happy".