Challenges of Hosting and Planning an
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This paper examines the challenges
involved in holding and preparing for an international event, in this instance
the Olympic Games that were hosted by London in 2012.
People across the
entire world turn their attention to a particular city every two years to watch
athletics competing in the biggest athletics event in the world. There is eager
anticipation concerning the forthcoming event where the best athletes worldwide
will congregate in London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games (referred to
officially as the Games of the XXX Olympiad.)
The expenditure related
to the Olympics has soared in the past few years; it is anticipated that the
2012 Olympics in London will come to a total figure of $12 billion, roughly 150
times as much as the Olympic expenditure of $75 million spent in Los Angeles in
Nevertheless, London is
required to undertake a meticulous set of preparations prior to holding the
event. This report will consider these planning requirements in relation to
seven prominent aspects – the location of the Olympic Park, the establishment
of innovative facilities, aspects concerning ticketing, the spectators, the
spirit of the Olympics, the transport network, the threat of terrorism, and the
necessity to ensure a legacy. Additionally, the impact of engineers will be
discussed in relation to their critical role within the planning stage.
CONSTRUCTION AND VENUES
Although the locations to be used for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics
have yet to be fully decided (pressure is being applied to both sports to agree
to use of the Wembley Arena) developments have been effective even if they have
come at considerable expense.
idea of financing the Olympic village and media facilities privately had to be
abandoned following the 2008 recession, meaning that the majority of the £9.37
billion budget set aside for building it will be utilised.
excess of £1 billion of the contingency funding has not yet been used. This
will be of benefit as the fixed deadline for completion draws nearer. It is
anticipated that the Olympic Delivery Authority will use its maximum allocation
of 10,000 individuals working for it in the next twelve months.
The next year
will result in the concrete-and-steel skeletons for the location being
extended; the roof of the aquatic Centre, that additionally provides access to
the park, is set to be finished next summer.
Summer 2011 sees the
major deadline where every sports venue has to be finished so that the London
organising committee can undertake test events. These facilities will include
the Velodrome, aquatics Centre, international broadcast Centre, Olympic
Stadium, basketball and handball arenas.
to occur as planned, the ODA – along with its partners- will be required to
continue acting in a disciplined manner, especially with regards to industrial
connections. They will additionally need to ensure that they use the
contingency funds available to them in an efficient manner so as to maintain
When it was
announced that London had won the Olympics in 2005, chemical and environmental
engineers started the process of improving the region’s waterways and soils;
both of these had suffered extensive pollution because of long periods of
industrial use, through a mechanism known as bioremediation 2. This method
incorporates utilising cleansing fungi, plants, microorganisms, and enzymes in
ecosystems that need cleaning.
Figure 1: Stratford, an industrial area in London, was
chosen as the location of the 2012 Olympic games.
is arguable that the most contentious and emotive aspect that the organising
committee will encounter up to the start of the Olympics concerns tickets. In
2011, approximately nine million tickets will go on sale and two of the most
significant factors will be cost and demand.
of London’s winning bid was its pledge to set reduced ticket prices at roughly
£15. However, organisers now intend to charge more than this due to the
necessity to fulfil the objective of obtaining £2 billion from commercial
view of the enhanced cost of tickets, the organisers have to find a solution
for making tickets available to individuals from different areas of the nation;
additionally, they need to be affordable and accessible to normal families,
especially as the taxpayer has contributed significantly to the hosting of the
issue of benefits provided to sponsors is also relevant; in Beijing, there were
vast quantities of vacant seats that had been allocated to sponsors and London
will not want to replicate such an occurrence.
are already being held between Locog and the IOC regarding methods that will
enable empty seats to be occupied, such as using buses to take youngsters to
the venue when needed.
costs involved with the Olympics are higher than normal, with an average of
£2.50 for an ice cream, £4.30 for one bottle of beer, and £5 for a pasty.
However, individuals are allowed to bring sandwiches with them and enjoy
picnics in the park. There has been enormous demand for tickets; additional
tickets were made available online but it is anticipated that 2.5m individuals
have attempted to acquire these.
The Olympic Spirit
Olympic organisers are responsible for creating a look, feel and atmosphere for
the event that resonates with the public. The 2008 economic crisis has
influenced some attitudes towards the event, with the Games being regarded as an
inappropriate waste of limited resources. The organisations have to attempt to
modify this outlook so that it is viewed as part of the recovery process.
requirement for achieving this will be to create an identity that meets public approval
whilst fulfilling the pledge of London’s bid that the Games would be
significant, fresh and vibrant. The commercial aspect of the Olympics, however,
does mean that elements such as merchandising and marketing will be of great
significance. One obvious sign of this is the presence of furry mascots, that
will be revealed next year and are likely to provide an undesirable insight
into how this area will develop ahead of the Games.
must be recognised that London’s transport network will not be suddenly
enhanced simply because the Olympic Games are being held there. The organisers
need to ensure that the transport network is sufficient for spectators to
smoothly travel around.
fact that the Olympics will be held during the summer holiday will be one source
of comfort to the organisers. Swift progression incorporates the progression of
the Dockland Light Railway extension; this will result in five new stations
becoming available for use over the next year. There are also contentious suggestions
regarding the introduction of an Olympic Route Network; this will result in ‘Zil
lanes’ being allocated to some significant roads in London, with only
competitors officials, and the media enabled to use these roads during this
significant public consultation has been undertaken in an attempt to make
motorists in the capital aware. However, it is inevitable that the idea will
instigate criticism and Boris Johnson has opposed the idea publicly.
approval be given for Wembley Arena to be used as a location then the Olympics
lanes will become especially significant. The quickest time possible for the
journey from the athletes’ village in Stratford to Wembley is 37 minutes;
realistically, it is more likely to take over an hour. Such a time seems
excessive for those badminton players and gymnasts who are scheduled to be
participating at that location, so it will be necessary to come up with an
appropriate way of handling this aspect.
Elizabeth Renzetti, writing for the Canadian The Globe and Mail, stated
that the ‘greatest threat’ to the Olympics is global terrorism. The positive
aspects of the Olympics could be completely undermined by just one terrorist
As well as the Olympics themselves being a
high-profile event that makes it vulnerable to a terrorist incident, London has
previously been a victim to such an attack, with the London bombings occurring
on Thursday 7 July 2005 – 24 hours after it had been revealed that London was
to hold these Olympics.
of London’s Olympic bid concerned the pledge that it would motivate young
people worldwide; it also declared that it would improve involvement in sport
within the United Kingdom. Such promises in a campaign rarely come to fruition
but London’s integrity will be doubted if it fails to provide this.
transformational capacity of the Games enabled Treasury vaults become available
for areas in East London to be improved. However, the public will need to be
convinced that there are sporting and health benefits fo the country for the
considerable expense of the Games to be accepted. A concern is that this is an
aspect where progress appears to have been significantly limited. This is
perhaps because it is difficult to suggest suitable approaches for persuading a
teenager to partake in exercise rather than sit on the sofa or to persuade a
man not to visit the pub.
has been suggested by Sebastian Coe that organisers will need to implement
suitable strategies to reinforce the motivation provided by an inspirational
Olympic Games. There are gradually indications that such strategies are being
Boris Johnson’s election, the strategies previous suggested were discarded with
Baroness Ford instead given the responsibility of leading the Olympic Legacy
Delivery Company; they will have the task for regulating the Olympic Park
following the Olympics. A significant issue still to be resolved is identifying
a tenant to permanently occupy the stadium, or else to find a business means
for making the venue self-sufficient.
issue of soft legacy is more challenging. However, the government states that its
methods including the offer of free swimming have helped to ensure that it
fulfils its objective of getting an additional 2 million individuals to partake
in sport or physical activity by the time of the Olympics.
Should they be successful in the forthcoming election, the Conservatives
will have significant work to make the pledges from Labour actually occur.