We are now in the final stages of preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a very proud moment for Britain. We will be staging what we’re determined will be the best Games ever. And, with the marvellous celebrations and festivities last month to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, it will be a very special summer, for everyone in the United Kingdom, and British citizens around the world.
So what will London 2012 offer? Of course, sport will be at the heart of it. We will see world records broken, unforgettable memories created, and new friendships begun. But Britain has been determined, since the initial bidding for the Olympics, that when the events are over and the medals have been handed out, the Games should provide a lasting legacy.
A whole new quarter of London, around the Olympic Park in the east of the city, has been fashioned from old industrial ground. It’s been a powerhouse of regeneration and, after the Games, the area will be the site of new homes, businesses and jobs.
London has led the way with new methods of design and construction, using low-carbon technologies, protecting existing habitats and creating new ones for native species, in order to make London 2012 the first truly sustainable Games.
The Olympic movement has often acted as a showground for new technologies. Tokyo in 1964 saw, for the first time live on television, competitors’ times shown on a timer linked to the starting gun and the use of photo-finish technology. Almost half a century later, in London, we will witness the first fully digital games, watched in 3D or Super Hi-Vision, on multiple platforms and with athletes tweeting their innermost thoughts.
We want these Games to be about more than just welcoming athletes to London for a single summer.
For entrepreneurs and investors, London 2012 is a chance to discover new opportunities in a country which has the fewest barriers to entrepreneurship in the world.
For tourists and visitors, it is a chance to experience Britain’s unique blend of the old and the new—the history and heritage of our castles, landscapes and royal houses alongside the cutting-edge diversity of our music, art, theatre and fashion.
I can’t write about London 2012 without mentioning Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I know that the Tokyo bidding team will be working hard to put together an identifiably Japanese winning proposal. Over the past two years, we have held a number of events at the British Embassy Tokyo to showcase what we believe will make London 2012 special. We are very happy to share our experiences with Tokyo and will watch their progress with great interest.
Hosting the London 2012 Games is a tremendous honour. We want to make it a great moment for Britain, and we are looking forward to welcoming the world to be part of it.