The 2012 Summer Olympics, formally the Games of the XXX Olympiad[1] and commonly known as London 2012, was a major international multi-sport event celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games, as governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It took place in London and to a lesser extent across the United Kingdom from 25 July to 12 August 2012. The first event, the group stage in women's football began on 25 July at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, followed by the opening ceremonies on 27 July.[2][3] 10,768 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated.[4]

Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and then-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating bids from Moscow, New York City, Madrid, and Paris.[5] London is the first and only city thus far to host the modern Olympic Games three times,[6][7] having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.[8][9]

Construction for the Games involved considerable redevelopment, with an emphasis on sustainability.[10] The main focus was a new Template:Convert Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford, East London.[11] The Games also made use of venues that already existed before the bid.[12]

The Games received widespread acclaim for their organisation, with the volunteers, the British military and public enthusiasm praised particularly highly.[13][14][15] The opening ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle, received widespread acclaim throughout the world, particular praise from the British public and a minority of widely ranging criticisms from some social media sites.[16][17] During the Games, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, winning his 22nd medal.[18] Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei entered female athletes for the first time, so that every currently eligible country has sent a female competitor to at least one Olympic Games.[19] Women's boxing was included for the first time, thus the Games became the first at which every sport had female competitors.[20][21][22] These were the final Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Jacques Rogge.

The final medal tally was led by the United States, followed by China and host Great Britain. Several world and Olympic records were set at the games. Though there were several controversies, the 2012 games were deemed highly successful with the rising standards of competition amongst nations across the world, packed stadiums and smooth organisation. Furthermore, the focus on sporting legacy and post-games venue sustainability was seen as a blueprint for future Olympics.

Bidding processEdit

By 15 July 2003, the deadline for interested cities to submit bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Summer Olympics: Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York City, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.[23] On 18 May 2004, as a result of a scored technical evaluation, the IOC reduced the number of cities to five: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris.[24] All five submitted their candidate files by 19 November 2004 and were visited by the IOC inspection team during February and March 2005. The Paris bid suffered two setbacks during the IOC inspection visit: a number of strikes and demonstrations coinciding with the visits, and a report that a key member of the bid team, Guy Drut, would face charges over alleged corrupt party political finances.[25]

File:Lord Coe - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 cropped.jpg

Throughout the process, Paris was widely seen as the favourite, particularly as this was its third bid in recent years. London was initially seen as lagging behind Paris by a considerable margin. Its position began to improve after the appointment of Lord Coe as the new head of London 2012 on 19 May 2004.[26] In late August 2004, reports predicted a tie between London and Paris.[27]

On 6 June 2005, the IOC released its evaluation reports for the five candidate cities. They did not contain any scores or rankings, but the report for Paris was considered the most positive. London was close behind, having closed most of the gap observed by the initial evaluation in 2004. New York and Madrid also received very positive evaluations.[28] On 1 July 2005, when asked who would win, Jacques Rogge said, "I cannot predict it since I don't know how the IOC members will vote. But my gut feeling tells me that it will be very close. Perhaps it will come down to a difference of say ten votes, or maybe less."[29]

On the same day, New York City's bid suffered a major setback following the report that the State of New York refused to fund West Side Stadium, a New York 2012 centrepiece. The New York City campaign devised an alternative plan within the week, but such a major change with only one month remaining before the final vote damaged any chances.

On 6 July 2005, the final selection was announced at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore. Two sports were dropped from the Olympic Games: Baseball and Softball. Moscow was the first city to be eliminated, followed by New York and Madrid. The final two contenders were London and Paris. At the end of the fourth round of voting, London won the right to host the 2012 Games with 54 votes to Paris' 50.[30] The celebrations in London were short-lived, being overshadowed by bombings on London's transport system less than 24 hours after the announcement.[31]

2012 host city election – ballot results
City Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
London 22273954
Paris 21253350
Madrid 203231
New York City 1917
Moscow 15

117th IOC SessionEdit

The opening ceremony of the 117th IOC Session was held at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay in Singapore on 5 July 2005. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the guest of honour and officially opened the session. Song, dance and martial arts exhibitions with the theme "One Voice, One Rhythm, One World" began the ceremony.

On 6 July 2005, the election day, the IOC Session was held at the Raffles City Convention Centre. It began at 1:00 UTC with the one-hour final presentations of the candidate cities, followed by a half-hour press briefing, in the following order: Paris, New York City, Moscow, London and Madrid. The bid presentations ended at 9:00 UTC and a presentation of the Evaluation Commission's final report preceded the election. Of the 116 active IOC members, 17 could not vote in the first round, leaving 99 members able to exert their voting rights.

The electronic ballot began at 10:26 UTC, and the first three rounds eliminated Moscow, New York City and Madrid, respectively. After a city was eliminated, members from that city's country were allowed to vote in the following rounds. London and Paris made it to the fourth and final round of voting, which concluded at 10:45 UTC. An hour later, at 11:49 UTC, London was formally announced as the winner by Jacques Rogge. Approximately one billion viewers watched the announcement on live television.

After the announcement, the ballot results were published: London gathered more votes in the first, third and final rounds, while Madrid won the second round despite falling short on votes in the third round and being eliminated. The competitiveness of the bids from Paris and London was ultimately demonstrated by a four-vote difference in the final round.

After a technical evaluation of the nine original bids, the top five were shortlisted on 18 May 2004, becoming official candidates. The remaining applicant cities—Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig and Rio de Janeiro—were eliminated.

Moscow BidEdit

Moscow's plan for the 2012 Olympics were to be built upon the legacy created by the 1980 Summer Olympics. It called for every single competition to be staged in sports venues within the city limits and in clustered areas around the Moscow River, which would have made it one of the "most compact Games ever" according to the bid's head Valery Shantsev. All existing venues would have been extensively renovated and new venues were to be constructed and tested in time for the Olympics. The centrepiece and core of the city's Olympic bid was the new, modern Olympic Village, that would be constructed on one of the river banks. Despite a high support from the city and national population, plus an extended hosting experience, Moscow suffered from insufficient accommodation and an old transport system which may not have been able to cope with the expected traffic during the Olympics. This was where Russia's weather is snowy from October 2006 to March 2007, but Moscow girls were experienced wearing high heels in August 2006, this was previewed in actual in July 2008.

New York City BidEdit

New York City was selected over San Francisco during the United States internal bid competition in 2002. The "Olympic X" plan was the main concept proposed by the bid team: two primary transportation lines would string together the several Olympic venue clusters in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and even East Rutherford, New Jersey; an 8,550-room Olympic Village would be located at the lines' intersection. Within the clusters, existing sites such as Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, Central Park, USTA National Tennis Center, and Giants Stadium and Continental Airlines Arena (Meadowlands Sports Complex), would stand next to new venues, like the Queensbridge Athletic Center, Greenbelt Equestrian Center and the Flushing Meadows Regatta Center. The city assured plentiful accommodation and possessed a high-level hosting experience, and the city's ability to market itself throughout the world, was seen as one of its strongest aspects. The bid was dealt a setback when New York State authorities refused to approve the construction of the West Side Stadium, the plan's main venue in the western part where the LEGO Exhibits are located, hampering the bid's chances in the short-run. The city's bid was revived when it announced an agreement to construct a new stadium (Citi Field), which was billed as the potential primary venue for the ceremonies and athletics. New York City was never seen as a front-runner, and its chances for getting the Games were hurt after Canada secured the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Madrid BidEdit

In early 2003, Madrid beat Seville to represent the country on the international Olympic bidding stage. Madrid presented an above-average bid where almost all sports venues were located within three clusters close to each other and to the city centre. Several existing facilities ensured low expenditure would be sufficient to host the Olympics, while new and permanent sports venues would have provided a lasting Olympic legacy to the city. For the first time in the history of the Games, the transportation and accommodation of the hundreds of thousands of tourists gathering in the capital would be entirely dependent on public transport infrastructure. All venues and public transport would have run on renewable energy, turning the Games of Madrid into the "green Olympics". The city had experience in hosting numerous European and World championships and cups in several Olympic sports. Of the five candidate bids, Madrid's was the most supported by its city and national population, and its promotion was boosted with the support of the former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who lobbied votes for the Spanish capital. During the last stages of the bidding process, IOC member Prince Albert of Monaco questioned the security of Madrid, remembering the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks which took place in the city on 11 March 2004, and killed 191 people. The Spanish delegation found this remark especially offensive and regarded the final election of London over Madrid as a consequence of Albert's words.

Paris BidEdit

Paris was widely regarded as the firm favourite to become the host city of the 2012 Olympics, considering it lost out on its previous bids for the 1992 and the 2008 Summer Olympics to Barcelona and Beijing, respectively. The Parisian bid planned for the placement of sports venues in the city's northern and western clusters, with the Olympic Village stationed in between, less than 10 minutes away from each one. The plan received a high technical score from the IOC due to the city's well-maintained transport system and plentiful accommodation, making it able to handle a large number of tourists. The bid garnered much support from Parisians and the nation on the whole. Although much of the infrastructure, like the Stade de France, was already in place, the plan proposed to build temporary sports venues that could be moved and reused elsewhere after the Games. Paris's rich cultural and Olympic heritage were emphasized as well as the city's experience in hosting successful international sporting events, such as the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2003 World Championships in Athletics. All of these items placed Paris in a very strong position.

London BidEdit

After Birmingham/Ernest and Manchester failed to deliver winning bids for the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) decided that London was the best choice to pursue the goal of hosting the Summer Olympics. The centrepiece of the London bid was the Lower Lea Valley, the location designated to be transformed into a world-class Olympic Park and Olympic Village. It was to be connected via a high-speed shuttle service, dubbed the Olympic Javelin, and existing transportation links capable of transferring 240,000 people per hour. After the closing of the Games, the area was to be transformed into the largest urban park developed in Europe for more than 150 years, with an area of 500 acres (2 km2), and would be home to the Olympic Medical Institute (OMI), a sports medical and rehabilitation centre. The bid called for substantial improvement of the London Underground system and more investment into new Olympic sites throughout the city. Emphasis was put on London's world-famous landmarks and existing sporting venues. London was considered to be the second favourite for the election after Paris, but an inspirational and thought-provoking presentation led by Sebastian Coe, pushed the British bid irreversibly ahead of that of the French. On 7 July 2005, the victory celebrations were marred by the terrorist attacks on London's public transport system. This prompted immediate fears concerning the security of the 2012 Games, to which the IOC and British officials reacted in a reassuring way.

Other non-selected applicant citiesEdit

Besides the initial nine applicant cities, other cities also wished to bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, but the bids were not internally selected by the NOC (in case of more than one bidding city from the same country), were not put forward to the IOC, or were withdrawn before filing the necessary paperwork.

The Nigerian capital, Abuja, planned to present a bid to become the first African city to stage the Olympic Games, but ended up not filling its application. In Asia, three cities were interested in holding the Games, but did not officially submit a bid: Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Tel Aviv. In South America, the Brazilian Olympic Committee chose Rio de Janeiro over São Paulo, and if Rio de Janeiro had been selected by the IOC, it would have been the first Olympiad staged in South America (four years on, Rio de Janeiro did land the 2016 Games). In Canada, Toronto initially planned to gain hosting rights for 2012 after losing the 2008 Olympics bidding process, but because Vancouver landed the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Canadian city cancelled these plans. In the United States, the city of New York was picked by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) over San Francisco, although several other cities submitted candidatures to become the American candidate for the 2012 Olympics; these included Houston, Washington D.C. (in cooperation with nearby Baltimore), Cincinnati, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Seattle and Tampa (in cooperation with nearby Orlando). Several European cities wanted to follow the likes of London, Madrid, Moscow and Paris, and were thus hopeful to gain their NOC's support. Germany chose Leipzig over Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Stuttgart, while in Spain, Seville lost out to Madrid. Other referenced cities were Budapest, Milan, Rome, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Oslo and Copenhagen.

Development and preparationEdit

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was created to oversee the staging of the Games after the success of the bid, and held its first board meeting on 3 October 2005.[32] The committee, chaired by Lord Coe, was in charge of implementing and staging the Games, while the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was in charge of the construction of the venues and infrastructure.[32] The latter was established in April 2006.[33]

The Government Olympic Executive (GOE), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), was the lead government body for coordinating the London 2012 Olympics. It focused on oversight of the Games, cross-programme programme management and the London 2012 Olympic Legacy before and after the Games that would benefit London and the United Kingdom. The organisation was also responsible for the supervision of the £9.3 billion of public sector funding.[34]

In August 2011, security concerns arose surrounding the hosting of the Olympic Games in London[35] due to the 2011 England riots, with a few countries expressing fear over the safety of the Games,[36] in spite of the International Olympic Committee's assurance that the riots would not affect the Games.[37]

The IOC's Coordination Commission for the 2012 Games completed its tenth and final visit to London in March 2012. Its members concluded that "London is ready to host the world this summer".[38]


Main article: Venues of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games used a mixture of new venues, existing and historic facilities, and temporary facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade. After the Games, some of the new facilities will be reused in their Olympic form, while others will be resized or relocated.[39]

The majority of venues have been divided into three zones within Greater London: the Olympic Zone, the River Zone and the Central Zone. In addition there are a few venues that, by necessity, are outside the boundaries of Greater London, such as the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy some Template:Convert southwest of London, which hosted the sailing events. The football tournament was staged at several grounds around the UK.[40] Work began on the Park in December 2006, when a sports hall in Eton Manor was pulled down.[41] The athletes' village in Portland was completed in September 2011.[42]

In November 2004, the 200-hectare (500-acre) Olympic Park plans were revealed.[43] The plans for the site were approved in September 2004 by Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest.[44] The redevelopment of the area to build the Olympic Park required compulsory purchase orders of property. The London Development Agency was in dispute with London and Continental Railways about the orders in November 2005. By May 2006, 86% of the land had been bought as businesses fought eviction.[45] Residents who opposed the eviction tried to find ways to stop it by setting up campaigns, but they had to leave as 94% of land was bought and the other 6% bought as a £9 billion regeneration project started.[46] Template:Clear

Template:Wide image There were some issues with the original venues not being challenging enough or being financially unviable. Both the Olympic road races and the mountain bike event were initially considered to be too easy, so they were eventually scheduled on new locations.[47][48] The Olympic marathon course, which was set to finish in the Olympic stadium, was moved to The Mall, since closing Tower Bridge was deemed to cause traffic problems in central London.[49] North Greenwich Arena 2 was scrapped in a cost-cutting exercise, Wembley Arena being used for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events instead.[50][51][52][53]

Test events were held throughout 2011 and 2012, either through an existing championship such as 2012 Wimbledon Championships or as a specially created event held under the banner of London Prepares.[54]

Public transportEdit

London's public transport scored poorly in the IOC's initial evaluation; however, it felt that, if the improvements were delivered in time for the Games, London would cope.[55] Transport for London (TfL) carried out numerous improvements in preparation for 2012, including the expansion of the London Overground's East London Line, upgrades to the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line, and the introduction of a new "Javelin" high-speed rail service.[56] According to Network Rail, an additional 4,000 train services operated during the Games, and train operators ran longer trains during the day.[57] During the Games, Stratford International station was not served by any international services (just as it had not been before the Games),[58] westbound trains did not stop at Hackney Wick railway station,[59] and Pudding Mill Lane DLR station closed entirely during the Games.[60]

File:Emirates Air Line towers 24 May 2012.jpg

TfL also built a £25 million cable car across the River Thames, called the Emirates Air Line, to link 2012 Olympics venues.[61] It was inaugurated in June 2012, and crosses the Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, carrying up to 2,500 passengers an hour, cutting journey times between the O2 arena and the ExCeL exhibition centre and providing a crossing every 30 seconds.[62]

The plan was to have 80% of athletes travel less than 20 minutes to their event,[63] and 93% of them within 30 minutes of their event.[64] The Olympic Park would be served by ten separate railway lines with a combined capacity of 240,000 passengers per hour.[65] In addition, LOCOG planned for 90% of the venues to be served by three or more types of public transport.[64] Two park-and-ride sites off the M25 with a combined capacity of 12,000 cars were 25 minutes away from the Olympic Park. Another park-and-ride site was planned in Ebbsfleet with a capacity for 9,000 cars where spectators could board a 10-minute shuttle train service.[64] To get spectators to Eton Dorney, four park-and-ride schemes were set up.[66]

File:London 2012 games lane.jpg

TfL defined a network of roads leading between venues as the Olympic Route Network; roads connecting between all of the Olympic venues located within London. Many of these roads also contained special "Olympic lanes" marked with the Olympic ringsTemplate:Emdashreserved for the use of Olympic athletes, officials, and other VIPs during the Games. Members of the public driving in an Olympic lane were subject to a fine of £130. Additionally, London buses would not include roads with Olympic lanes on their routes.[67][68][69] The painting of Olympic lane indicators in mid-July led to confusion from commuters, who wrongly believed that the Olympic lane restrictions had already taken effect (they were to take effect on 27 July). The A4 experienced traffic jams due to drivers avoiding the Olympic lane, and likewise on a section of Southampton Row, where the only lanes available in one direction were the Olympic lane and the bus lane.[70]

Concerns were expressed at the logistics of spectators travelling to the events outside London. In particular, the sailing events at Portland had no direct motorway connections, and local roads are heavily congested by tourist traffic in the summer.[71] However, a £77 million relief road connecting Weymouth to Dorchester was built and opened in 2011.[72][73] Some £16 million was put aside for the rest of the improvements.[74]

TfL created a promotional campaign and website, Get Ahead of the Games, to help provide information related to transport during the Olympics and Paralympics. Through the campaign, TfL also encouraged the use of cycling as a mode of transport during the Games.[75] However, despite this encouragement to use bicycles, members of the public protested that riding bikes on London roads would be more dangerous due to the blocked Olympic lanes, and also protested against a decision to close the Lea Valley towpath during the Olympics and Paralympics due to security concerns.[69]

Torch RelayEdit

The Olympics torch relay ran from 19 May to 27 July 2012, before the Games. Plans for the relay were developed in 2010–11, with the torch-bearer selection process announced on 18 May 2011.[76]

On 18 May 2012 the Olympic flame arrived at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall from Greece[77] on flight BA2012, operated by a British Airways Airbus A319 named "Firefly". On the flight the flame was carried inside 4 miners lamps supplied by Protector Lamp of Eccles, Greater Manchester.

The relay lasted 70 days, with 66 evening celebrations and six island visits, and involved some 8,000 people carrying the torch about Template:Convert, starting from Land's End in Cornwall.[78] The torch had three days outside the United Kingdom when it visited the Isle of Man on 2 June, Dublin in Ireland, on 6 June,[79] and both Guernsey and Jersey on 15 July.

The relay focused on National Heritage Sites, locations with sporting significance, key sporting events, schools registered with the Get Set School Network, green spaces and biodiversity, Live Sites (city locations with large screens), and festivals and other events.[80] Dumfries and Galloway was the only Region in the whole of the United Kingdom that had the Olympic Torch pass through it twice. A group of young athletes, nominated by retired Olympic athletes, ran the torch around the stadium. These torchbearers were Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds, and Adelle Tracey. Together the torchbearers each lit a petal which spread the fire to the 204 petals of the cauldron, representing the countries that participated in the games.[81]


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