London Latest - Athletics Open; Robertson Says Tourists Will Come Back
(ATR) Minister of sport Hugh Robertson tells Around the Rings
the British government is currently working with traders to try to “attract” people back into London.
Hugh Robertson is Britain's minister for sport and the Olympics. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
Robertson admitted that organizers had been too successful in their warnings about congestion, and businesses in the city have complained that they are suffering as a result.
However, the Minister stressed that the long-term benefits of the Games would prove to be prosperous for London.
“You have to look at this in the long-term,” he said. “There may be some short-term pain, but the images of London being beamed around the world will bring tourists back in their millions in the years to come. So it may be one of those things where there will be a bit of short-term pain for long-term gain.
“But also we’re looking at ways we can help particularly the West End traders by possibly easing up a little bit on the messaging, by trying to attract people back into the center of town and so on and so forth to come and encourage people to come and join in this fantastic festival.”
Robertson says that these discussions have only recently taken place, as little as “a day or so ago”. But he maintained that it was not an unfamiliar phenomenon.
“If you look at previous Olympics, this is an absolutely standard pattern that people tend to leave the city in the early bits and then they tend to come back at the end of the first week and through the second week, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that that happens here as well.”
Robertson was speaking to ATR
after having just watched Team GB cyclist Chris Hoy make history by equaling the British record for Olympic gold medals. He helped Team GB win the team sprint to take his tally to five gold medals, and Robertson praised the achievement.
“It was a fantastic result coming at the end of a very good day for Team GB with three gold medals and fantastic momentum being built from yesterday that will take us through the end of this week and the weekend.”
Now seven days into the Games, Robertson says that so far, London is doing a great job in hosting the Games. “The response of athletes and anybody in the wider Olympic family has been unanimously positive. People are talking about this being a Games that changes the dial for future Olympics.
“The one word of caution is that we are only 6 days into it, and there is a lot to come - but so far London has put on a great show, and it’s brilliant for sport in this country.”
First Day of Athletics
Team GB's Jessica Ennis already set a new British and heptathlon record in the 100m hurdles. (Getty Images)
London is once again bracing itself to cope with large numbers over the weekend as the athletics events begin at London 2012.
Friday and Saturday are the busiest days for the Olympic Park in Stratford, with more than 200,000 spectators and accredited workforce expected each day. Commuters are being urged to plan their journeys in advance, especially if their journey includes going to or through East London.
This also means that from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each of these days, the Westfield Stratford City shopping center will only be accessible to accredited workers, members of the public with, or collecting, a Games ticket or those using hospitality venues.
Chris Hoy takes a victory lap after setting a new team sprint record en route to Olympic gold Thursday. (Getty Images)
Medal glory shots continue to dominate the front pages of the British newspapers as they celebrate more medals on a successful day for the hosts.
Most of the praise was focused on cyclist Chris Hoy, who made history by equaling the British record for Olympic gold medals. He helped Team GB win the team sprint to take his tally to five gold medals.
The Daily Telegraph plays on the attendance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the velodrome with the headline ‘HIS ROYAL HOYNESS’, while The Sun leads with ‘MEDALS AHOY!’
The Daily Mail focuses again on the day’s triumphs with the headline ‘KISS OF GOLD’ and the Independent leads with a similar line with ‘IT’S RAINING MEDALS!’
It’s fair to say that the British media are significantly encouraged by the hosts’ performance in the past two days.
Friday's Medal Events
Archery – Men’s Individual – Lord’s Cricket Ground
Athletics – Men’s Shot Put, Women’s 10,000m – Olympic Stadium
Badminton – Mixed Doubles – Wembley Arena
Track Cycling – Men’s Team Pursuit, Women’s Keirin – Velodrome
Fencing – Men’s Team Sabre – ExCeL
Judo – Women’s +78kg, Men’s +100kg – ExCeL
Rowing – Men’s Quadruple Sculls, Men’s Pair, Women’s Double Sculls, Men’s Single Sculls – Eton Dorney
Shooting – Men’s 50m Rifle Prone, Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol – Royal Artillery Barracks
Swimming – Women’s 200m Back, Men’s 100m Fly, Women’s 800m Free, Men’s 50m Free – Aquatics Center
Trampoline Gymnastics – Men’s – North Greenwich Arena
Weightlifting – Women’s 75kg, Men’s 85kg – ExCeL
Reported by Christian Radnedge
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