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  • London Latest - Sponsor for Olympic Stadium Fabric Wrap; Security Testing Starts


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    The one-kilometer wrap will enclose the seating bowl (Getty)
    (ATR) Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt tells Around the Rings that 2012 organizers have secured a sponsor to fund the fabric wrap for the 80,000-seat Olympic stadium and it will be added within the next six months.

    "It is going ahead. LOCOG have got a sponsor. They haven't announced it yet but they have got one," Armitt told ATR.

    Armitt revealed that the sponsorship was in the "single figure millions" and the wrap could be easily installed.

    "It's not a major task. All the fixings are there, it's only a matter of stringing it up. Sometime in the next six months it will go up," he said.

    LOCOG is expected to announce the sponsor within weeks.

    The $11 million fabric curtain concept was resurrected earlier this year after being scrapped under the government's spending review last October.

    The one-kilometer wrap will enclose the seating bowl and provide a space to display artwork and video images to brighten up the venue exterior.

    The wrap concept is one of the final sponsorship opportunities for the Games, as LOCOG concludes its commercial program. But under IOC rules no sponsorship is allowed on the wrap during Games-time.

    Armitt also spoke about the ODA's successful delivery program, hitting all its 'big build' milestones on cue.

    The aquatics center, opened last Wednesday as part of year-to-go celebrations, is the last of the six major venues to finish on the Olympic Park in east London.

    "We are where we planned to be," Armitt said, adding that the current workforce on the site and the adjacent Olympic Village had dropped from a peak of 12,000 to around 8,000.

    But that figure will soar to more than 10,000 in six months time when LOCOG brings contractors in to complete fit-out and back-of-house operations, he added.

    Commenting on security, alongside transport the biggest challenge in the next 12 months of Games preparations, Armitt insisted the right people and strategy would deliver a safe and secure Olympics.

    "Security will always be a concern but I think with Chris Allison of the Met [assistant commissioner] in charge of that, who has been on it for a year now, and Ian Johnson who is head of security for LOCOG, [ex-Met] I am very confident the people who are handling it will have all their plans in place," he said.

    Olympic Security Testing Underway

    Testing of security operations for the 2012 Olympics has begun.

    Commander Bob Broadhurst is leading the operation, working closely with the Met Police's Olympic security chief Chris Allison and LOCOG's director of security Ian Johnston.

    Around 12,000 police officers will be on duty for the 2012 Games. LOCOG is set to employ up to 15,000 private security guards for Britain's biggest peacetime security operation.

    Johnston on Monday revealed the scale of the security operation. Thousands of CCTV cameras will be positioned at venues. At the Olympic stadium, 300 to 400 airport-style search arches and x-ray scanners will be used to check spectators on entry.

    The average queuing time to get into the 34 Games venues is expected to be 20 minutes.

    "There is a different environment at each venue which means that queue times will vary from venue to venue," Johnston was quoted as saying by AFP at a briefing Monday.

    "We are not committing to any numbers at this stage but clearly we will let people know."

    Canoe Slalom Test

    London 2012 organizers hailed the success of the first test event at the canoe slalom venue for the Games.

    A total of 175 athletes from 30 nations competed at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in the event that wrapped up Sunday.

    “This is a fantastic venue” said David Luckes, LOCOG's head of sport competition.

    Mountain bikers in action at the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International (LOCOG)
    is a venue that really shows legacy in action with the center already open to the public. This was a great opportunity for us to see the venue in use and look at important issues such as the flow of the water, timing and scoring systems and how our teams worked together.”

    Richard Fox, second vice president of the International Canoe Federation, claims Lee Valley has the potential to be the best Olympic canoe slalom event ever.

    "It is fantastic to see young people taking to the water and I think it is a certainty that the kids who get involved in the sport now will go on to be the Olympians of the future," he said. "We were very impressed by the quality of the white water which looks as clear as an Alpine river and by the Centre as a whole.”

    Mountain Bike Test

    Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International winner Catharine Pendrel praised the course and the spectators following Sunday's event that took place under sunny skies in Essex.

    "I was very happy with how it raced. If there were 80 girls on the course the corners would be a little tricky, but it raced really well and the spectators were awesome," she said.

    The sold-out event attracted 5,000 spectators who watched 82 athletes compete at the Olympic venue over the 4.6km course.

    With the women completing six laps, and the men seven laps, reigning Olympic Champion Julien Absalon from France led from the start to come out on top for the men.

    LOCOG's director of sport Debbie Jevans said the event "went very smoothly, but we will still learn from the event and listen and work with the athletes to ensure we deliver the best possible mountain bike event at the Games next year".

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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