It’s finally here, with all the build up to London 2012 we thought it would never arrive. From the seating to the flags and even the turf everything looks set for this summer’s London Olympics.
After Beijing’s seemingly flawless Games the pressure is well and truly on for London and with the much needed tourism income expected, it couldn’t have come at a better time. As the biggest construction project in Europe, politicians have gladly used the Games as the answer to the much-needed boost to the UK economy, despite the estimated £11bn (€13.4bn) price tag. With so many eggs in the Olympics basket and hopes for the UK economy, the pressure was on to find the right suppliers to run the Games smoothly.
After the Games is all done in September this is when the real work begins
While it is easy to criticise as onlookers, the preparation for the Games began long ago with the real excitement beginning with the awarding of contracts in 2009. The Olympic board of directors claim to have sourced 98 percent of suppliers from within the UK, however many international companies have long standing ties with the Olympics and their proven quality meant the committee opted for a guaranteed smooth running of the games.
Let’s take you through the winners of the contracts in technology and media, aesthetics and equipment. This only scratches the surface of the painstaking labour gone in to this Olympic Games.
Technology and Media
1. Audiovisuals, Panasonic, Japan.
Panasonic are no strangers to the Olympics their history stretches back to Los Angeles in 1984, and the Games have been a showcase for the companies latest technology ever since. They will be responsible for supplying everything from giant energy-saving LED screens to broadcasting equipment that will transmit TV images all over the world. Continuing that trend this years headline is that London will be the first ever-3D Games. Viewers will be able to watch live HD 3D broadcast of many of the events.
2. Time Keeping, Omega, Switzerland.
Olympic timing technology has come a long way since the first Games in Athens over 100 years ago. With more recent advances in creating electronic touch pads, infrared beams and radio transmitters precision really is crucial when it comes to the finish line. Olympic veterans at this point, Swiss make Omega once again has the task of time keeping. Having previously performed in the last 24 Games the London 2012 committee have little to worry about here. Time keeping is a vastly important task, it is the difference between silver and gold, Olympic athletes can win or lose by a margin of only 1,000th of a second, 40 times faster than a blink of an eye.
3. Newsfeed, Press Association, UK.
As a host national news agency for London 2012, the Press Association have major plans to get it just right in their moment of glory. “Our 90 strong team of reporters and photographers have prime positions to cover every session, and specialist journalists dedicated to every sport.” A Press Association official explains. The phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch meant that News International were dropped as official media partners of the British team, giving Press Association their chance to show their worth at London 2012.
1. Fireworks, Kimbolton fireworks, Kimbolton.
Following the opulence of Beijing, where 35,000 fireworks were set off costing £840,000 (€980,000) making it the largest display in Olympic history, London 2012 has plenty of pressure. Kimbolton fireworks contract with London 2012 involves designing, producing and installing firework displays for both the Olympics and Paralympics, opening and closing ceremonies. That’s no small task for a home grown UK business.
2. Mascot Costumes, Rainbow Productions, UK.
The much controversial Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, were said to be born from two steel droplets that fell from the last girder installed in the Olympic stadium. The story of the mascots birth may be to add to the magic of the Olympics but the true design came from London costume maker Rainbow productions. Wenlock and Mandeville were unveiled in May of 2010 and this marked a rare occasion that both Olympic and Paralympic mascots were released at the same time. Despite much controversy over the working conditions where the mascots stuffed toys will be made in China, we’re positive these guys will be mascots to remember!
3. Flags, Doublet, France.
Yes, that’s right in a factory just based outside of Lille, a French company will be churning out union jacks as suppliers for London 2012. The family run business is no stranger when it comes to big events having supplied bunting for events such as the Tour De France and the World Cup. Not only will they provide the large high quality flags of every nation involved to be raised at medal ceremonies, the company will make smaller size versions for spectators to cheer on their country.
1.Track, Mondo, Italy.
Once again it’s time-honoured tradition and guaranteed quality that wins out for London 2012. Mondo has done the tracks for the Olympics for many decades and this Olympics marks the companies 10th Games as supplier of the surface used for track events. The company provides its product at such a high standard that even the man himself, Usain Bolt thanked the brand after setting world records in Beijing. Mondo will supply the track and warm up track for the Olympic Stadium, athletics equipment such as hurdles, high jump bars, hammer cages and sprung flooring for as many as ten different Olympic and Paralympic sports. “Mondo continues to be the permanent and indispensable benchmark for the success of sporting events all over the world” says Maurizio Stroppiana, Managing Director of Mondo S.p.A.
3.Medals, Royal Mint, UK.
The Royal Mint will produce around 4,700 victory medals at their headquarters in Llantrisant South Wales, for London 2012. With over 1.100 years of experience Royal Mint definitely have the capability to provide such a vital part of the Games. Their contract requires them to produce 4,600 medals ribbons and display cases and they will also operate an on-site engraving workshop to etch the winning names and disciplines on to each medal. Adam Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Mint said, “As a UK manufacturer, this is great news for the country and the 800 people we employ”.
2.Turf, Country Turf, UK.
The Olympics Stadiums 6,300 sq m grass inset needed expertise and quality when being laid and as they grow their turf fresh in Scunthorpe it was ideal for Country Turf to take on the challenge. With their impressive history of work on many major golf course their skill and precision is well-known and trusted. Its contract involves supplying 350 rolls of specially cultivated turf and with their unique system allowing them to produce 2.5m wide turf rolls, the largest in the world they completed the task in a matter of months.
And the final contract goes too……Bam Nuttall, UK. When all the spectators head home and the hard working staff and volunteers go for their much needed rest what will become of the Olympic grounds? After the Games is all done in September this is when the real work begins for the civil engineering company based in Surrey. The companies’ portfolio includes Liverpool’s Liver Building and The Mersey Tunnel. The firm has been given the task of reconfiguring the Olympic park to make it fit London’s long-term urban planning strategy. The temporary structures will be removed and parkland area will be doubled to 102 hectares. The new grounds will open in phases starting in July 2013 and this will mark the end of London 2012.