Coe delivers IOC last report pre-Games

last year, 25 July 2012 (AEST)

Sebastian Coe delivered his final report to the IOC on Tuesday before the start of the London Olympics, declaring that organisers have lived up to the promises they made when they secured the games seven years ago.

The International Olympic Committee offered high praise for Coe and his team and said it expects the games to be a major success, despite continuing challenges with security and transportation ahead of Friday's opening ceremony.

"The preparation phase was definitely a great success - now comes the crucial delivery phase," IOC President Jacques Rogge said. "I remain very optimistic."

Coe, the former two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 1,500 metres, led London's winning bid for the games in Singapore in 2005 and heads the organising committee for the games.

"For me it's very simple," Coe said. "If the athletes are happy, I'm happy."

Coe said his organising committee had delivered on promises of promoting youth, revitalising east London, using a mix of existing, new and temporary venues, and providing the best conditions for the more than 10,000 athletes from 204 countries.

The project centered on the transformation of a derelict industrial site in east London into the Olympic Park featuring the Olympic Stadium, velodrome, aquatics centre and other venues.

"We have built a new city inside an old city," Coe said.

While the opening ceremony takes place on Friday, the competition begins on Wednesday with a women's football match between Britain and New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales.

After seven years of preparations, Coe compared the final countdown to the experience of an athlete.

"We're probably not in the first of the call rooms, we're now in the last of the call rooms," he said. "We've gone from the training track to the warm-up track to the stadium."

"The volunteers are in place," he added. "The city is dressed. The torch is on its way. Tomorrow the games of the 30th Olympiad begin in Cardiff."

Coe received a warm ovation from the delegates.

"This is not a report, this is a fantastic ode to Olympism," Rogge said.

Prince Albert of Monaco asked Coe whether the games could be hit by strikes. Britain's Home Office said Tuesday it would seek an injunction to halt a strike on the eve of the Olympics by immigration staff at UK airports.

"If there is a strike we have it covered," Coe said.

Albert and others also referred to the weather, noting that the sun was out after the wettest summer on record.

"On the weather I don't have a hotline," Coe said. "Sometimes I do wish we could have built a roof on the whole country. But the sun is shining today. Hopefully that's enough."

Stephen Wilson
AP