Yesterday, on the way home from UIC, I walked through Trafalgar Square, as I was heading to Charing Cross to meet friends. I stopped at the ‘Countdown Clock’ in the middle of the square. It said ’44 days, 5 hours, 56 minutes.’ But what did this refer to? Any ideas?
For those of you who don’t know, this clock marks the time left before London will host the greatest show on earth – the 2012 Olympic Games. On 27 July, less than two months away, the eyes of the world will be on this great city for the Opening Ceremony, expected to attract a TV audience of over a billion people, the world over.
During the games, experts have predicted over 450,000 foreign visitors, along with 5.5 million daily visitors from other parts of the UK outside London. Preparations have been underway since the city won the bid to host the Games in 2005. £6.5 bn has been invested in new transport infrastructure, including the city’s major airports, train-lines and the tube, there will be 100,000 hotel rooms available in London for July. 200,000 workers have been employed by the Olympic Committee to prepare for the massive event. 7.5 million tickets have been sold, so far. These figures are immense and I don’t think any of us have considered how this will impact on our home city.
I asked a few of our students what they thought about the up and coming Olympics in London.
Jiao from China: “I’m so happy to be in London for the Olympics! It’s such an exciting time. I think there will be really great
atmosphere in London and I want to see it! Also I am excited to see the Chinese gymnast, Zou Kai. I hope he can win another medal!”
Ivan from Russia: “I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a ticket to see one of the Olympic sports, but I will try to see the free events. I love horses, so I will try to go to Greenwich to see the horseriding. My favourite athlete is Aliya Mustafina, but we have a lot of good athletes in Russia who will be coming to London.”
Sonia from France: “Of course I will be supporting all the French athletes this year and I hope we win lots of medals. My family visited me last weekend from Paris and we went to the Olympic village in Stratford for dinner. It was fantastic and so much going on! I loved it.”
Wendy, Director of Studies at UIC