One year to go

DUBAI — Clocks around the world began the countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games on Wednesday as numerous countries marked the ‘One Year To Go’ celebrations with various events.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Fri 29 Jul 2011, 1:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:19 AM

Specially-designed timepieces were unveiled in China, Japan, Qatar and South Korea — among many other nations — to remind a global audience of the days, hours, minutes and seconds left before the opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad in the English capital.

Activities also took place in major cities such as Moscow, where British band The Kaiser Chiefs visited the Olympic Pavilion at the capital’s largest outdoor festival, and Washington DC, with a US Olympian appearing in a ceremonial, four-mile torch relay there.

Nine-time Olympic gold medallist and United Nations (UN) Goodwill Ambassador Carl Lewis, who has been voted the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) ‘Olympian of the Century’, joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to switch on a countdown timer at the UN headquarters in New York.

Asia and the Gulf region were far from excluded from the festivities either as Brunei (Kuala Belait), Lebanon (Beirut) and Uzbekistan (Tashkent) joined in the fun along with the UAE, where the British Consul General Guy Warrington hosted a reception at the British Embassy in Dubai on Wednesday night.

Agencies quoted IOC chief Jacques Rogge as giving London a resounding vote of confidence on Wednesday.

Rogge said he had been stunned by the quality of London’s new Aquatics Centre, one of several venues which have been built at the 2.5 square kilometre Olympic Park site in east London.

“I was visually shocked,” a clearly impressed Rogge said after touring the 17,500-seater venue, which will host swimming and diving events.

Rogge will extend a formal invitation to the world’s athletes during a 7pm ceremony at Trafalgar Square, the culmination of day-long events to mark the one-year milestone.


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