Two years to go to London’s “unique opportunity”

July 27 2010: Today marks exactly Two Years to Go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and organisers are calling on the UK public to start planning their Games to ensure they don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime event.

Whether it is signing up for tickets, becoming a ‘London 2012 Games Maker’ volunteer or a ‘London Ambassador’, now is the time to start thinking about how to make the most of the summer of 2012.

Today also marks the opening of the London 2012 Volunteer Programme, seeking to recruit up to 70,000 volunteers or ‘London 2012 Games Makers’. Pre-identified people wanting to become a London 2012 Games Maker can now apply for specialist positions such as doctors, anti-doping personnel and scoreboard operators from today.

Those interested in the more numerous general volunteering positions can go to and find everything they need to help them decide if they have what it takes to be a London 2012 Games Maker. Applications for the generalist roles which include ticket checking, uniform distribution and staffing helpdesks and information points, will open on 15 September 2010. The programme’s Presenting Partner is McDonald’s.

From today people can also sign up to be a London Ambassador, to help guide the millions of visitors who will travel to London for the Games get around and enjoy a truly memorable stay in the capital. The scheme, devised by the Mayor of London, aims to recruit 8,000 London Ambassadors who will be located at key points across the city – including transport hubs, outside Games venues, and at popular visitor spots. They will be the welcoming face of the capital, providing much needed information on what to see and do, where to stay and how to get there.

Tickets for London 2012 go on sale in the spring of 2011, but people can register their interest now. Over 1.4 million people have already registered their details on and they will be in the best position to apply for tickets when the ballot process opens next year. Further details on pricing and other initiatives will be announced this autumn.

London 2012 also opens its flagship shop today at St Pancras International in London, which will sell a wide range of London 2012 merchandise ” including, for the first time, merchandise relating to London 2012’s mascots Wenlock and Mandeville.

With London 2012’s education programme ‘Get Set’ now reaching over 14,000 schools throughout the country; Cultural Olympiad projects up and running ” culminating in the London 2012 Festival, a twelve week festival in the summer of 2012 itself; plus over 1,000 ‘Open Weekend’ events held last weekend, there are London 2012 projects and initiatives happening all over the country giving the UK public plenty of scope to plan how to get involved.

To celebrate today’s milestone, athletes and young people will join Organising Committee Chair Seb Coe, Olympic Delivery Authority Chairman John Armitt, Olympics Minister Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP and Mayor of London Boris Johnson on the train from St Pancras International to Stratford International. They will then take a tour of the Olympic Park and, for the first time, step inside venues to witness first-hand the progress being made in construction, which is on time and on budget. They will also walk across the main spectator bridge which will be the ‘front door’ to the Olympic Park in 2012, joined by 70 Visa Team 2012 athletes. Other highlights of the day include:

– Young athletes joining multi-Olympic medallist Michael Johnson running inside the Olympic Stadium on a specially laid track

– Gold medal winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy welcoming visitors to the Velodrome by cycling inside for the first time

– Former NBA star John Amaechi and young basketball players shooting the first hoop inside the Basketball Arena

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe commented: ‘There are two years to go until the Olympic Games begin and we want everyone to start planning their once in a lifetime experience in 2012. We are well on track ” the venues are nearing completion and our plans are coming together. Now it’s the public’s turn. How will you spend the summer of 2012? Whether it’s buying a ticket, becoming a volunteer, being part of our education or culture programmes ” there are hundreds of ways you can get involved. Don’t wait – to ensure you don’t miss out, start planning your Games now.’

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: ‘With two years to go the venues and infrastructure needed for the Games and in legacy are on schedule and within budget. The venues will be ready next summer ” a year ahead of the Games ” to allow time for test events. The skyline of east London has changed dramatically over the last few months as the venues take shape. It is a sign of the strong progress we have made that we are able to stage these events on the site today and give the public a glimpse inside the world class new sports venues being built for the Games. There is still a long way to go and we are not complacent but the foundations for success are now in place.’

Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and the Olympics said: ‘Two years to go and London 2012 is in excellent shape. The construction phase is 70 per cent complete; LOCOG has attracted an unprecedented level of commercial sponsorship and has captured the hearts and minds of children across the UK with the launch of mascots Wenlock and Mandeville; the Olympic Park Legacy Company is talking to key investors about securing a future for the Park; and, we are making real strides in developing a meaningful sports legacy which will be announcing in the Autumn.

‘Today we enter another new phase of London 2012 ” bringing the Great British public on-board. Volunteers are the heartbeat of every Olympic and Paralympic Games and are crucial to their success. We need skilled and passionate people who have the commitment to make 2012 the best Olympic and Paralympic Games ever.’

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘The summer of 2012 is a unique opportunity for London, when the world will come to our city and we want them to have a really awesome experience. The capital will be literally bursting with hundreds of thousands of visitors. Many will be here to watch the Games and many more will come to experience the electric atmosphere of the world’s best big city.

‘In addition to the sporting spectacular, we are planning a feast of entertainment and events with something for everyone, as you would expect from the world’s most diverse city. We therefore need to guarantee our guests the warmest of welcomes and help them navigate around this huge metropolis.

‘London’s Ambassadors will have a vital role to play, but in 2012 I want every Londoner to feel they too can be ambassadors for the capital during this special period in our history. And I want our visitors to return home having had the time of their lives.’

British Olympic Association Chairman Lord Moynihan said: ‘For an athlete, there can be no greater honour than to represent your country in the Olympic Games – and to do so while competing at home makes it all the more special.

‘With two years to go, more than 1,000 athletes who are members of Team 2012 are planning, training and preparing as they pursue their dreams of representing Team GB in London 2012.

‘We congratulate London 2012 for its success in reaching this important milestone today, and for its continued progress in delivering to the athletes of the world a stage that is befitting their remarkable talent, determination and commitment to excellence.’

LOCOG’s commercial programme has progressed over the past twelve months, with 34 commercial sponsors now on board, raising over £650m and 36 licensees who will be manufacturing and selling over 10,000 individual pieces of London 2012 merchandise. Sponsors and licensees are joining in the 2 Years to Go celebrations:

– Visa will be providing 70 of their Visa Team 2012 athletes to join in with the celebrations at the Olympic Park

– Omega will be providing starting blocks for Michael Johnson to use in the Olympic Stadium

– Panasonic will be placing a giant screen in Trafalgar Square, London to celebrate the day

– BA pilots will be announcing to passengers arriving in London that today marks exactly Two Years to Go until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games

– BT has launched the next stage of the ‘Road to London 2012’ exhibition in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery

– The flagship John Lewis store on Oxford Street will feature a window display with London 2012 merchandise

– UPS has delivered the stock of Wenlock and Mandeville soft toys to the London 2012 shop

– Eurostar arrivals in London on 27 July will announce to passengers that today marks exactly Two Years to Go until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games

– Mondo has provided the first track for the Olympic Stadium on which Michael Johnson and others will run. The track will become one of the training tracks in the run up to London 2012

– Royal Mail has issued the latest set of London 2012 stamps featuring 10 Olympic and Paralympic sports including hockey, goalball, football, taekwondo and BMX cycling

– The Royal Mint has issued a commemorative ‘2 Years to Go’ coin. The 2010 UK Countdown to London 2012 £5 coin is the second in a series of four coins being launched annually from 2009 until 2012 and is available in gold, silver and cupro-nickel

For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at Find out the latest from London 2012 HQ on our blog or follow us on Twitter

Read Owen Gibson’s appraisal of Olympic preparations in The Guardian here

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