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The 2012 reality bites

Comment

Make no mistake; London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games is far from the 'virtual bid' suggested by some of its rivals.

As this week's special supplement demonstrates, it is very real. In fact, much of the new infrastructure and facilities needed to host the greatest Games ever are not just planned, but are already under construction.

Win or lose, London will be a much better city by 2012. Huge amounts of cash and resources are already committed to upgrading transport systems.

The Olympic bid has also kick started the already developing effort to regenerate the urban wasteland, which will contain the Olympic park, in Stratford.

Yet it is undeniable that winning the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games will focus minds and resources and ensure that programme and commitments are honoured.

Our supplement was produced to help the London 2012 bid team demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee evaluation panel just how committed the UK construction industry is to delivering the Games. It was presented to the IOC judges ahead of publication in NCE and will have left them in no doubt that we have already started 'Constructing the Olympic Dream'.

Feedback from the judges as they left for New York indicated that they were genuinely impressed with London's bid - particularly with what they saw and heard about the capital's much maligned transport capability. The bid team, including the huge number of civil engineers and construction specialists, have clearly done a great job so far.

My one criticism with the London 2012 campaign is that there should have been more businesses, buildings and structures in and around the capital proclaiming the 'Back the Bid' message.

Yes, the fl gs were out on the Mall last week - and the Dome, Stratford and Wembley all sported banners. But as I roamed around London I would have loved to have seen a massive ribbon in the spokes of the London Eye, banners from every bridge, posters on every bus, train and street corner - even a huge projection on the Houses of Parliament.

There was an attempt to make amends at the weekend when bid images were projected on public buildings as the IOC team neared the end of their visit.

But the problem is that anyone wanting to display the 'Back the London 2012 bid' logo on their building - or product - has to be an offi cial supporter. And that costs money. But it should be the other way round, with the 2012 team paying businesses and local authorities to display its logo.

This missed opportunity is a shame because I really want London to host the Games. And while I believe London has a strong case, I know that we have to take every opportunity to advertise and demonstrate our support for the bid until the final decision in July.

That said, we should not underestimate what has already been achieved. The huge amount of excitement that the London 2012 team has generated all over the capital and across the UK is tangible and certainly very clear in our industry.

It seems even the reserved and cynical British public is starting to believe there is a very real chance the UK might win. If you still have doubts, read our special issue this week - I defy you not to be impressed with what this industry has to offer.

It's worth repeating - we really can make London 2012 the greatest Olympic Games ever.

Antony Oliver is NCE's editor

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