|London was awarded the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games
After a hard-fought campaign, London has been awarded the rightto hostthe 2012 Olympic Games. The UK capitalsaw offcompetition from four rival cities: Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York.
Londoners can now look forward to the transformation of their city in the same way as theircounterpartsin Beijing. Indeed, there are many similarities in the two cities’ approach to hosting the games. Both cities need to invest in developing theirinfrastructurein order to cope with the demands of the event.
However, this kind ofinvestmentis far from cheap - it is estimated that it will cost around $40 billion to prepare for the 2008 games, much of which will be spent on transport links.Nevertheless, the benefits of becoming an Olympic city can be enormous – Barcelona, which hosted the 1992 games, was completely regenerated and has since become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Residents of Stratford, in London’sdeprived East End, are hoping that their neighbourhood willundergo a similar transformationas it is one of the areas where many new sports facilities will be built. One of the East End’s most famous sons, David Beckham, has given the Olympics his blessing - “to have the Olympics inour manorwould be a special thing.”
David Beckham is not alone in supporting the successful bid; Manchester United and England defender, Rio Ferdinand, says, “This will be a greatboostfor the whole of the country. I’m looking forward to being at the 100m final in 2012.”
One thing that will change in the 2012 games is the number of sports. The International Olympic Committee has decidedto axebaseball and softball from the games. IOC president Jacques Rogge explained, "Needless to say, these sports are very, very disappointed, but it does not disqualify them forever as Olympic sports," he said.
However, one unlikely British sport is attempting togain Olympic status. “As the newest recognised sport,darts…would be proud to be considered as the host nation's 'invitation sport' in 2012.” says British Darts Organisation chief, Olly Croft.