By Barry Janoff
February 29, 2012: With 150 days to go until the 2012 Summer Olympics, organizers of the London Games are preparing to test various elements of both on- and off-field play in anticipation of the main event.
The test run will be of particular interest to local, national and international security departments in light of the unrest that swept through London and other British cities last summer.
From April 18-May 8, the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee, will test "elements including venue operations, spectator flows, workforce, security, the field of play, scoring, timing and results" as part of a 42-event London Prepares series.
The Summer Games will be held from July 27-Aug. 12. The Paralympic Games will be held from Aug. 29-Sept. 9.
“We are now in the home straight and, having staged 31 successful test events, we are in a good position as we head towards the Games themselves," Debbie Jevans, London 2012 Director of Sport, said in a statement. "As with all our test events, we will be testing a range of our event operations including field of play and also our workforce."
As part of the London Prepares series, Olympic marketers are also making their final preparations. No surprise there as companies are expected to spend in excess of $1 billion in sponsorship, marketing and activation by the end of the 2012 Games.
“We are now in the home straight . . . we are in a good position as we head towards the Games themselves." — Debbie Jevans
Global IOC partner Visa, for example, is sponsoring five of the six test sports events scheduled from May 2-8. Other top-tier partners will also have activation.
In addition to Visa, worldwide IOC partners include Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow Chemical, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, P&G and Samsung.
Top-tier partners of the LOCOG are adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds.
Many of the events will take place in Olympic Park, one of the key sites for the Summer Games. LOCOG will pay particular attention to Saturday, May 5, when Olympic Park is expected to host upward of 80,000 visitors over the course of the day.
Included in the events will be soccer, synchronized swimming, water polo, shooting, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby.
In addition, the British Swimming Championships 2012 (Selection Trials) will be held March 3–10 at the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre.
"This will be invaluable,” said Jevans.