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London 2012 Gets Olympic Lessons From Vancouver 2010

March 2, 2010: Now that the 2010 Winter Games are history, the Olympic community is focusing on London and the 2012 Summer Games. To that end, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said it sent a team of 50 staff members to Vancouver with a "specific brief to look at Games-time operations, on how the city functions at Games-time and how the enormous logistical challenges are delivered."

The group was led by CEO Paul Deighton and LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe, who participated in a ceremony in which the  Olympic torch was handed over by  John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing committee.

Separately, USA Track and Field's board of directors has unanimously voted to have Houston host the men's and women's 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for the opportunity to represent the U.S. in London. Houston outbid Boston and New York, which was the site of the Olympic Marathon Trials leading up to the 2008 Games in Beijing. The trials will take place January 14, 2012, one day before the 40th annual Houston Marathon. About 250 athletes will be eligible to compete for the Olympic spots.

"As we expected, all three bids were remarkable, and all three bids had qualities that made each unique," Doug Logan, USATF CEO, said in a statement. "Ultimately, we feel that hosting the Olympic Trials at Houston will afford our athletes the best opportunity to succeed in London. What was most striking about Houston's bid was their ability to integrate the Olympic Trials into their weekend of racing in a way that benefited all parties, but first and foremost, the athletes."

Houston will invest $1.7 million to host both races utilizing a public-private partnership, with the support of the city of Houston and the Harris County Sports Commission. Those funds will go toward event logistics, athlete support, travel and prize money, according to the USATF.

LOCOG's Sebastian Coe (R) is handed the Olympic torch from Vancouver's CEO John Furlong. (Photo: LOCOG)Regarding London's education from Vancouver, Coe said the LOCOG identified four key areas in which Vancouver excelled.

1. Sport: Vancouver shared London’s desire to ensure that sport and the athletes are at the heart of the Games and this inspired the athletes to deliver some world-class performances.

2. Service: The volunteers played a huge role in the success of the Games, demonstrating outstanding customer service and providing valuable insight on how volunteers will be recruited and trained for London 2012.

3. Stadia: The stadia in Vancouver and courses in Whistler were full of knowledgeable sports fans and passionate followers of the home team but also enthusiastic supporters of all teams. The full stadia demonstrated how right the organising committee got its ticketing strategy. Tickets for London 2012 will go on sale in 2011 with more details on LOCOG’s ticketing approach issued in due course.

4. Sites: The Games were brought to life in Vancouver with the streets and sites full of supporters, creating a party atmosphere in the city. The big screens in Vancouver provided superb hubs for community activity, enabling everyone to see the sport itself and crucially to celebrate victory ceremonies.

"The four ‘s’s we’ve identified – sport, service, stadia and sites – give us real food for thought and an added level of detail to our planning," Coe said in a statement. "Over the next two and a half years, we will use this information to ensure that we stage a Games for everyone in London."

The LOCOG is still signing marketing partners, but the Summer Games will arrive with all of the International Olympic Committee's global partners intact: ACER, Atos Origin, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa. 

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