With the Opening Ceremony a mere weeks away, London is taking advantage of the lessons learned during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
“We looked very closely at Los Angeles and its hugely successful legacy of 1984,” said Dame Barbara Hay, the British Consul-General in Los Angeles. “You were the first games to make a profit. You were the first games to do the games in a different kind of a way and we very much have taken that to heart.”
Hay said Olympic officials are taking advantage of great brains on both sides of the pond.
Nearly three decades ago, the predictions of catastrophic congestion on the Southland’s notoriously traffic-choked freeways never came true. In London, officials are bracing their citizens for potential gridlock.
“Of course there is going to be some congestion in some parts of the transport,” Hay said. “People being told to plan your journeys to work, take a holiday, work flexibly. We are doing that in the foreign office, for example.”
Under budget and on schedule, the motto of the 2012 Olympics is “Inspire a Generation.”
Hay believes it has already inspired a nation.
“It’s really allowing us to stand and say, ‘Wow, the world is coming to Britain. It’s coming to Britain through your wonderful networks, it’s coming to Britain through the radio, it’s coming to Britain through the internet,’” she said.
The last time the UK hosted the Olympics – in 1948 – the world’s population was 4 billion, Hay said.
“This year we expect an audience of four billion people to simply to watch the games from London," she said. "This is astonishing. This is spine-tingling. This is exciting. This is great. Every part of it – wonderful."