In an upset that took Olympics-watchers by surprise, London won the nod from the International Olympic Committee to host the 2012 Olympic Games. The IOC made the announcement today in Singapore.
London’s “Back the Bid” campaign beat out the push by Paris, which had been widely viewed as the front-runner.
The other cities in the contest were New York, Madrid and Moscow.
The London Games are slated for July 27 through Aug. 12, 2012, to be sited in an ambitious redevelopment project in the Lower Lea Valley in London’s down-at-the-heels East End.
The news was greeted by raves from the British event industry.
“As someone who was born in East London, I’m particularly excited to see the Olympics will be coming to this city in 2012,” Graham Langley-Jones, managing director of London-based rental company Thorns Group (www.thorns.co.uk), tells Special Events Magazine. “Staging the Olympics in London is likely to provide a huge demand for U.K. suppliers, with vast amounts of equipment required across London, whether for the athletes' village, hospitality areas, the vast media center that will need to be created, or for any number of specialist facilities such as police, medical or staff areas.”
“For our industry and client market, this offers enormous possibilities and opportunities,” notes Scott Balfour, managing director of Surrey-based event company Fortesqueue’s (www.fqevents.com). “The best event and communication companies will really get behind this. The motivational benefits and the buzz factor for the entire country will be felt in all walks of life. The offshoots for years to come will be immeasurable and so important for everyone.”
In part thanks to a glowing review by the IOC last month, Paris had been viewed as the top choice.
However, the roster of special events linked to the Games will mean projects for event pros throughout Europe. “With London and Paris being viewed for some time as the front-runners to host the Olympics, the continent’s leading temporary structures suppliers have been eagerly anticipating playing a part in the 2012 Games irrespective of the IOC’s final decision,” Peter Spruce, managing director of DeBoer Structures (UK) (www.deboer.com), tells Special Events Magazine. “The continent’s temporary structure providers have enjoyed considerable experience of working hand in hand with major global contractors in meeting huge temporary overlay challenges. We look forward to the opportunities that the 2012 Olympics will inevitably provide.”