London Latest - Seb Coe Welcomes World Media; Pin Traders Meet

(ATR) London 2012 chair opens World Press Briefing ... Pin traders gather near Olympic Park… LOCOG launches active travel program for Games ...

(ATR) LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe says that the preparations for the London 2012 Olympics are now entering the "hard yards".

Coe, speaking at the World Press Briefing in London, said that with 10 months to go until the start of the Olympics, LOCOG was working hard – and on budget.

Press organisations as well as press attachés from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees from around the world were invited to attend this third and final annual update on the status of LOCOG for the written press.

"With 10 months to go we know we enter what I would call the hard yards – Scaling up the organisation now this starts with a few people in a pub somewhere thinking it’s a good idea, and at games time you’ve got 6000 people on the payroll, a broader workforce of 200,000 of which 100,000 are contractors and 70,000 volunteers to meld into that."

Coe took the time to recognize the importance of the written press in previous Olympics and warned that with improvements with technology and different media platforms, it is a significantly important time to be "standard bearers of accuracy".

Speaking of the challenge for press post-games, Coe said "The challenge will be about legacy – one of the legacies not always talked about is the space of media post the games for the onward coverage of Olympic sport".

With the second cluster of 42 test events about to begin, Coe highlighted the importance of being prepared for any eventuality and said that the test events were a chance to implement lessons learned from World Press Briefings of past years.

He said "Test events are a very simple concept - I never wanted to go into an Olympic final and not be thrown something I had not been thrown a thousand times before on the training track."

Coe also praised LOCOG’s budget plan saying "Clearly delivering within budget which we are – bearing down on costs all the time and that’s about smart procurement as well."

In a flattering speech to the media, Olympic champion Coe thanked the press for delivering LOCOG’s news in a "transparent" way and closed the session by saying "A clear component is our ability to engage and enthuse domestically and internationally. And you [the press] are a key part of that."

The LOCOG World Press Briefing has drawn about 400 delegates, the biggest ever of the three that have been held. The briefing ends Thursday.

Olympic Park Pin Swap

A group of London 2012 pin collectors is building in membership ahead of next year’s Games.

More than 20 traders from as far away as USA, Canada and Greece gathered Saturday in Stratford for their fourth meeting to date. About half were first-timers.

Also in attendance at The Railway Tavern adjacent to Olympic Park were two members of Coca Cola's 2012 team as well as representatives from Honav, the licensee for London pin badges.

A designer from Coke spoke to the collectors and gathered their ideas for future designs while Honav launched a new set of pins featuring posters and logos of previous Games taken from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

The swaps started last December and are soon expected to become monthly.

2012 Active Travel Program Launches

Visitors to the 2012 Olympics are encouraged to make the most of upgraded cycle and walking routes when they head to Games venues next summer.

The call for spectators to pedal or stroll to the Games follows a $16 million initiative to improve the British capital's cycle and walking networks.

A total of 75km of East London’s cycle routes, serving eight routes around the Olympic Park and river venues, have been enhanced by Transport for London (TfL) through the 2012 Games Walking and Cycling Routes scheme funded by the Olympic Delivery Authority.

LOCOG and TfL on Monday launched the London 2012 Active Travel program to increase the numbers of people cycling and walking before, during and after the Games. More than 50 projects encouraging more walking and cycling have been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark.

"There has been a significant investment made by the ODA and its partners to ensure that London 2012 is truly a sustainable transport Games, with walking and cycling crucial to the overall strategy," said ODA director of transport Hugh Sumner.

"We have worked together to deliver major improvements across London’s cycling and walking routes so that spectators can get to venues safely and on time. These enhancements will be left in place after the Games for the benefit of commuters and communities alike."

Olympic organizers estimated that an additional one million journeys a day will be made by foot and bike in London next summer as spectators switch from other forms of transport. About 300,000 spectators are expected to cycle and walk to Games venues in London with 7,000 bike parking spaces provided for the Olympic Park alone.

Reported in London by Christian Radnedge and Paul McGill as well as Mark Bisson in Rotterdam

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