Wednesday 18 April sees another major milestone on the Journey to London 2012 as it is 100 days to go until the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony .Queen Elizabeth II will declare the London Olympics open on July 27 but while the stadiums are ready with 100 days to go, question marks hang over the security of the Games and transport.
When the flame is lit, London will become the first city in the modern era to host the Olympics three times, having already had the honour in 1908 and 1948.
Last time the event came to London, Britain was still gripped by the effects of World War II which had ended barely three years earlier and the makeshift approach earned it the label the "austerity Games".
With Britain's economy still in the doldrums, austerity will leave its mark on these Olympics too, albeit to a far lesser extent than in 1948, when competitors were housed in military barracks and university dormitories.
Despite a budget of £9.3 billion , the Games will be on more modest scale than the spectacular 2008 Beijing Olympics at which China announced its growing global presence.
"We are not coming out as a superpower," noted Britain's Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson.
Prime Minister David Cameron is nevertheless promising "the greatest show on Earth" and "a celebration of everything that's great about Britain".
London's bid was based on the promise that hosting the Games would leave a lasting legacy for the city. The International Olympic Committee believes it has achieved its aim so far -- the residents' verdict will only come later.
After a final inspection last month, IOC president Jacques Rogge said London had created "a legacy blueprint" for future Games hosts.
Some of the venues on the Olympic Park, built in a deprived part of east London, will be maintained after the Games, while others will be retained but scaled down.
The two unanswered questions are weighty ones: the ability to get spectators and athletes around an already congested city, and security, 40 years since the the bloody hostage-taking of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Security has cast a shadow since the day after London was awarded the Games, when suicide bombers killed 52 people on the transport system.
A combined force of more than 40,000 soldiers, police and private security guards will be mobilised for what Cameron called the "biggest and most integrated security operation in mainland Britain in our peacetime history".
London Olympics Organising Committee chairman Sebastian Coe is confident of delivering a "safe and secure" event but acknowledges the need to avoid a suffocating security blanket.
"You want people coming to London feeling that they are coming to a city that is celebrating and not overwhelmed by security," Coe told AFP.
"These are an Olympic Games -- they are taking place in London not siege-town. There is a balance to be struck."

Source: AFP


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