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30OLYMPIC REVIEWLondon 2012OVERVIEW

OLYMPIC REVIEW31London 2012 is approaching fast. With lessthan 12 months to go until the OpeningCeremony, excitement is mounting forLondoners, the Olympic family and sports fans aroundthe world. Construction milestones are being met andthe Olympic Park is already taking shape as asporting hub that will serve generations to come.While athletes and fans look forward to the event,London's East End is set for a transformation that onlyan event like the Olympic Games can bring about.But this is not the first time that the Games havecome to London. After hosting the Games in 1908and 1948, London will become the first city to hostthe Olympic Games on three occasions - although2012 will be the first time that it has been able to prepare properly. In 1908, organisers were left with less than twoyears to get ready, after the eruption of MountVesuvius put an end to Italy's hosting plans. Thatdidn't stop the charismatic Lord Desborough, thenBritish Olympic Association chairman, mastermindingthe longest-ever Olympic Games, spanning six monthsand including, for the first and only time, jeu depaume, rackets and powerboating.London next hosted the Games in 1948, againunder testing circumstances following a 12-year breakcaused by the Second World War. With Britain strugglingto recover from the conflict, it became known as the'Austerity Games'. In the words of one of the organisers,the event "boosted people's morale, everyone wasprepared to do their bit and get involved".IOC President Jacques Rogge is quick torecognise the role London has played in the history ofthe Games. "It's a great achievement," he says. "TheOlympic Movement owes a lot to the city of London."Having been awarded the 2012 Games in 2005,London has had seven years to prepare for thisoccasion and has made full use of that time. Nowhere is the remarkable progress made moreevident than in the Olympic stadium itself. In March,the last piece of turf was laid on the field of play -marking its completion on time and within budget. ? OVERVIEWLondon 2012