Countdown to the Games

With one year to go before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics, London celebrates

Jul 29, 2011 | By Katherine Watkins
LOCOG/AP

One year from now the best athletes from all over the world will gather in London, England, for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The opening ceremony will take place on July 27. In honor of the one-year mark of the start of the Games, London has been celebrating and making its final preparations.

They're Number One! The British synchronized swimming team celebrates the start of the one-year countdown until the Games begin.
PRESS ASSOCIATION/AP
They're Number One! The British synchronized swimming team celebrates the start of the one-year countdown until the Games begin.

The world's athletes and the National Olympic Committees were officially invited to attend the Games during a ceremony in London's Trafalgar Square earlier this week. "With a year to go we are inviting the athletes, spectators and visitors from around the world to come to the UK next summer—it's 'London Calling'," said Sebastian Coe, the Chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games. "Waiting for them will be a spectacular festival of sport and culture in the world's greatest city, which will be more magical and vibrant than ever," he added.

Olympic Dreams

Construction of the Olympics' Aquatics Center was completed this week. It was the sixth and final arena to be built in the Olympic Park. To celebrate, Tom Daley, a British diver, made the first dive into the Olympic pool. Then, the British synchronized swimming team performed a routine. The swimmers formed a giant number one to represent the year remaining until the official start of the Games.

"One year to go is a special time for any host nation...when Olympic dreams start to come into focus, and when the world turns its attention in earnest to the city that will welcome it in only 365 days' time," said Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee.

Going for the Gold

British Prime Minister David Cameron says London is ready for the "greatest Games ever."
SANG TAN—AP
British Prime Minister David Cameron says London is ready for the "greatest Games ever."

The medals that the world's best athletes will compete to win were unveiled at the ceremony in Trafalgar Square. More than 2,100 medals will be given to deserving athletes during the 302 ceremonies that will take place throughout the games.

On the front of the medals is the image of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, walking out of the Parthenon and entering into the Host City of the Olympics. On the back is the London 2012 logo surrounded by an abstract design. According to David Watkins, the British artist who designed the medals, it represents the modern city. Also on the back is an image of a ribbon running behind the logo. The ribbon is said to represent the Thames River in London. Each medal will be engraved with the sport and discipline of the winning athlete.

"I hope that seeing the design of the London 2012 Olympic medals will be a source of inspiration for the thousands of athletes around the world who are counting down the year before they compete at the greatest show on earth," said Coe.