Seven years of planning, waiting, anticipation, expectation and preparation will come to an end next week when the greatest sporting show on earth gets under way in London.

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Adam Gretton - “I can’t wait”

It’s not every day the world’s greatest sporting event comes to our shores. So why are so many people whingeing about the Olympics or simply going to ignore it?

I for one can’t wait to see the world’s best athletes competing in London – all be it from the comfort of my armchair.

The Olympics is our one chance to get behind our sportsmen and women who have shed blood, sweat and tears over many years to get to London 2012.

The sight of big sporting names like Sir Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington, and Mo Farah competing on home soil – and hopefully winning medals – is set to inspire a new generation to take up a new sport or encourage older ones to do more exercise.

The Olympics represents one of the few opportunities we get to cheer on athletes competing in less publicised sports such as cycling, rowing, swimming, martial arts and gymnastics.

The Games will also make unlikely heroes out of athletes we’d never heard of before who succeeded against adversity or just turned up and did their best. Remember ‘Eric the Eel’, the 100m swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, who competed at the 2000 Sydney Games?

In Norfolk and Suffolk, we are not affected by the traffic chaos caused by the Games lanes in London or adversely by the queues at the airports.

But we do have a wonderful opportunity to benefit from the thousands of extra tourists and day- trippers who will be exploring the country during their visit.

The Games will also leave a lasting legacy in regenerating a previously rundown part of London and giving new hope to people living in the Stratford area.

The Olympics and Paralympics only happen once every four years and it will be decades before the Games return to Britain, so let’s get behind Team GB.

The eyes of the world will be on Great Britain when the London 2012 Olympic Games officially begin with the opening ceremony next Friday evening.

Years of hard work and dedication will come to fruition as athletes from around the globe shed blood, sweat and tears over the two weeks.

There will be moments of glory, heartache, joy and fury as medals are won and lost.

Aside from the sporting action, businesses which have been involved in the project will see the fruits of their labour, thousands of volunteers will work like Trojans to ensure the event runs smoothly and ticket- holders will have the chance to see the action live.

Adam Aiken - “It has been a seven-year nightmare”

The massive overspend. The confusion over ticketing. Motorway lanes shut for proper traffic (and stinging fines for drivers who accidentally use the wrong lanes as early as 5am). The athletes’ coach drivers getting lost. Surface-to-air-missiles on tower blocks across east London. The G4S fiasco . . .

Even now, we don’t know if we’ll have enough staff to man the Olympics properly.

The athletes are the stars. Once they start to run, jump and throw things, we’ll be treated to some of the best sporting action in the world.

But the rest of it has been a seven-year nightmare.

It started with the ticketing. The website kept crashing and they had to keep extending the application process. We weren’t even allowed to know how the system worked – it was like some Soviet state secret.

(Then again, it looks as though the organisers themselves don’t know how it worked – only this week, we were told that organisers were determined to get rid of the last 200,000 tickets “by hook or by crook”. But haven’t they had seven years to do that?)

Then there has been the big-brother crackdown. It’s one thing for the main sponsors to want to stop their rivals piggybacking for free, but the brand police have been outrageous.

Newspaper supplements that have done nothing but help build interest in the whole caboodle have not been allowed to use even the word “Olympics” in their titles.

An army of trademark police have cracked down on everything. The “Olympic Café” in London was forced to change its name. There was even a letter sent to a US knitting group, informing it that its planned “Ravelympics” was a breach of trademark.

These heavy-handed tactics are about as far removed from the original Olympics spirit as can be imagined.

I guess there’s the Olympic legacy. That’s if, of course, some poor family stuffed into a grim flat in Tower Hamlets is going to have their lot improved thanks to a huge empty stadium just down the road.

Yes, that’s EXACTLY what they’ve been looking forward to for all these years.

It is an exciting time not only for the athletes but for all those involved in making the Games happen – and for the nation as a whole as the Olympics are held in this country for the first time in 64 years.

A buzz of excitement has been felt across Norfolk in the build-up to the spectacle.

More than a quarter of a million people lined the streets of the county to see the Olympic torch, schools have hosted their own opening ceremonies, traditional sports days have been turned into mini summer Olympics Games and people have been inspired to get out and be active.

British flags can be spotted flying proudly outside people’s homes ahead of the much-anticipated event and people have made plans for meeting up with friends and family to watch some of the action.

But, there are some people who “cannot wait” for it all to be over. There have been complaints from those who missed out on tickets, controversy over elements of the sponsorship deals associated with the Olympic park and people have complained it has been a “major spend”.

Britain’s summer weather has done little to lift spirits and the fiasco over GS4’s failure to recruit enough security staff failed to improve some people’s attitude towards the Games.

Even so, the people of Norfolk seem ready to embrace the Games and get behind our Olympians.

Simon Wright, Norwich South MP, said: “Despite the fact that I won’t be going, I’m excited about the event and will be keeping an eye on what’s going on.

“It’s an incredibly exciting moment for the whole country and it’s really putting Britain in the global spotlight and giving everyone a real boost, whether you are involved directly or indirectly, whether you’ve got children who have been taking part in school activities or if you are a business that’s been fortunate enough to have won some of the business that’s gone along with staging the event.”

Ralph Gayton, Lord Mayor of Norwich, said he will be watching the athletics but would like to see Team GB do well in all sports.

“It’s a spectacle,” he said. “I normally watch as much as I can and I hope we will do well. I’m looking forward to it.

“I think the torch relay captured people’s imagination and brought the Games to people individually and personally. I think the torch demonstrated that people are interested and I think it will be good for the country if it is successful.”

Norfolk and north Suffolk have some strong contenders for the Olympics in the form of Norwich-born windsurfer Nick Dempsey, Pott Row’s steeplechaser Barbara Parker, Norwich cyclist Emma Pooley, Diss judoka Colin Oates, Lowestoft boxer Anthony Agogo and former Norwich schoolgirl and fencer Anna Bentley. A host of companies have also been fortunate enough to have won Olympic contracts, including coach firm Simonds of Botesdale, Trade Electricals Direct (Ted), which is part of the Hughes Electrical Group, and Salix River and Wetland Services in Croxton, near Thetford.

And there are people across the county who have individual and personal reasons for getting excited about the Games, including Fakenham grandmother Jennifer Wright who is volunteering, Hayley Gerrard, from Norwich, who has tickets for the 50-kilometre race walk – the event in which her grandfather won gold in 1936 – and Hainford’s Gina Atherton who is set to perform in the opening ceremony.

And in Norwich, people will be able to watch all the action on the live screen in Chapelfield Plain – one of just a handful of live sites in the country.

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, who will be watching the badminton and cycling as well as other sports, said she thought the Olympics will provide a “great opportunity” for the county.

She said: “I’m excited about the Olympic and Paralympic Games and I’ve got the chance to watch one event at both.

“It’s a great chance to show off what we’ve got and crucially to get things moving in the economy. A lot of people will be coming into the country, buying things and using British companies and that means there’s a lot of economic opportunity which is very important.

“In Norfolk and Norwich we also stand to benefit from the Olympics because of our rail link to Stratford. Having led the campaign for improved services, we want to see a good performance on that line during the Olympic Games.”

Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP, added: “As you get the train into London you can see this fantastic site which has been developing week by week and month by month, and it’s now the most amazing place. It will be fantastic for the country to be hosting it and I am totally positive about it.

“I’m also very hopeful the Games will act as a spur for people to get active and involved in sport – that will be a very positive legacy for it as well.

“I’m very disappointed David Beckham isn’t playing, as I think that after what he did to bring the Games here, he would really have raised the profile of the football.

“But I’m looking forward to the whole mixture. It’s a rich tapestry of so many different sports, but as a cyclist myself I will be looking forward to that. However, I think they will be going a little faster than me.”

kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

35 comments

  • Who are GS4? I heard that G4S had problems but didn't know about GS4!

    Report this comment

    Frank Fryup

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Mad Brewer - "G4S man will probably get a knighthood when the dust has settled" They have already got two Lords how any more can they want? One is ex MP ex Home secretary Labour bruiser Lord John Reid. He is a Group Consultant. Then of course there is Lord Condon who used to be Commissioner of the Met, he is a non ex director. How cosy!

    Report this comment

    BG

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • why would u watch it on telly?it would be like going to a school sports day when you have no kids.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • I just can't wait, when everyone is stuck inside watching this rubbish it will give me more room on the bank for angling. Ha ha ha ha ha!

    Report this comment

    Vic Sponge

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • this paper has deleted the poll as it showed 99% of people neither wanted the games or thought they had any benefits or merits.Why do they manipulate the news like this?

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • BIG yawn. Where has the poll gone? Last time I looked nearly everyone had voted they were not excited!

    Report this comment

    Moley

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • BG, no need to preach to the converted. Cosy it is. Or Coe-see? These cliques always do OK.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Apart from Larson. He slipped thro` the security cordon.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • to fiona battenburg--its called brainwashing love. i would rather the cash went on hospitals and repairing roads and letting people have operations not deemed essential.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • to batten burg woman--YOU get over yourself.Just because u play netball once a week or cycle---most people don't like or appreciate the games.The edp poll was pulled as it showed the "wrong"opinions.just think what the cash could've been spent on. group 4 are amateurs like old granddads snoozing over a brazier while guarding the factory.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • I'm surprised the moderator has let all this go on, moderator, look up the word moderator, it doesn't say they are a censor for the extremely far left, and when you censor people, after days and days that it takes, at least say why! Moderate, NOT CENSOR! Olympics, not interested, worst thing to happen at a very difficult time for the economy. Who went mad when we were picked to host? It wasn't the country, it was a few people on camera, not the whole nation, let the French or Germans who can afford it do it. We don't have the money, the space, the infrastructure, and all it will be is an embarrassment, the security are being trained right now, in a rush, so that will be safe there won't it, the security will be full of holes and the whole olympics fiasco that it is bound to be will be one of those debates for years & years to come. Who will benefit in the economy, hardly anyone, a 'selected' few, it will cost the economy not being able to get in and out of London, no lorries allowed etc, but hotels should be ok, charging extortinate money for a dirty shoe box to some poor foreigner. And can someone sort out this repeat posting, not any of the users, it's the designer, the system, if you post it doesn't show, then as I found out if you post again they all come up together a day or so later, if you refresh your page to see if the post has gone through, it posts it again, it's useless!

    Report this comment

    Jason Bunn

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Bookworm ,you have a good point. There does seem to be some censorship going on. Comments have been erased. Any comment EDP? As for Fiona and " the whole country went mad" . The whole country did not go mad. Only the bits that the TV showed to be going mad. News and events are edited and a very positive spin was put on the ridiculously expensive so called Olympic games. Once for amateurs only but taken over by professional highly paid sports men and woman. And Fiona you and I and the rest of the country should be going mad because we will be paying the multi billion bill for many years to come.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • An orgy of commercialism, enforced by bullying officials, complete incompetence in running it, no discernible benefit and certainly not one from having an unreliable rail service Norwich-London. All yours for a mere £13 billion or so.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • “In Norfolk and Norwich we also stand to benefit from the Olympics because of our rail link to Stratford". Yes, people travelling to see the games can spend 2+ hours looking at a field as there are "problems with the signalling at Diss".

    Report this comment

    ds99

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • I am going to buy a big tin of extra slow drying paint...

    Report this comment

    Chris Hill

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • has this paper wiped all the anti comments from earlier this week? the games are a waste of time and money and will benefit about 50 people.TV coverage will be at saturation point-as a mug licence payer i object.i bet 95% of the population don't watch or care about it one jot,

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • BG, I`m converted. No need to preach! It is, indeed, very Coe-see.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • The ladies beach volleyball will be good telly (it's touch and go if the Saudi team turns up).

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Herd mentality, Fiona. T Doff, I`ll string along with your whimsy. Main beneficiary of all this tripe is "Lord" Sebco and his Sebcolimpix.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • to batten burg woman--YOU get over yourself.Just because u play netball once a week or cycle---most people don't like or appreciate the games.The edp poll was pulled as it showed the "wrong"opinions.just think what the cash could've been spent on. group 4 are amateurs like old granddads snoozing over a brazier while guarding the factory.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Its all Media Hype.ask the average person in the street,and most are totally fed up with the London Olympics,and the indecent money and energy being spent in these hard times

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • if u wonder why your quality of life is going down and u can't get a hospital appointment just think where the cash went.use your imagination.Lord Coe will not help u.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Last time I looked at the EDP's own poll the vast majoirty of EDP respondents were not excited, so why does this article not reflect this? And where have the poll results gone? False reporting or simply spin?

    Report this comment

    ggbart

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • I recollect using a previous incarnation of that "Security" company. They sent us a Night Security guard who was ...afraid of the dark. Seriously. His replacement sat in his hut all night doing macrame for the Sea Scouts.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • no one wants this games.it benefits about 100 people and thats it.So boring and TV coverage will be O.T.T I want a licence refund.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • if u wonder why your quality of life is going down and u can't get a hospital appointment just think where the cash went.use your imagination.Lord Coe will not help u.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Bookworm: 99% didnt want the games? Pffft. Sure (!). When it was announced live on tv, the whole country went mad with excitement. People are getting SUPER excited for the games. you guys are just bores. Just take Norwich, if, apparently, "99% didnt want the games", then why was the city PACKED when the flame came here? Why was everywhere it went in Norfolk celebrated widely, with 100.000s people turning up to see it pass through? Get over yourselves. Yes, its costs money, who ever said it wouldn't be expensive?? But think of the money it will generate, through tourism etc, but also through the fact about the huge amount of money spent on sporting in general on the youth of Great Britain...surely thats an amazing thing! Whether its encouraging school children to try to types of sports, to helping fund those with talents in certain areas. It'll be Bloomin' AMAZING. CANNOT wait!

    Report this comment

    Fiona Battigan

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • As for Fiona and " the whole country went mad" I certainly was mad when the flame passed through Norwich. I had been working in The Assembly Rooms and couldn't get my vehicle of the park for 2 hrs as the road was closed.

    Report this comment

    Christopher Neave

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Spot on, Jason Bunn. You did well to get that bit of non-herd mentality commonsense through. I am envious!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, July 21, 2012

  • Agree with previous posters. Strange how security arrangements were done on the cheap with a cowboy operator. I bet the banquetting and Corpulent Entertainment will be of a much higher standard. I think the whole thing is safer with the troops in there instead of out of work bouncers in temporary uniforms. A good excuse for moving them in without causing panic. G4S man will probably get a knighthood when the dust has settled......

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Much tosh coming from the usual suspects (local mp's) Locog announced just two days ago that 400,000 unsold tickets have been returned from abroad, 200,000 for the footie are to be given away for nowt.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • @ Mad Brewer - is macrame an Olympic (or should that be "That thing that's going on in London that I can't mention the name of, but begins with O") sport?

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • Ops. BBC Look East appear to be left with egg on their face after they ran the Police Federation inspired story about sub standard accommodation down in Dorset. Appears the pictures were old and showed the accommodation before work was started on them to bring them up to an acceptable standard. Why is everyone who has an axe to grind because of cut backs within their organization taking every opportunity they can to talk the Olympics down or to cause as much chaos as possible by gong on strike. What a miserable lot of grumpy people we have turned into. Must be the weather!

    Report this comment

    BG

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • if u wonder why your quality of life is going down and u can't get a hospital appointment just think where the cash went.use your imagination.Lord Coe will not help u.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • to batten burg woman--YOU get over yourself.Just because u play netball once a week or cycle---most people don't like or appreciate the games.The edp poll was pulled as it showed the "wrong"opinions.just think what the cash could've been spent on. group 4 are amateurs like old granddads snoozing over a brazier while guarding the factory.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, July 20, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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