This time next year, the eyes of the world will be on London, as the Opening Ceremony takes place in the prestigious Olympic Stadium. 3.5 million tickets have been sold to the London 2012 Games, and on 27 July, the final countdown to “the greatest show in the world” begins. A celebratory event at the Aquatic Centre at the Olympic Park and ceremony at Trafalgar Square will kickstart a year of outstanding sporting and cultural activities all over the UK.
Commenting ahead of the year to go mark, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“The Foreign Office is playing a crucial part in telling the rest of the world what a great place the UK is to visit, do business and learn in the lead up to the Olympics and Paralympics. We are encouraging hundreds of thousands of visitors to find out about the Games next year - it is going to be an incredible time in the UK and we are ready to welcome everybody. Events at our global network of posts are helping spread messages about the Games and I am pleased that we are doing so much to promote the Olympics.” Read the Foreign Secretary’s article on one year to go until London 2012.
Foreign Office Minister for the Olympics Jeremy Browne visited the Middle of the World monument near Quito, from where he recorded his first video blog from Ecuador. In reference to the London 2012 Olympic Games, he said “I’m at the centre of the Earth now, but London will be at the centre of the world’s attention next year”. Watch his video message on YouTube. The Minister marked a year to go in Lima by making a keynote speech to 200 guests and meeting the athletes who will be travelling to London in 2012. He also visited Bolivia, where he went to the High Altitude Centre for high performance athletes at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, joined by the Vice Minister for Sport and the President of the Bolivian Olympic Committee.
Around the world, Britain’s embassies, high commissions and missions are celebrating the year to go milestone. Ambassadors, Embassy staff, athletes, businesses, charities and youth groups are all involved in drumming up excitement about the Games and getting real results for the UK in terms of investment, visitors and sporting legacy See examples of activity from around the world in our online round-up via Storify.
In Pakistan, top Pakistani tennis players are competing in a mixed double tennis match against the British High Commission’s team; in Romania, a street in one of the poorest areas of Bucharest is will have a street party with sport activities, competitions, cultural events and activities for children. In Prague, the British Embassy is hosting a Beach Volleyball event for socially disadvantaged children, followed by a children’s mini Olympics, while in Lebanon, the British Embassy football team is playing a friendly with land mine survivors from South Lebanon.
To mark the one year point the Israeli Prime Minister, parliamentarians and invited guests, including Olympic athletes, are taking part in a Special Session of the Israeli Parliament. Ambassador Matthew Gould will address the session of Parliament - one of the few foreign Ambassadors ever to do so. At the UN Headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will switch on a countdown clock at exactly 2.30pm East Coast time (7.30pm BST), joined by UK Mission to the UN Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant and nine-times Olympic Gold medallist, IOC-voted “Olympian of the Century” and UN Goodwill Ambassador Carl Lewis. The clock will remain on display at the UN until the Games commence. The British Embassy and the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC are hosting a ceremonial Olympic torch relay run to kick off the 2012 Games countdown. See examples of activity from across the FCO’s US network.
Meanwhile, the British Embassy in Colombia is launching “100 to London”, highlighting Colombia’s plans to send its largest ever delegation of (100) athletes to London. As well as displaying a photo exhibition of major London landmarks and Games venues, the Visa team will take the biometric data of some of the qualified athletes.The British High Commission in Namibia is hosting a VIP reception, including screenings of FCO film Going for Green and BBC footage of local World Olympic Dreams participant, sprinter Merlyn Diamond. Olympian Frank Fredericks, who laid the last piece of turf at the Olympic Park in London earlier this year, will be at the reception.
The British Embassy in Brasilia is celebrating with a tea party at the official residence. In China, the consulate in Chongqing hosted a sports day event at Shanhu Primary School and the embassy in Beijing has partnered with Sina.com for a host of online activity. In Russia, the British Embassy, British Council and Visit Britain are co-hosting an Olympic Pavilion at Moscow’s largest outdoor festival. Meanwhile, in Uzbekistan the British Embassy Tashkent is celebrating with a mini Olympic Competition for 48 teenagers from the Federations of Judo and Wrestling at Dinamo Stadium.
Foreign Office bloggers are also marking the milestone - Tom Burn wrote about activities in Japan, while Ambassador to Guatemala Julie Chappell discussed the Olympics and Mayan history, and the opportunities London 2012 presents. Ambassador to Washington Nigel Sheinwald talked about the UK’s commitment to building a lasting legacy from the Games.