Thank you. In just one year, seven months, seven days, two hours and about 12 minutes the biggest show in the world comes to town. At that moment, this place will be the very centre of global attention, the focus of billions of people, the chance for Britain to show the world what we can do. Now, today, I think it’s a great time to take stock of how far we’ve come and look forward to the future.
First, I want to congratulate everyone who’s been involved in this incredible success story so far from all over our country. Twenty thousand workers have turned an area the size of Hyde Park into a town within a city. They have excavated over 2.3 million cubic metres of soil, enough to fill the Albert Hall 10 times over. This is the biggest urban park to be built anywhere in Europe since the 19th century and it’s all been delivered on time, on budget, thanks to British genius and many of the people here. Give yourselves a huge round of applause.
Now, whether it is earthworks from Blackburn or steelworks from Bradford, soil from Sevenoaks, concrete from Cambridge, planting from Norfolk, plant hire from Inverness or reinforcements from Neath, this is a nationwide success story and we should be very proud of that. Together, this country has built this place and together this country is going to celebrate all the great British wins that we’re going to see here. On this track we’re going to outrun the Americans, in that velodrome we are going to out-cycle the French and in those pools, yes, we are going to out-swim the Australians, and I can’t wait for it.
But the Olympics isn’t just about 2012; it’s about what happens after 2012. Already we’re making sure that a real legacy is left long after the Games are over. We want to see a big impact on our economy and we’re already working on that. Whether it’s helping Olympics contractors to drum up more trade overseas, whether it’s developing a tourism strategy to boost visitor numbers to our country for years to come, or signing up big companies like Cisco to set up innovation centres here as part of a new tech city in east London, we must not let a single opportunity for growth pass us by.
We want the Games to leave a sporting legacy too, inspiring more young people to get active. Too many children in our country think that sport is something you watch rather than something you do, but when people play sport they learn what it means to push themselves, to work with others and that is so important. So this government wants to improve hundreds of playing fields across our country, we want to increase the share of lottery funding for sport and we want to upgrade a thousand local sports clubs and facilities. And as Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt announced earlier today, we want to go on funding a wider role for PE teachers for another two years.
And today I’m also firing the starting pistol on a new competition, the School Games. Starting in the New Year children from all over the country will get the chance to compete in their very own Olympics, climaxing in a spectacular final right here in this stadium. I know it looks today like it’s the Winter Olympics; you could imagine Eddie the Eagle immediately appearing, but it’ll be ready for those School Olympics. So to all the children here today, if you want to be here competing in 2012 you better get your trainers on and get training.
In 2012 the whole world is going to be watching this place. We’re going to show the world that when it comes to getting the job done, British expertise cannot be bettered. We’re going to show that Britain is one of the very best places to live, to work, to invest, to do business and we’re going to show that ours is a proud, forward-looking and confident country. So, just as today we’ve shone the lights on this stadium, in 2012 the light of the world will be shining on Britain.
Thank you and thank you to everyone who’s worked so hard to deliver this fantastic stadium for what I know you know is going to be a magnificent Olympic Games.
Thank you very much indeed.