London Olympics unveiled

By Zhao Ran in London and Liu Linlin in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2012-7-28 1:05:00

Locals watch as giant Olympic rings mounted on a barge float on the River Thames in front of Tower Bridge during the 2012 London Olympic Games Torch Relay on Friday. Photo:  AFP
Locals watch as giant Olympic rings mounted on a barge float on the River Thames in front of Tower Bridge during the 2012 London Olympic Games Torch Relay on Friday. Photo: AFP
The London Olympic Games began Friday night UK time following an opening ceremony which remained strictly under wraps until the last minute.

With around 6,000 registered reporters, 15,000 television broadcasters and around 8,000 non-registered reporters from 200 media outlets in 66 countries and regions worldwide in London, the London media blitz has outdone Beijing's.

As the memory of the 2008 Games fades, Olympic fever is declining in China.

Chinese media outlets are less enthusiastic about the London Olympic Games than they were for the Beijing event four years ago.

Few major dailies' front pages featured the Olympic Games on Friday, at a time when the aftermath of the deadly Beijing rainstorm still dominated media attention.

Major Chinese websites didn't place the Olympics as their top news until 9 pm Friday.

An official from the Olympic Park, who refused to reveal her name, told the Global Times that the UK is creating a triple-ring security system to ensure the successful operation of the Games.

"The first ring is the London Bowl protecting 140 leaders worldwide, 200 ministers, 100 royals and celebrities and 150 members of the International Olympic Committee," she said, adding that a strict security check will be adopted at the entrance and guards will be deployed at core areas.

The second ring is a three to four kilometer radius centered on the Olympic Park. Aircraft will patrol the area, monitored by a high-end radar system. The third ring has some overlapping areas with the second ring but covers more areas in London, where missiles, warships and fighter jets are deployed, she said.

London's narrow streets often see heavy traffic, but the city has done its best to clear the roads of traffic jams for the Games.

City officials have urged residents to leave their cars at home for months and allow more time for commuting and other travel, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing complaints from drivers who are facing a fine of £130 ($200) if they use the special lanes that will run from 6 am to midnight during the games and are reserved for Olympic officials, contestants and VIPs.

 Police forbid London taxi drivers to protest their ban by using Olympic traffic lanes, and residents are full of complaints about intrusive security, aggressive brand management, and long commutes. But some are still excited about the Games.

Susan Whipple, a local resident, told the Global Times near a subway station that her relatives will come to the city in a few days to watch the games together.

"Though we don't have tickets to the events, we do feel it's more interesting to watch the games in London to feel the Games in the air," Whipple said.

As late as Thursday night, Games organizers said that the ceremony had not sold out and tickets in the two highest price categories, costing £2,012 and £1,600, were still available, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

Ticket touts echo that foreigners are more interested in the Games than the British.

"I bought opening ceremony tickets worth£1,600, and resold them easily at £2,000. I also have tickets for events in the following days for which the prices will be doubled by the time I sell them,"  a 30-year-old Chinese scalper in London called Michael told the Global Times on Friday, adding that tickets are very popular among tourists.

Music fans in China were also prepared to stay up all night for the opening ceremony to be bewitched by the power of a range of British hits that's rumored to include everything from Beatles tunes to Radiohead.

Due to the time difference, Chinese fans had to wait up till early Saturday morning to watch the opening ceremony and they geared up to gather the song list on Friday.

The opening ceremony was lit by Chinese fireworks and 75 percent of them come from Liuyang city in Central China's Hunan Province, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Posted in: Europe, Olympics

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