Look At It This Way - July 13, 2012

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The Olympics open on July 27. Two weeks today.

London’s 2012 Olympiad has been 15 years in the making.

The British Olympic Association started shaping the bid in 1997.

It pipped Paris to the post of hosting the 2012 Olympiad in 2005. Seven years ago.

I’m labouring the timeline but wouldn’t you think this was time enough to get things right?

Right first time?

Right now, with a fortnight to the starter line?

Rather than the unseemly scrabble we’re seeing to get security right?

Look to the Open – Junior or British Open championships – for some exemplary planning.

Contingencies provide for variables posed by the unstintingly soggy summer – and the paradox that 200,000 visitors don’t want to walk far to watch golf’s superstars. Park and “drive” indeed.

Yet in our great capital there are more hurdles to overcome outside the Olympic stadia than there are within.

Now there’s talk of deploying the troops to help marshal the Olympics, because a £500m contract is no guarantee the Games will be guarded effectively.

So squaddies could be shepherding athletes and spectators, when they could have been spending quality time with their families over the school summer holidays.

Why the surprise? It’s more of the same old same old.

The issue of tickets was hit and miss.

Navigating the Olympics website is tough enough to be a track event in its own right.

The Olympic torch relay was a triumph of British eccentricity – and the flame even blew out in Blackpool.

The London 2012 brand has been micro managed to the nth degree – and taken the fun out of it.

It’s OK to buy over-priced souvenirs with Olympic logos, but heaven help you if you want to ride a promotional event on the back of it.

The real cracks emerged long before the M4 flyover needed a rapid repair in order to get the crucial Olympic designated route reopen and ready.

Some regional champions of the Games – who this time last year were engaging the rest of the country in this southern-centric Olympiad – have fallen prey to cutbacks themselves.

The loss of the North West Regional Development Agency – which would have had a field day with the Olympics – did us no favours.

We’re still playing catch-up with the level of expertise and investment lost.

But here’s some heartening news. Blackpool is one of two authorities in the North West with the highest percentage of schools registered with Get Set. The other is Oldham.

Get Set is the official education programme of London 2012 – aiming to bring the Olympics and Paralympics to life for young people across the curriculum.

Let’s hope these go-ahead youngsters enjoy every step of the way – but also learn from the mistakes.