2012 Summer Olympics

On Friday, July 27th, the XXX (30th) Summer Olympics will officially get underway. The 2012 games will take place in London, England. Most venues, or locations for events, are in east London at Olympic Park.

The World Comes to London

More than 200 nations of the world will be represented by 10,490 athletes at the London Olympics. The head of state of the host country usually “opens” the games. This year, Queen Elizabeth II, who is celebrating 60 years on the British throne, will do the honors. During the Opening Ceremony, teams from many nations will parade into Olympic Stadium. Each team will carry its country’s flag and wear uniforms that reflect their nation’s culture. The team from Greece always enters first while the team of the host country enters last. The Opening Ceremony will be an elaborate event and will include a staged performance that celebrates the history and culture of the United Kingdom.

The culture of the United Kingdom and the world will also be reflected in the variety of food and drink that will be sold at Olympic venues.  Guests can enjoy traditional British foods such as fish and chips or pie and mash as well as international dishes such as Singapore noodle or savory curries.

Who Is In Charge?

The Olympic games are overseen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), national Olympic committees, and the host countries. These groups work together to prepare and review bids from nations who wish to host future Olympics. Once a host country and city is selected, the IOC works with that nation’s Olympic committee as well as officials from the country and city to coordinate details about venues for events, housing for athletes, security for the games, as well as many other things. The London Olympics are overseen by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Olympics of the Past

Today’s Olympic games have their roots in ancient history. Historians believe the first Olympics were held in 776 BC in Greece. The ancient games are thought to have been part of religious festivals. Athletes competed in running, jumping, discus throw, wrestling, boxing, shot put, javelin, and horse and chariot races. Olympic games continued in some form until about 393 AD when they were outlawed by Roman Emperor Theodosius.

This year will see the 30th Summer  Olympics since 1896 and the third Summer Olympics hosted by London. The previous London games were held in 1908 and 1948.

Footing the Bill

An increase in tourism to the host city can be an immediate benefit of hosting the Olympic Games. Tourists will spend money on the hotels, restaurants, and entertainment in the host city. This money provides a significant boost to a city’s economy. Building venues and sports arenas take a lot of workers and materials, thus many levels of the city’s economy can benefit. Hundreds of construction jobs are created, and many support industries, such as electrical and plumbing companies, will see an increase in business.

Host cities and countries also have large expenses in hosting the Olympics. It takes billions of dollars to prepare a city for the Olympic Games as well as to provide services and security during the games. Officials believe the London Olympics will cost around $14.42 billion in U.S. dollars.

Olympic officials estimate about 10.8 million ticket holders will experience Olympic events first-hand. Taking in an Olympic event is similar in cost to seeing other major sporting events such as the Super Bowl. Tickets for the opening ceremonies are selling for about $2,425. To see Usain Bolt try to break the world record in the 100m race, tickets would cost $874. However, officials report that the majority of tickets sold have cost £100 ($155) or less.

Learn More!

See the Olympic Venues
Meet the Olympic Athletes
Download the Mini-Game
Check out videos on the Olympic Channel on YouTube
See the Schedule of Competition and Results
Experience London Festival 2012
Explore Olympics of the Past