It’s amazing to think that in 2012, people will make the same journey as I did this morning, from the north of England into Kings Cross, and be able to reach the Games in minutes via the Javelin. I was travelling to London to be part of the announcement of the London 2012 Transport Plan. I joined John Armitt, Tessa Jowell, the Mayor and others to launch the plan with stakeholders.
Me at the launch:
The launch took place at 'The Gymnasium' next to St Pancras station. And it has it’s own part in Olympic tradition. Originally the home of the German Gymnastics Society from 1961, it also became the home for the embryonic national governing bodies for gymnastics, wrestling, weightlifting and fencing. In the first National Olympic Games in 1866 – inspired by William Penney-Brookes – it hosted events in the gymnastics, wrestling, boxing and fencing competitions. So it was a fitting setting for today’s event.
Getting the transport right for the Games for athletes is a huge issue. It’s one of those things that I’m pleased London 2012 is thinking about carefully so early. Other host cities have tried to get it right in the past but sometimes it’s not gone as well as it might. At one Games I competed in, unfortunately the bus driver wasn’t quite sure where the venue was. After going in the wrong direction for 45 minutes, I had to get them to stop the bus and call for help to get us there. I wasn’t competing but some fellow athletes missed their event entirely – years and years of preparation wasted.