London 2012 Begins Planning Early for Integrated, Inspirational Paralympic Games
8 Mar 2006, Torino, Italy: Sir Keith Mills, Deputy Chairman of for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said today that plans to make Olympic facilities and venues widely accessible to athletes with diverse skills, backgrounds and requirements would be a feature of the London Games.
Mr Mills outlined the plans during an update of London’s preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to the Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) prior to the start of the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino.
With funding, planning permission and much of the land needed for the Games secured during London’s Bid, organisers were able to start work on planning for the Games the day after the UK capital was selected as the 2012 host city, on 6 July last year, Mills said.
The international sports venue specialists HOK have already been engaged by LOCOG to provide technical briefs for venues in conjunction with the International Federations, sports governing bodies and the IPC to ensure that all venues for the 2012 Games are accessible to elite athletes from all backgrounds.
“London’s principle objective and that of the Paralympic Movement are one and the same – to be inspirational,” Mills said in his IPC address.
The new LOCOG Board overseeing planning and staging of the Games comprised some of the best business and sports minds among its membership, Mills said, including IPC President Phil Craven and Mike Brace of the British Paralympic Association, who would guarantee regular scrutiny of Paralympic Games planning.
Sir Keith said one of the key objectives of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), responsible for building Olympic venues, infrastructure and legacy for the London Games, “will be to deliver our collective ambitions for a barrier free environment and meeting the challenge to be the most accessible Games ever.”
LOCOG’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Paul Deighton, who starts his position in April, will also attend the Torino Paralympic Winter Games and meet with IPC officials, Mills said.
Sir Keith confirmed that LOCOG has started to work with the IOC on their master-schedule of Olympic planning, and would meet with key IPC staff to develop similar processes when the Torino Paralympic Winter Games had finished. “One of our key aims is to investigate how to best merge these master-schedules of the IOC and IPC wherever possible, in order to ensure that they compliment each other at every stage.”
Sir Keith also paid tribute to Tony Sainsbury, who is leading the planning for London 2012’s Paralympic Games. “Tony has unrivalled experience as the former Chef de Mission of the British team and a huge knowledge of Paralympic issues. One of the key capital projects we need to start constructing soon is the Athletes’ Village – a core component of a successful Games, with a strong emphasis on the Paralympic Games.”
Keith also confirmed that LOCOG has advertised for a second specific Paralympic Games role, within LOCOG’s Sports Department, responsible for coordination of the Paralympic venues plan, working with the IPC’s Director of Sport on the 2012 Sport and Event programme.
He also announced that LOCOG’s Education and Culture division would stage a Seminar during the Paralympic World Cup, in Manchester in May, to explore how both domestic and international experts and performers in the area of disability arts could be engaged to forge a connection with sport.
LOCOG’s Paralympic Games-related priorities for the year, as outlined in Sir Keith’s address, included:
* The signing of the IOC-LOCOG marketing plan
* Defining the approach for our logo design and beginning work on the Paralympic elements
* Establishing the first LOCOG budget which will include a consolidated Paralympic Games section
* Specifying venue and infrastructure requirements for the ODA to use in their construction programmes including accessibility standards.
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