Weather London Olympics’ biggest threat?
By Chris Murphy
London has spent billions preparing to host the 2012 Olympics, constructing state of the art stadiums, overhauling transport links and installing anti-aircraft missiles to beef up security.
But there is one thing organizers can’t control: The Great British Weather.
Recently two titanic events of the sporting summer — tennis at Wimbledon and Formula One’s British Grand Prix — have been hit by violent storms and the persistent rain that has been stalking the UK for months.
Only this week a major concert in London was canceled after a series of severe deluges rendered Hyde Park unsafe for the thousands of fans who bought tickets.
With just 15 days to go until the opening ceremony and forecasters predicting more turbulence ahead, Olympic officials and their government partners are making contingency plans for those events that could be decimated by adverse weather.
As well as umbrellas, a mass of red, white and blue ponchos will be on sale to keep patrons dry, yet those who have spent the most on tickets — up to £2,012 ($3,100) in some cases — could well be stationed in the parts of the Olympic Stadium that aren’t fully sheltered.
Many events, such as the beach volleyball on Horse Guard’s Parade and the show jumping in Greenwich Park, are open and vulnerable to whatever the elements decide to throw at them.
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But despite fears the July 27-August 12 sporting extravaganza could be a washout, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has stressed that combating the challenges the UK’s unique climate offers has featured heavily in its seven years of meticulous planning.