July 29, 2010 / 2:39 PM / 9 years ago

London will not try to match Beijing Olympics, says Coe

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - London will not make any attempt to match the splendour of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when it hosts the event in 2012, chairman of the organising committee Sebastian Coe said on Thursday.

London Games chief Sebastian Coe listens to a question during an interview with Reuters in New Delhi December 1, 2009. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

Instead, London would cull the best of all past Olympics and put up a game which is unique, Coe said.

“I don’t think you should try to match another Games. You don’t build it big because the last one was big. You don’t choreograph the opening ceremony because the last one took shape in a certain way,” Coe told reporters.

“For me, it is taking the best from all Olympic Games. I saw the details in Beijing (2008), the party atmosphere in Sydney (2000) and the spirit of humanity in Barcelona (1992).

“Also the way people embraced the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. If we can bring all together, we will be having a great Games.”

On whether he was nervous with less than two years to go for the Games, Coe said: “I always sleep well. We have a good team and we work hard, but of course there is a lot to do.”

Coe, fellow middle-distance runner Kelly Holmes and five-time gold medallist rower Steve Redgrave interacted with school students on Thursday as part of International Inspiration programme, a legacy project of the 2012 Games.

They are in India as part of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s delegation and visited some of the Commonwealth Games venues and expressed support for the event.

Coe asked Indians to get behind the organisers of the October Commonwealth Games in Delhi and hoped the event, grappling with numerous pullouts and infrastructure issues, would prove a success.

“I am sure Delhi would be ready (in time). People should be excited and proud because this is a great opportunity to showcase the country.

“Some athletes are not coming but many household names began their career at Commonwealth Games and I am sure Delhi will be watching the stars of tomorrow.”

Kelly Holmes, who also heads Commonwealth Games England, said she was impressed with the Games Village and that she would like to see more public support for the event.

“Before the Athens Olympics — where I won my two golds — people said it would not be ready in time but it turned out to be a fantastic event. The people here and the media should rally behind the organisers.”

Coe’s comments could come as relief to the Delhi Games organisers who are racing against time to get infrastructure ready for the October 3-14 event.

The Delhi Games has already lost some sheen with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt skipping the event while some of the British cyclists, including Chris Hoy, also withdrew as the event clashes with the European Championship, an Olympic qualifier.

“Every sportsperson follows different preparation. It is unfortunate that some of the top cyclists cannot come but it is not that they don’t want to come.

“I’m sure there will be new stars and competition would not be any less,” Holmes said.

Redgrave, a five-time Olympic gold medallist rower, echoed her view.

“I have seen the Games Village, which is probably the best. There are lot of works to do but people should be positive about it and shoulder more responsibility, instead of fighting with each other.”

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