Perfect timing is the goal of any athlete and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have certainly timed it well for British business.

In the challenging aftermath of the global financial crises, businesses of all shapes and sizes have welcomed the supply opportunities thrown up by an event often characterised as the biggest logistical exercise a country can undertake in peacetime. London 2012 related contracts worth more than £3.5 billion ($5.7 billion/€4 billion) have already been awarded to 950 different businesses.

While the timing was perfect, these opportunities were not served on a plate. The businesses that benefited prepared well and acted quickly.

The race, however, is not yet fully run. With one year to go until the start of the Games, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is still to procure more than £700 million ($1.1 billion/€793 million) worth of goods and services. Six hundred or so pre-Games training camps are also still to be arranged and these will be held across the country.

When show time finally arrives, VisitBritain estimates the potential additional spending by visitors resulting from the Games at over £2 billion (£3.3 billion/€2.3 billion), providing another welcome source of extra demand for local businesses.

These visitors will not just be tourists and sports fans. As the world's best athletes strive for gold in the Olympic Park, a diverse array of National Olympic Committees, sports federations, Heads of State, corporate sponsors, their guests and customers will descend on the UK capital, along with other venues as far apart as Glasgow and Weymouth.

No wonder that research recently commissioned by Deloitte found that 41 per cent of companies in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector were expecting an increase in demand for their services.

Substantial as they are, however, the benefits for British businesses of staging the Games will not solely be short-term in nature.

It has already provided a massive reputational boost for the UK construction industry as a result of the skill and efficiency with which contractors have set about the gargantuan task of creating the Olympic Park. In June this year, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg led a trade mission to Brazil to promote the skills and track record of companies helping to stage the Games, including a significant focus on the construction and engineering contractors.

The Games have also given a clear push forward to Britain's already formidable events and marketing industry. It has opened doors in fast-developing economies such as Russia and Brazil, which will stage, respectively, the Sochi 2014 Winter Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

As the official professional services provider to London 2012, Deloitte is also using the Olympic and Paralympic Games to drive growth.

The Olympic project has given us an opportunity to demonstrate our expertise through a large-scale event of such universal appeal. For example, Drivers Jonas Deloitte will be project managing the construction of both the beach volleyball facility at Horse Guards Parade and the equestrian venue at Greenwich Park. This is a challenging assignment, since it involves creating temporary Olympic Games-calibre venues from scratch on sensitive heritage sites and reinstating those sites afterwards.

The Games also offer an effective tool for inspiring existing Deloitte employees and attracting the highest-possible calibre of job applicants. The value of the Olympic Games has already been demonstrated through a major impact on recruitment and retention. Many of our people have had the opportunity to work with LOCOG and other Olympic bodies either through secondments or on advisory projects. These roles have been highly sought-after with around 10 per cent of the entire firm having applied for a LOCOG secondment role whilst our sponsorship is often cited as a reason to join the firm in job interviews.

While the Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremonies will rightly celebrate the achievements of the athletes, it should also provide an opportunity to celebrate the growth that London 2012 has delivered.

Heather Hancock is lead London 2012 partner at Deloitte.


By: Tom Degun

July 25 - London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe claimed today the success of the overseas legacy programme - International Inspiration, which has involved top athletes like Denise Lewis - has shown that they have kept the promise it made to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when it was awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Singapore more than six years ago.

With just over a year to go until the start of the Games, it was announced that the programme has delivered on its promise a year earlier than planned as International Inspiration has already achieved its vision of reaching 12 million children in 20 countries.

Coe made the promise to the IOC that if the city was awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Organising Committee would reach out to young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport.

"I think it is really important that when you make commitments to the international leadership of sport that throughout the delivery of the project that you are seen to be meeting those commitments and fulfilling that vision," Coe told insidethegames.

"I think International Inspiration illustrates that we have delivered on what we promised to the IOC in Singapore six years and 19 days ago as we won the Games on the back of a series of commitments.

"I would like to thank the delivery partners of International Inspiration who have helped us achieve our vision, particularly the IOC, and I am confident this programme will be adopted future Olympic and Paralympic host cities."

International Inspiration is delivered as a partnership between UK Sport, UNICEF and the British Council while the programme works with local communities, teachers, coaches and governments to improve children's lives and give them the chance to take part in sport and play.

It is helping change children and young people's lives in many different ways, Coe claimed.

In Bangladesh, where thousands of children drown each year, International Inspiration is working with the Bangladesh Swimming Federation to teach swimming survival techniques to over 80,000 non-swimmers.

Working in seven flood-prone priority districts, International Inspiration has so far trained 784 teenage swimming instructors to teach children how to swim and to raise awareness about the importance of survival swimming.

Noor, an 18-year-old involved with the International Inspiration programme in Bangladesh and who saved a child from drowning by performing CPR which she learnt during her training, joined Coe for the announcement.

"Before being involved with International Inspiration, I wasn't very confident and I didn't feel like I would have any opportunities in life," she said.

"Now, thanks to International Inspiration, I am using the skills and experience I have learnt to further my education and I am much more respected in my community, which is something very important for women in Bangladesh."

School partnerships are also an integral part of International Inspiration, providing an opportunity for teachers, children and young people to develop and share innovative approaches to PE, sport and play in the classroom and their local community - as well as learning about and understanding each other's cultures, experiences and international development issues.

More than 200 schools in the UK currently linked to a school overseas through International Inspiration.

"International Inspiration has used the power of sport to change the lives and futures of 12 million children worldwide," said Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics

"It is a fantastic achievement and one of the greatest, and most long-term, legacies of London 2012."

The London 2012 programme will continue in some countries until 2014.


By: Duncan Mackay

July 24 - Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tonight officially confirmed that Istanbul will bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, making the

announcement before a cheering crowd of more than 20,000 during a speech to open the European Youth Olympic Festival at the H. Avin Aker Stadium in Trabzon.

Erdogan was accompanied by Dr Ugur Erdener, Turkey's International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, to the Opening Ceremony to an event which has attracted

more than 3,300 entries from 49 countries.

Among the dignitaries attending was Ireland's Patrick Hickey, the President of the European Olympic Committee and an influe tial member of the IOC.

A moment's slence was also held for the victims of the tragedy in Norway.

The Norwegian athletes taking part in the ceremony wore black armbands.

The British flag was carried by Tonbridge's Jemima Yeats-Brown, a judo player.

"It was a big surprise to be selected as flag bearer because there were lots of other athletes who were just as deserving," she said.

"They chose me and it is really special."

After the march of the athletes the crowd were treated to a traditional show of Turkish dancing before a spectacular firework display.

The announcement that Istanbul is to bid was made to coincide with the 88th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 that established the

sovereignty of the new Republic of Turkey as the successor state of the defunct Ottoman Empire.

The city previously mounted four consecutive failed bids, for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

But, having narrowly failed to win its campaign to host the 2016 European Football Championships, there is a feeling that this bid will be much stronger.

Istanbul will face Madrid, Rome and Tokyo and, possibly, Doha.

"These Games will directly affect Istanbul's candidancy," said Erdogan.

"Turkey is strong enough to stage this fantastic event."

More details about the bid are expected to be released in the next few days.

The IOC is due to choose the host city at its Session in Buenos Aries on September 7, 2013.


By: Duncan Mackay

July 23 - Sebastian Coe has dropped his biggest hint yet that he plans to challenge for the top job in athletics after he finishes organising the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Britain's double Olympic 1500 metres has long been tipped to replace Lamine Diack as the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) when the Senegalese steps down.

"My focus post-2012 will be track and field, absolutely," Coe told Reuters in an interview.

"There's no question about that.

"I am standing [again] for the [IAAF] vice-presidency [at the World Championships] in Daegu and I am very clear that track and field is the reason I will stay in sport.

"There aren't that many other reasons.

"That will be my primary focus after 2012."

A sign of Coe's commitment was, that despite his busy schedule at London 2012, he is this weekend attending the European Junior Championships in Tallin, the Estonian capital, watching the stars of tomorrow.

Diack had originally claimed that he would step down this year following the completition of his latest four-year term as IAAF President but subsequently changed his mind and will stand again in Daegu next month.

He will be unopposed after Coe and another potential challenger, Ukraine's former 1988 Olympic pole vault champion Sergey Bubka (pictured right with Coe), stepped back from putting themselves forward.

Coe is one of six candidates chasing four vice-president positions in Daegu, where he will be up against Bubka, Qatar's Dahlan Al-Hamad, America's Robert Hersh, Canada's Abby Hoffman and Kenya's Isaiah Kiplagat.

It is widely assumed that the candidate who polls the most votes will be appointed as the senior vice-president which will put them in the best position to take over from Diack if he fails to complete his full four-year term or when he finally steps down.

Coe, 54, though, insists that he has made no decision about whether to stand for President in the 2015 at the IAAF Congress in Beijing, even though the position comes with guaranteed membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"No, of course not," said Coe when asked by Reuters whether he would stand.

"But I have the support of the President to stand for the vice-presidency.

"He was very generous in saying four years ago that 'your responsibility to my sport is to deliver a great athletics championship in London and I want you to focus on that and then we will talk about the future'."

But there is no doubt that Coe will be just as focussed on achieving his ambitions in the boardroom as he was on the track, where he also won an Olympic silver and bronze medals and set 12 world records.

"I came out of Moscow [1980] and I was immediately thinking Los Angeles [1984]

"I came out of Beijing [2008] and I'm thinking London in four years' time.

"I do have that competitors' instinct that a year out, where was I mentally and physically a year out from the Games as a competitor?

"The art is to recognise that you have game plans as a competitor, you never go into a race without a game plan."


By: Tom Degun

July 18 - Urvasi Naidoo, the chief executive of the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA), has claimed that her sport is still hopeful of inclusion at the Olympic Games in the long term future despite missing out on a place at the 2020 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed on a shortlist of eight sports to be considered for inclusion in 2020 during their Session in Durban earlier this month, with baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu chosen.

Netball - along with dance, bowling and surf - was considered for the 2020 Olympic programme by the IOC but failed to make it onto the shortlist - a decision that came as somewhat of a surprise given the stature of netball compared with roller sports and sports climbing - but Naidoo remains upbeat despite the blow.

"It is a long term aspiration for netball to be in the Olympics and we will continue to work with the IOC to achieve that," Naidoo told insidethegames.

"We have annual meetings with the Sports Department of the IOC and we are very pleased with netball's progress to date.

"We are encouraged that netball made the long list and we will continue to work harder over the next five years to achieve our goal of seeing netball in the Olympics in the future."

Netball has been on the sports programme at the Commonwealth Games since 1998 and has featured at every addition of the competition since, proving highly popular with the spectators.

Naidoo believes this growing popularity will help the sport achieve its ultimate goal of featuring at the Olympic Games.

"We continue to grow and expand globally with new member countries joining us this month, including Austria, Ethiopia, Brunei and Nepal," she said.

"We will hold an inaugural FISU University Championship in Netball next year.

"Our recent World Championships in Singapore was a huge success and is a showcase for how great netball can be in terms of broadcast, sponsorship and ticketing."

The World Championships at the 12,000 capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium were won by Australia, who claimed their tenth world title.

New Zealand picked up the silver medal while England claimed bronze.