By Tom Degun

London 2012 have received 1.8 million requests for tickets for the Olympic men's 100 metres final which is expected to see Jamaican superstar and reigning Olympic champion Usain Bolt face off against American rival Tyson Gay.

The 1.8 million fans aiming to attend the blockbuster session at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on August 5 next year are competing for just 40,000 seats as half of the 80,000 capacity venue is blocked for sponsors, the media and VIPs, including International Olympic Committee (IOC) members.

Applicants will find out by 24 June whether they have got any of the 6.6 million Olympics tickets available but what not be informed of what tickets they have received despite having the money taken from their account beforehand.

The price of Olympics tickets ranges from £20 ($33) to £725 ($1,179) for the showpiece 100 metres final and reach up to £2,012 ($3,270) for the opening ceremony on July 27 with people likely to check their bank accounts for a clue to what tickets they have been allocated.

London 2012 Organisers are looking to make £500 million ($813 million) from ticket sales as part of bid to raise £2 billion ($3.2 billion) through private means with a total of 20 million ticket applications having been made.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: "It is really important as 25 per cent of everything that you see out there in terms of the organisation of these Games is our ability to nail our revenues from tickets."

Coe has also defended the method for selling Olympics tickets with money taken from account before individuals know what event they will be attending.

He said: "It was very clear from us, very early on that we would be taking the money out and we would then let people know what they got.

"It is easier to do that all at the same time rather than in dribs and drabs.

"This was always the way."

Such was the level of demand in the recent ballot for tickets that the Olympic Stadium could have been sold out at least 20 times over and millions of are set to be left disappointed with other big events, such as the diving events at the Aquatics Centre featuring British star Tom Daley, nearly as oversubscribed as the 100m final.

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Story by Tom Degun

Wenlock (left) and Mandeville (right) the two London 2012 Mascots.Wenlock and Mandeville outside the London 2012 shopMay 19 - London 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock and Paralympic mascot Mandeville took time out of their busy schedule to today celebrate their first birthday.

The mascots enjoyed a special birthday party at John Lewis Oxford Street. The party was also attended by London 2012 table tennis hopeful Hannah Hicks and children from Kilburn Park Foundation School, who are part of the Get Set network, the official London 2012 education programme.

"It's our birthday today!" said Wenlock on his Facebook page.

"We're a whole year old, so exciting."

Mandeville added on his Facebook page: "We're one today!"

"Can hardly believe it!

"Wenlock might get a slice of the cake... if very lucky!"

The dynamic duo have had a busy year on their journeys across the UK, meeting young people and inspiring them to choose sport as they head towards the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The mascots have attended more than 200 events across the UK in the past year, many at schools in the London 2012 education programme 'Get Set', taking part in schools sports days and special Olympic and Paralympic related assemblies.

"Our mascots were designed for kids and we're delighted that they love Wenlock and Mandeville and are interacting with them in so many ways," said London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

"The London 2012 mascots are on a journey across the UK inspiring young people to choose sport and engage with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a fun and exciting way."

Wenlock and Mandeville have been popular features at London 2012 sponsor events such as Lloyds TSB National Sport Week, the BT Paralympic World Cup and through Deloitte's school programme.

They also recently celebrated the Royal Wedding by dressing up as a Beefeater and Queen's Guard in a special mascot hunt around London.

In addition, the pair have proved an online hit with their first two mascot animated films, based on a story by children's author Michael Morpurgo, having been viewed over a million times on the mascot website and

Over 20,000 people follow the mascots via Facebook and Twitter and fans of Wenlock and Mandeville are also engaging with digital versions of the mascots with new innovative and interactive computer games.

A mascot customiser that allows you to create your own versions of Wenlock and Mandeville with different clothes and sports equipment has proved particularly popular and nearly 10,000 versions have been customised for the online gallery since the launch in March.

The colourful characters are also popular on the high street, helping to contribute to the £80 million to be raised from merchandise and licensing to fund the staging of the Games.

The mascots are available as soft toys, stationery, clothing, key rings, pin badges, posters, collectable figurines, decorative ornaments, bags, mugs, towels and bedding from the online shop at, the London 2012 Shops at St Pancras International, Paddington Station, Heathrow Terminal 5 and official retailers including John Lewis, Next and Sainsbury's.

More mascot products will be released between now and Games time, when there could be up to 10,000 London 2012 products available.

The launch of the mascots in May last year saw the Get Set website record a new traffic record and more than 50,000 teachers and students have viewed the Get Set website pages featuring the mascots since they launched.

More than 2,500 schools from every nation and region in the UK entered a recent art and design competition, Make Your Mascot, which will see Wenlock and Mandeville visit the sports days of winning schools throughout this summer.

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By Tom Degun at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London

London 2012 today revealed the first details of the route of 70-day, 8,000-mile Torch Relay of Britain ahead of next year's Olympics, starting at the southern tip of the country at Land's End in Cornwall on May 19, 2012.

London 2012 officials announced 74 locations where 8,000 torchbearers will carry the flame after it arrives from Greece - where it will be lit on Mount Olympus, the ancient birthplace of the Games - in exactly a year's time on May 18, 2012.

The relay, which is being presented by London 2012 Tier One partner Lloyds TSB and Olympic worldwide sponsors Coca-Cola and Samsung, will start the following morning at Land's End, chosen ahead of Dover, where the Torch arrived the last time London hosted the Games in 1948.

The torch will pass through England's major cities, the capitals of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as remote outposts including the Isle of Lewis.

Dublin is also set to be officially confirmed as a stop on the Relay on June 7 when it is set to travel from Belfast to the Irish capital, where it will spend a day, before departing for Glasgow, its first stop in Scotland, where it will spend eight days.

The flame will spend the week in London - arriving in Waltham Forest on July 21 - before it is used to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium on Friday, July 27, 2012.

it is estimated that 95 per cent of the population will be within a one hour journey time of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

"The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across every Nation and Region of the UK and showcase the very best of who we are and where we live," said Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012.

"The first locations on the route confirmed today give a flavour of the reach the Olympic Torch Relay will have around the UK and how extensive the opportunity for starting to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games will be."

London 2012 worked for more than a year with representatives from a number of sectors in each Nation and Region to devise this first phase of the route.

In addition to the first 74 locations confirmed on the route today, many other cities, towns, villages and places of outstanding natural beauty, sports venues and community hubs will be announced in a second, more detailed route announcement later this year that will confirm the many other places the Olympic Flame will visit each day.

The Olympic Flame will travel for approximately 12 hours each day, concluding on 66 of the 70 days with an early evening celebration event that, London 2012 officials claim, will enable thousands of people each evening to enjoy a variety of entertainment and shows staged by them and the three Presenting Partners with the support of the host Local Authority.

Each celebration event will differ with locally programmed content on the stage which will add to the celebratory atmosphere.

Many thousands more people are expected to celebrate along the route each day.

"The Olympic Torch Relay brings London 2012 to the doorsteps of the UK giving everybody the chance to celebrate the London Games," said Hugh Robertson, the Sport and Olympics Minister.

"It's a magnificent showcase for the country and a chance to mark the achievements of inspirational people in our communities."

Coe is due to announce at a press conference later today how to apply to become one of the 8,000 people chosen to carry the Torch.

The full list of venues and dates is, in date order, as follows:


19 May Land's End
19 May Plymouth
20 May Exeter
21 May Taunton
22 May Bristol
23 May Cheltenham
24 May Worcester
25 May Cardiff
26 May Swansea
27 May Aberystwyth
28 May Bangor
29 May Chester
30 May Stoke-on-Trent
31 May Bolton


01 June Liverpool
02 June Isle of Man (island visit)
03 June Portrush
04 June Derry~Londonderry
05 June Newry
06 June Belfast
08 June Glasgow
09 June Inverness
10 June Orkney (island visit)
10 June Shetland (island visit)
11 June Isle of Lewis (island visit)
11 June Aberdeen
12 June Dundee
13 June Edinburgh
14 June Alnwick
15 June Newcastle
16 June Durham
17 June Middlesbrough
18 June Hull
19 June York
20 June Carlisle
21 June Bowness-on-Windermere
22 June Blackpool
23 June Manchester
24 June Leeds
25 June Sheffield
26 June Cleethorpes
27 June Lincoln
28 June Nottingham
29 June Derby
30 June Birmingham

01 July Coventry
02 July Leicester
03 July Peterborough
04 July Norwich
05 July Ipswich
06 July Chelmsford
07 July Cambridge
08 July Luton
09 July Oxford
10 July Reading
11 July Salisbury
12 July Weymouth & Portland
13 July Bournemouth
14 July Southampton
15 July Guernsey (island visit)
15 July Jersey (island visit)
15 July Portsmouth
16 July Brighton & Hove
17 July Hastings
18 July Dover
19 July Maidstone
20 July Guildford
21 July Waltham Forest, London
22 July Bexley, London
23 July Wandsworth, London
24 July Ealing, London
25 July Haringey, London
26 July Westminster, London

By Tom Degun at the Royal Opera House in London

Usain Bolt on the wall in the Olympic Museum. Photo: www.insidethegames.bizBP, the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Games, have today announced that they will be working with The Olympic Museum in Lausanne to create a ground-breaking free to view exhibition here at the Royal Opera House during the Games.

The exhibition, which will be titled "The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games," will be open to the public at the Royal Opera House for the duration of the 2012 Olympic Games next summer from July 27 to August 12, 2012.

It will include unique artefacts, graphics, film and audio loaned from The Olympic Museum being shown in London for the first time ever and BP believe the exhibition will be a highlight of the London 2012 Festival which is the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

"BP is a longstanding supporter of arts and culture in the UK, partnering with leading institutions for over 30 years," said Peter Mather, BP's Regional vice- president for Europe and head of country UK.

"As an Official Partner of the London 2012 Games and a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, it is fitting for BP to build upon our strong relationship with the Royal Opera House to bring this new exhibition to London for the Games.

"Behind the great spectacle of the Olympic Games lie powerful human stories.

"The purpose of this exhibition is to inspire visitors by highlighting some of the remarkable athletes and tales from the rich history of the Games.

"It will be a free, fun and popular destination and we are delighted to be collaborating with The Olympic Museum to put on a once in a lifetime experience for visitors from all over the world at the London 2012 Olympic Games next year."

Highlights of the exhibition include a display of all the Olympic Medals since the first Modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 as well as all the Olympic Torches since the Berlin 1936 Games which was the first Olympic Games where they features.

There will also be a "Hall of Champions" featuring the stories and inspirational achievements of great Olympians from the Modern Games, including triple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt, while visitors will be taken on a journey from ancient Greece, the original home of the Olympic Games, through the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the man behind the revival of the Games many centuries later.

The experience will continue with the stories of some of the iconic Olympic athletes and moments of the last hundred years of Olympic history and is being curated by The Olympic Museum in partnership with leading exhibition designers Metaphor.

"Arts and culture have an important role to play alongside the magnificent sporting competition next summer," said Tony Hall, chairman of the Cultural Olympiad Board and chief executive of the Royal Opera House.

"The London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, is already shaping up to be one of the finest of any Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Royal Opera House is delighted to be playing its part.

"We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of new visitors to the Royal Opera House in 2012."

Jonathan Edwards at Bp in the Olympic Museum. Photo: www.insidethegames.comAmong those attending the event were Jonathan Edwards, the 2000 Olympic triple jump champion and world record holder, who is a member of the London 2012 Board.

Francis Gabet, director of The Olympic Museum," said: "Exhibits from The Olympic Museum have been displayed in different Olympic host cities before, but this exhibition is particularly exciting; it is much more ambitious and will truly bring the Olympic spirit to London."

"By hosting this exhibition in one of the world's leading arts and culture institutions we hope that our collaboration for London 2012 will set a new benchmark for future Olympic host cities."

Deborah Bull, creative director of the Royal Opera House, added: "We are delighted to be working with The Olympic Museum and BP to create this unique Olympic experience.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games are an example of the best of human spirit and physical endeavour.

"The Games in our city offer a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the inspirational talent of the world's greatest athletes, reminding us – like the artists who more usually perform on our stages – of the extraordinary achievements of which human beings are capable."

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By Duncan Mackay

Peter Vidmar. Photo: www.zimbio.comPeter Vidmar tonight resigned as Chef de Mission of the United States team for next year's Olympics in London only a week after being appointed following a series of damaging allegations over his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Vidmar's decision to step down follows reports in the Chicago Tribune that he participated in two anti-gay marriage demonstrations and donated $2,000 (£1,222) for the successful 2008 Proposition 8ballot initiative in California defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The proposition overturned a California Supreme Court ruling that permitted same-sex marriage.

Vidmar, who won two gymnastics gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, claimed his opposition to same-sex marriage comes from his religious beliefs as a Mormon.

"The Church wanted to take a stand on the issue, and they invited their members to take a stand," he told the Chicago Tribune.

"I chose to be involved."

Among those to criticise Vidmar's decision to support the opposition to same-sex marriage was Aimee Mullins, the Chef de Mission of the US Paralympic team for London 2012, who said she was "concerned and deeply saddened" about his past actions.

"The Olympic Movement is about promoting equity for all," she said.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) claimed that they were unaware of Vidmar's views before they appointed him and initially supported his right to express his views on the controversial issue.

But they have now accepted his resignation.

"Peter is respected the world-over for his dedication and commitment to the Olympic movement and is rightly considered one of America's great Olympic champions," said USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.

"I believe Peter would have served our athletes well, but given the nature of this issue, I certainly respect his decision to resign.

"As we look toward London 2012 and the selection of Peter's replacement, we'll do so with the sole intent of showcasing America's best and brightest stars and the inspirational story that each member of our Olympic team has to share."

Vidmar said he had decided to step down because he did not want to distract the athletes preparations in the build-up to London 2012.

"I have dedicated my life to the Olympic Movement and the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect," he said.

"I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic Movement in the United States.

"I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the US Olympic family. I hope that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories will rightly take centre stage."

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