By Duncan Mackay

February 19 - Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has been asked to lead Rome's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the head of Italy's Games Committee (CONI) has revealed.

Montezemolo, who organised the successful FIFA World Cup in Italy in 1990, and has been chairman of Fiat, is expected to give a response at the start of next week and would work alongside Ernesto Albanaese, who has been nominated to be the bid's chief executive.

But Gianni Petrucci, the President of CONI, has already backed him to be a major asset for Rome if he accepts the offer.

"Luca di Montezemolo is the right man, one of the most famous Italians in the world," he said.

"With him our chances would increase.

"I'm in complete agreement with the Government and the Rome Council.

"I really hope the Ferrari president's reply is positive."

The 63-year-old from Bologna, who is worth an estimated $400 million, has been mulling entering politics but said he was committed to Ferrari at the Formula One team's season launch last month.

Montezemolo had been the original choice of Italy's Undersecretary of State Gianni Letta but then Nerio Alessandri, the founder and chief executive of London 2012 sponsor Technogym, was approached.

He turned down the role to concentrate on his own business and because of tensions between him and CONI and Montezemolo has again emerged as the leading contender.

Rome Mayor's Gianni Alemanno is keen to find a leader so that they can begin promoting the bid, although a decision is not due until September 7, 2013, at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires.

"No more postponements," he said.

"On Wednesday 23 February the Mayor will officially announce the name of the President."

The appointment of Albanaese, a former high-ranking official with CONI and now the managing director of Atahotels, as chief executive appears to be a formality after he was backed by all three stakeholders involved in the bid.

Italian officials are also considering establishing an advisory panel to oversee the bid and ensure transparency.


An artist's impression of Lee Valley White Water Centre at Games time. (Image by Populous)

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), Populous, Atkins and Drivers Jonas Deloitte issued new images today showing what Greenwich Park, Lord's Cricket Ground and the Lee Valley White Water Centre might look like at Games time.

The London 2012 Games are unique for their innovative approach to the use of temporary and existing venues both on and off the Olympic Park. To achieve this and deliver a consistent look and experience for all participants, each of the venues requires detailed ‘overlay’ design, engineering and construction to stage the Games.

From Horse Guards Parade for Beach Volleyball, to Greenwich Park for Equestrian and Modern Pentathlon, London is being used as the stunning backdrop for events hosted in entirely temporary venues.

In addition, venues such as ExCeL London, Lord's Cricket Ground and the Lee Valley White Water Centre will be transformed to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Games experience in existing venues.

In total, the London 2012 Games will use as much overlay as Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 put together. The extensive project will include:

250,000 temporary seats
165,000 square metres of tents
2,500 cabins
140 kilometres of fencing
250 kilometres of crowd barriers

James Bulley, LOCOG Director of Venues & Infrastructure, said: 'The London 2012 Games will deliver what no other Games has before in terms of the complexity and scale of the event overlay and temporary structures needed. Alongside the absolute commitment to meet the Games requirements, central to our plans have been legacy, sustainability, accessibility and safety.

'Our vision for the London 2012 venues is the integration with London's historic and iconic landmarks alongside our existing world class stadiums and sporting arenas. Our combined overlay team are world class and will deliver the technical excellence required to make this a spectacular Games.'



Submitted by Matt Cutler on Wed, 16/02/2011

The 17-day event schedule for the London 2012 Olympics has been revealed by organisers of the Games ahead of the start of ticket sales on March 15.

Sunday, August 5 promises to be the most exciting day of the Games, with the 100m athletics final, marathon and 400m final taking place. The first action will be women's football in Cardiff, Glasgow and Coventry on July 27, two days before the official opening of the Games.

Prepared over two years and co-ordinated with the International Olympic Committee and international federations, the 44-page schedule covers all 26 Games sports and more than 640 sessions and will be e-mailed to the 2.2 million people who registered with London 2012 for ticket information.

Tickets begin at £20, while the top tickets for the opening ceremony will cost £2,012. A total of 6.6 million tickets will be on sale for a six-week period from March 15. Tickets for the Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics, will go on sale on September 9.

“Families up and down the country can now plan their summer of 2012,” said London organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe. “The schedule showcases brilliant and exciting sport every single day, over 19 days, with 302 medals on offer.”



Ian Thorpe. Source: News LimitedThe 28-year-old five-time Olympic gold medallist, who has not swam competitively since the 2006 Commonwealth Games trials, told a packed press conference in Sydney that he wanted to be part of the London experience.

Thorpe, who actually made the decision to return to the pool last September and had been coached via text by Australian swimming head mentor Leigh Nugent, announced that he would be doing most of his training away from Australia, primarily in the United Arab Emirates and in Europe.

With the 2012 London Olympics less than 18 months away, he said he did not believe he had enough time to prepare for the 400 metres freestyle, his favourite event, and would instead train as a sprinter, something he said "may surprise a lot of people.'' He will be aiming at the 100m and 200 freestyle, with special emphasis on the 100m.

For more information about travel and ticket information for the Olympic Games in London 2012, please read this document and follow the link below.