Athletes are ready for the London Games. London, it would appear, is not.
Less than two weeks before the Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin, concerns have been raised over ongoing construction at the Olympic Park, which will play host to several high-profile events such as track and field and swimming in addition to providing lodging for the athletes.
"We were told the Olympic Park won't open until the 23rd," an unnamed athlete told the Sunday Telegraph. "This is a week later than what we expected. …It has come as a surprise because we had been told for some months now that the park was on time and ready, and it isn't."
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LOCOG, the London organizing committee, has promised the park's construction was on schedule despite recent security issues and inclement weather. But the embarrassments are piling up, with 3,500 soldiers drafted recently after private security company G4S admitted it failed to recruit enough staff. That mistake will likely cost G4S some of its $435 million contract with LOCOG.
"The army has been lobbying hard to make sure they are properly treated and properly compensated if they are to come over from Germany," a source in the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense told the Guardian. "These people will expect to be involved in security, not menial tasks."
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Reports have also surfaced that Heathrow Airport has waved through several people on terror watch lists, when those names should have triggered reports to counter terrorism forces. The blame is falling on the temporary workers brought in to help with the airport's Olympic travelers.
London is facing other problems on the roads, as well, with a 30-mile traffic backup on the day after the new Olympic lanes opened. Experts say London could be looking at a "perfect storm" of traffic disaster, as drivers tried to navigate the confusing lane that was intended to speed people along.
The security staff figures to be very busy during the 17-day Olympic stretch with much less urgent issues. American soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo recently admitted that "there's a lot of sex going on" in the Olympic Village, and she even snuck in celebrities to party with the athletes. American swimmer Ryan Lochte supported her claims.
Needless to say, the Olympic Park is in for an eventful summer. Provided it's finished on time.
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