Olympics preparations on the final lap – Coe

Sebastian Coe today launched the detailed schedule for the London 2012 Olympics and admitted that the arrival of the "greatest show on earth" now feels just around the corner.

The times, dates and prices to watch more than 600 separate sessions at the London 2012 Games will be emailed to the 2.2million people who have signed up for information ahead of tickets going on sale next month.

Double Olympic champion Coe, the London 2012 chairman, said that in his competitive days this was the moment that the Games became "real".

He said: "This is a really big moment, a huge moment. In this project, every day you get closer, every day it becomes more of a living creature.

"In my own experience as a competitor this is the point that it suddenly becomes very real. I remember this point in the build-up to Los Angeles, and suddenly realising I was going to be running seven races in nine days.

"We are now getting to the business end of the project and we know from the number of people who have signed up for ticket information that there is a real hunger from all parts of the country to be there.


"Some 2.2million people are going to be emailed tomorrow with the schedule so this is also the moment when you start asking the public to start planning their Games.

"We have given them the ticket prices and now the schedule so this is their opportunity to go away and figure out what they want to watch and when.

"This is the greatest show on earth and these will be the greatest tickets on earth."

The men's 100m final, to many people the highlight of the Olympics, will take place on the evening of Sunday, August 5.

Coe added: "We can already start to picture what might happen. There is a recognition now that the men's 100m is a pretty serious moment and we have planned that to be fairly early on the evening of that Sunday.

"The things people remember are head to heads and we could potentially have one of the best given that Tyson Gay is going to make this a really tough run for Usain Bolt."

The very first event will not actually take place in London but in Cardiff – a women's football match at the Millennium Stadium at 4pm on July 25, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The first realistic chance of a British gold is likely to be in the men's cycling road race, where Manxman Mark Cavendish should be favourite, on Saturday July 28 with the climax among the crowds in the Mall in central London.

Coe said: "I know all about having burdens of expectations put on you, but we do have high, high hopes in that event.

"This is a really big opportunity to get straight into the spirit of it. It is also an event that people will be able to follow across London, on the streets without a ticket.

"In terms of the first event taking place in Wales, it sits very well with the work we have done in the nations and regions that the very first event will take place in Cardiff. We have been clear that the football tournament should be UK-wide."

Meanwhile, Coe hopes Britain will push ahead with a bid for the 2017 world athletics championship after the future of the running track inside the Olympic Stadium was secured.

The decision by the Olympic Park Legacy Company to choose West Ham over Tottenham as future tenant means that the track will remain in place.

Coe, who is also vice-president of the international athletics federation the IAAF, said: "We have not staged a European Championships or World Championships and we should be able to do that now.

"We cannot take these things for granted but I know my colleagues on the IAAF are very keen that London is in a position to be able to punch its weight in track and field.

"Arguably it has been the most successful national sport in the last half-century and now we finally have a place to showcase that talent."

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