Dress rehearsal organised to test operations for the Olympic Torch Relay
Today (21st February 2012) the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) confirms that a full dress rehearsal to test the operations around the Olympic Torch Relay – presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung - will take place on the Leicester to Peterborough stretch of the Relay route on Friday 20 April 2012. The primary objective is to test the convoy, crew and communications procedures in advance of the 70-day Relay, rather than encourage people to line the streets as the convoy passes through communities.
The Leicester to Peterborough stretch has been selected as it represents a typical but technically challenging day on the Relay. The 80-mile route takes in both rural and urban locations and allows every element of the Relay to be tested including convoy splits – when a Torchbearer splits from the convoy to take in a route the convoy cannot access – and alternate modes of transport, including a train and a rescue boat.
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said:
`The dress rehearsal will give us the chance to test many of our operations around the Olympic Torch Relay. Test events are a vital part of our operations in preparing for all of the events that are part of the 2012 Games. We are also looking forward to working with the 100 inspirational people who will play an essential role in helping us to test how we will operate during the Relay.
‘The Olympic Torch Relay will be the UK’s moment to shine. We are looking forward to showcasing the historical and social diversity of the UK and celebrating the achievements of the Torchbearers when the Relay starts its journey in May.’
The day starts in Leicester and finishes in Peterborough. The test convoy will travel through Quorn, Loughborough, Hoton, Wymeswold, Asfordby, Melton Mowbray, Langham, Oakham, Uppingham and Stamford. Details of the exact vehicle numbers and roads to be taken will be released by LOCOG and the host local authorities in March to ensure the host communities have plenty of time to plan and make arrangements for the day.
Procedures to be tested on the day will include timings, convoy movement, radio communications, the collection and drop off of Torchbearers, route markings, traffic management and security operations. The rehearsal is the culmination of a series of operational relay tests which have already taken place. These have focused on a range of areas including torch performance, hotel operations and the vehicle convoy.
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said:
‘The Olympic Torch Relay will give towns across the whole country their moment in the spotlight and celebrate the torch bearers who contribute so positively to their local communities. This dress rehearsal will help ensure that the torch relay goes smoothly.’
The dress rehearsal will involve participants from the Royal College of the Blind, Loughborough College and Leicester, De Montfort, Loughborough and Northampton universities who will carry unlit Torches. The Torches carried on the day will not be lit as the Olympic Flame is not lit until 10 May 2012. As with the Relay itself, each participant will have an inspirational story and will have their nomination supported by their place of study. Podium, the Further and Higher Education Unit for the 2012 Games, is working with the above mentioned institutions to find students who inspire others and make a difference to their school or community. Local authorities from the rehearsal route will also nominate participants.
James Williams, Director, Olympic Torch Relay, The Coca-Cola Company, said:
‘The Olympic Torch Relay will be amazing and we're really looking forward to putting our plans to the test at the dress rehearsal. We can't wait for May when the Relay begins and we can start celebrating the inspirational Coca-Cola Future Flames who have been chosen to be Olympic Torchbearers. We're also excited to be bringing music and celebration to every corner of the UK and encouraging everyone to move to the beat of London 2012 wherever they live.’
Sally Hancock, Director, 2012 Partnership and Group Sponsorship at Lloyds Banking Group, said:
‘As the National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lloyds TSB is bringing the Olympic Flame closer to our customers and communities. For Lloyds TSB, the Relay binds all of our programmes together in 2012; allowing us to continue to take the inspiration and excitement of the Games to the heart of communities across the U.K. Our Torchbearers will be representing their local communities, Local Heroes will be carrying the Flame for their sport and young athletes all over the UK; schools will be lining the route and helping us celebrate along the way, and with branches on nearly every high street we’re inviting our customers and the local community to celebrate with us as the Torch passes their front doors. The test event brings us one step closer to the start of the Relay and the moment when every corner of Britain will start to feel the excitement of London 2012.’
Mr Sunny Hwang, Vice President & Head of Global Sports Marketing, Samsung Electronics, said:
‘Samsung, as a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, supports the most participative and successful Olympic Torch Relay to make London 2012 ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games’ through our wireless technologies.'
‘Samsung believes London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will bring memorable and inspirational moments to everyone in the UK and around the world. We will play a key role in delivering the excitement of the Olympic Torch Relay and make our every effort to ensure seamless operation through a complete full dress rehearsal.’
Gareth Smith, Head of Podium, said:
‘Colleges and Universities have made an unparalleled contribution towards the London 2012 Games and we are delighted that students will be integrally involved in supporting the dress rehearsal for the Olympic Torch Relay. The Further and Higher Education sectors have already played a vital role in hosting pre-Games training camps, supplying volunteers and undertaking cutting edge research.’
The Olympic Torch Relay will start at Land’s End, Cornwall on the morning of 19 May 2012. On leaving Land’s End, the Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine as the Olympic Flame comes to a place near them.