A week before the Olympic cauldron is lit in London,Lord Sebastian Coe,the head of the London Games organising committee,is in an unenviable position. Despite years of planning and careful execution,the city is finding that its preparations arent quite watertight. Everything that can go wrong,has. The wet English summer has been wetter,sparking fears of waterlogging at a few venues. There were renewed security concerns following news of a shortage of personnel,which led to Britain calling back 3,500 troops from Afghanistan for the Games. Heathrow,one of the busiest airports in the world,is stretched to its very limit and beyond. There are project delays,traffic snarls,cab drivers strike and cost overruns. All this and more led the British tabloid The Sun to run a screaming headline,OOPS,creatively using the Olympic rings to spell out the word.
While the concerns are genuine,there is no reason to press the panic button just yet. Coe & Co. can,in fact,take heart from the fact that such situations arent unprecedented. In fact,even a cursory look at the history of Olympics and other major sporting events will show that these are almost routine.
And who knows it better than Indians,who have dealt with everything from leaking roofs to collapsing bridges en route to delivering what were almost universally hailed as a successful Commonwealth Games. There were scandals as well,but thats a different story. Therefore,while it is only natural for London to hold its collective breath,theres reason to hope and believe it will exhale in relief and pride once the flame is put out on August 12.