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London Olympics team have no time to lose - IOC

London should take heed of the mistakes made by previous host cities and lose no time in pressing ahead with preparations for the 2012 Olympics, the head of the IOC's co-ordination commission has told Games organisers.
Denis Oswald, the IOC member in charge of monitoring London's preparations for the 2012 Games, has been impressed with the speed of developments so far and has urged organisers not to take their foot off the accelerator.

Oswald was also the Athens co-ordination commission chairman and saw at first-hand the dangers of leaving things to the last minute.

Mr Oswald said: 'We have been part of previous Olympic Games and we have identified some failures, some mistakes made by previous organising committees.

'Clearly in Athens they waited too long until they really started to work. Athens needed much more work than a modern city such as Atlanta and they had less time to do it.

'London does have a number of existing facilities but many have to be built.

'There is a clear lesson - but which was understood by London from the beginning - that not a single day should be lost because seven years is not too long.'

Earlier this week the chairman and chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the organisation which will build the facilities, were appointed and a chief executive of the London Organising Committee for the Games should be announced before Christmas.

LOCOG chairman Lord Coe and vice-chairman Keith Mills will interview six candidates next week. If there is a single outstanding candidate they will take an immediate decision, otherwise they will select two or three for a final session involving other interviewers such as Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.

Coe emphasised plans were started the day after the announcement in Singapore that London had won the Games.

The Olympics Bill is due to go through the House of Commons ahead of schedule next week and then go to the House of Lords.

Coe said: 'This is the start of a Herculean seven-year project. We set off literally the day after the announcement and the vision for us is very clear - to stage the best Olympic and Paralympic Games that will inspire young people everywhere to take up sport.'

Meanwhile Jowell would not be drawn on a report by the Environment Agency that £3.5billion of work is needed on a London ' super sewer' otherwise the Olympic Park and athletes' village risked being swamped.

According to the report, two of London's major sewage pipes carrying up to 30 per cent of the capital's waste empty into the river Lee close to the site of the Olympic village and that a summer storm could make the drains overflow.

Jowell said: 'I discussed this with the chairman of the Environment Agency last week. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are awaiting a report and once that is available we will take an appropriate course of action.'

As part of the IOC visit, LOCOG have published a statement of objectives, including one to return a surplus on the operational budget of the Games.

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