29 Aug 2007

Today marks exactly five years to go to the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. At this time London and the whole of the UK will be the centre of the world’s attention as the opening ceremony gets underway in Stratford, London.

Planning for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is integrated for the first time, providing a memorable sporting experience and legacy for athletes from all backgrounds.

A firm commitment to improving sports participation through the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has also been included for the first time.

Last year, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) approved the Paralympic venue plan and there have been productive discussions between the London 2012 Organising Committee, the International Olympic Committee and the IPC which resulted in an integrated version of the master schedule – a prime project management tool.

The London 2012 Organising Committee is the first Organising Committee to base the Olympic and Paralympic logos around the same core emblem. We have also recently relaunched the London 2012 website, with more Paralympic branding and content, setting new standards of visibility for the Paralympic Movement.

"The Paralympic Games is one of the world’s most exciting and inspiring sporting events for elite athletes, and we want to ensure that our Games in London are the best ever" said Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee. "We want to set new standards on and off the track, and be a catalyst for continued change for public attitudes towards disability. Our use of the same core emblem for both the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is part of this process".

The Paralympic Games will be a huge festival of sport with the whole of the world watching events including; Boccia, Goalball, Wheelchair Tennis and Wheelchair Rugby. The Games will leave both a lasting Paralympic sports legacy and a lasting physical legacy with the building of a new tennis centre in the north of the Olympic Park. London 2012 will provide a compact and inclusive Paralympic Games with high quality accessible venues, transport services and excellent Village facilities for athletes as well as for team and technical officials."

The bulk of London’s Paralympic competition venues are set in two zones - the Olympic Park Zone and the River Zone. The two zones are within 15 minutes of each other, leading to one of the most compact Games ever, minimising travel times and disruption for Paralympians.

Significant progress has been made this year on the development of the Olympic Park and the Athletes Village.

All Paralympic athletes will be housed within the Athletes’ Village set within the Olympic Park which has been designed to be fully accessible and will be built to the national ‘Life Times Home’ standard. The village is an example of the very best of inclusive design. Paralympic sailors and rowers will have accommodation close to their competition venues in Weymouth and Eton Dorney but will also have a bed available within the village if required.

Outside the two zones, road cycling will take place in Regent’s Park in central London, the new sport of adaptive rowing in Eton Dorney, which hosted the successful rowing world championships in August 2006, and sailing at Weymouth and Portland.

To celebrate five years to go to the start of the Paralympic Games, the London 2012 Roadshow is visiting Stoke Mandeville Stadium, home of British wheelchair sport on the final date of its successful summer tour. There will be a range of different sporting activities for young people to try out and there will be a wheelchair basketball match with international juniors. Leading Paralympians Ade Adepitan and Pete Norfolk will be attending to take part in the action as well as Wales' very own Tanni Grey Thompson.