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Where did I park that stadium? Olympic venue gets test run

Seb Coe and a healthy dollop of armed police officers were on hand for the trial day at London 2012 headquarters.

Seb Coe at the London Olympic Stadium.
Seb Coe at the London Olympic Stadium.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

JUST THREE MONTHS remain until the London Olympics get underway and the main venue is getting put through its paces for good measure.

Olympic Stadium played host to the Universities and Colleges Sports Championships on Saturday.

Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, was present to welcome members of the public along to, and to sing the praises of, the 80,000 capacity stadium.

Coe, who won athletics gold in the 1,500 metres at the 1980 and ’84 games, said he was ‘shaken’ to see the transformation of a derelict site to the hub that will stage many of the Olympic’s garland events. He commented:

If I think back eight years, I’m standing at the top of a tower block looking at the site with the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation teams, feeling a bit like a Costa Brava timeshare salesman, saying ‘You see that rotting pile of fridges, that’s where the stadium is going, and that’s where the velodrome is going.’

Saturday’s test opening is part of a seven-day test of the Olympic Park which will see more than 140,000 spectators watching 3,000 athletes taking part in sports such as hockey, wheelchair tennis, water polo, and athletics.

Action from the Men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase at the Olympic Stadium. (Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire)

There was a visible armed police presence on the day and security operations are increasing in the lead-in to the games, which begin on 27 July.

On Friday, HMS Ocean, a Royal Navy warship, travelled sections of the Thames river in preparation for its berthing at Greenwich, east London for the duration of the games.

Coe will be attending the test runs all day but did admit he might try to catch televised glimpses of this evening’s FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea, who he supports.

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