Red Arrows to mark start of the Olympics

A FLYPAST over Edinburgh by the Red Arrows will mark the official start of the London Olympics in 100 days time, organisers have announced.

Nine aircraft from the RAF aerobatic display team will fly over the Scottish capital in a V-shaped “Big Battle” formation on Friday 27 July, just hours before the opening ceremony. The Red Arrows will also visit Belfast, Cardiff and London in the final countdown to the event.

Glasgow will be among five cities hosting the first Olympic events on 25 July, with the start of the men’s and women’s football. The countries playing at Hampden stadium will be known next Tuesday when the draw is made.

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Olympics chiefs hope this will spark a rush for tickets for the only sporting events not yet sold out. They admitted some 1.5 million of more than two million football tickets have yet to be snapped up.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games also unveiled the motto for the games yesterday – “Inspire a generation”.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: “It is everything we have been saying since we have started this extraordinary journey, not just since we got across the – finish line in Singapore.

“It is the heartbeat, the very DNA of this organisation and a rallying cry for the athletes to come to the UK to perform at their very best and inspire the world. Expectations are high, and we won’t disappoint.”

London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said organisers would be “paranoid” about ensuring complacency did not creep in over finishing work on time and within budget.

He said: “There is absolutely no danger of us not looking at every risk that would prevent us delivering these Games in the effective and spectacular way we have promised.”

However, the cost of the Games and whether the facilities will be ready in time are still a concern, according to an Index poll by ComRes for ITV News. Of the 2,028 adults interviewed online, just 23 per cent thought London 2012 will benefit the taxpayer more than it is costing, although this is up by 3 percentage points on January.

In addition, 55 per cent did not think the whole of the UK would benefit.