LONDON (Reuters) - London mayor Boris Johnson enjoyed a gentle dig at the French on Thursday before unveiling a set of giant Olympic rings at the London railway station that will welcome continental visitors to next year’s Games.
“How appropriate that the first great symbol is going to be here in St. Pancras International,” he beamed, standing side by side with London 2012 Olympic Committee (LOCOG) chairman Sebastian Coe.
“So that the first thing anyone sees when they arrive on the Eurostar is a gentle and tactful reminder to our French friends that London won the right to host the Games in 2012. And every day I am more glad than ever that we did.”
Paris lost out to London for the right to stage the Olympics.
The familiar interlinked blue, yellow, black, green and red rings, measuring 20 meters wide by nine meters high, are the first to be erected in the capital with 512 days remaining before the Games start.
They will be suspended from the train shed roof at St. Pancras until after the Games end in August next year.
“This is a big moment. I think it’s a big moment in any city when they unveil for the very first time publicly the rings,” Coe told Reuters.
“It’s a very big moment personally because this is seven years I’ve been involved in this project and I’ve loved every day of it.
“But actually when you see the rings go up at a port of entry, which is what we are talking about here, that’s a fantastic moment,” added the 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1,500 meters champion.
St. Pancras station will be a key transport hub with high speed ‘Javelin’ trains taking 25,000 visitors an hour to and from the Olympic Park some seven minutes to the east at Stratford.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris