From the ringing of bells to using missiles to shoot down hijacked planes, the 2012 London Olympic Games are exactly 250 days away. The scheduled start of the sporting extravaganza is July 27, 2012 and it will run to Aug. 12, 2012. The much-anticipated event will see the Olympic Torch travel an estimated 8,000 miles, across 1,018 cities and villages, between May 18, 2012 and July 27, 2012.
As an indication of how important the event is, Londoners, in the last few weeks, have been working harder than before in gearing up for next summer. There has been a sudden boom in employment opportunities in the UK's hospitality industry. The rise in demand for skilled labor is the direct result of an increase in the number of hotel rooms being made available. With the expectations of the Lonely Planet award (London was voted the "Best City" for 2012), the city is expecting a record break from the tourism industry.
To further add to an enriching experience, the Olympic and Paralympic Games will feature participants from nine religious faiths - Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Baha'i, Jain, Buddhist and Zoroastrian - in a bid to celebrate the country's pro-multicultural stance.
On Sunday, the organisers said that Sikh athletes and spectators will be allowed to wear ceremonial daggers, according to a report in The Sunday Times. The report also said that Sikh athletes will be allowed to carry a sheathed "kirpan" (a dagger) underneath their clothing, in addition to the other articles of faith - "Kesh" (uncut hair), "Kanga" (wooden comb), "Kara" (metal bracelet) and "Kachera" (a specific style of cotton underwear).
"We want to make sure the Games are accessible to everyone. The "kirpan" will be presented at security but it will not be unsheathed," a London 2012 spokeswoman told The Sunday Times, "The policy has been set by our security team, who has liaised with stakeholders, and is part of our multi-faith approach."
The success of the event is close to the hearts of Buckingham Palace too. The Queen has reportedly approved the hiring out of St. James Palace, for up to £30,000 a day. The 500-year-protocol against such practices was broken only to welcome the 2012 Games.
However, the key concern of the event lies in the provision of security. Since the 1972 Olympics in Munich, were nine kidnapped Israeli athletes, four Palestinian captors and a German policeman were killed in a gun battle (and recent terror attacks in the UK), law enforcement and government officials in the country have been working hard to ensure safety. Despite claims that the U.S. is unhappy with the arrangements, the UK government is believed to have deployed 12,000 officers.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office have not taken any final decision on the number of security guards at some of the Olympic sites. All in all it is believed that the Home Office and Scotland Yard have robust security strategies in place.