This month marks the third anniversary of the London Olympic Games, arguably the UK’s biggest ever sporting event, which started on 27th July 2012 and came to an end a fortnight later on 12th August.
It was certainly one of the nation’s most successful sporting events in modern times, peaking on Super Saturday on 4th August with gold medals for Team GB in six events, totalling 12 medals in all as several were team efforts. But it was the solo track and field athletes – Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford – who really united the nation, as all three took their titles inside the Olympic Stadium itself.
Three years on, London’s triumphant hosting of the Olympic Games has left a genuine legacy, along with plenty of lessons regarding maintaining high security without detracting from the enjoyment of major UK events. But you don’t have to be hosting an Olympic-scale event for perimeter security to be important – sports fencing is an easy way to ensure sports club and school security and doubles as a useful way to stop stray balls from rolling out into nearby roads.
For those who made the journey to the Olympic Park on Super Saturday, it wasn’t necessary to be inside the stadium itself, following the lottery of trying to get tickets for the athletics. Rather, it was simply to say “I was there”. Thanks to the different layers of security, it was possible for many more spectators to enter the park and witness history being made on the big screens outside the stadium.
When our time came, we did it right – on the track, in preparation for the games, and behind the scenes, while they were taking place, too. The list of gold-winning venues on Super Saturday alone is testament to the scale of that task, with Team GB standing atop the podium twice in the rowing at Eton Dorney, once in the Velodrome in the cycling, and three times in the Olympic Stadium in the long jump, men’s 10,000 m and the heptathlon. Across all of these locations, the Olympic Games were held with very few security problems – and two years later, Glasgow carried off the Commonwealth Games with equal aplomb.
While those sporting spectacles are now behind us, their impact lives on in the UK, proving its capabilities in hosting major sporting events with high-security precautions in place. Our next hosting honour on that kind of scale is likely to be the FIFA World Cup – although the lengthy bidding process means this is guaranteed to be some years into the future.
We are proud to have been involved in providing the temporary perimeter security for both the London Olympic Games and Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and we hope to see this as the beginning of much more high profile sporting events being held in the UK, starting with the Rugby World Cup starting in September.
London 2012 has left happy memories of a peaceful Olympic Games and friendly competition – and all eyes will be on Rio in 2016 to see if it can live up to the example set by the UK.