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British weather posing Olympics challenge, admits Coe

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 18, 2012 -- Updated 0700 GMT (1500 HKT)
The UK has spent seven years preparing for the Olympics, with billions spent on new stadiums, transport upgrades and security measures, but organizers are powerless to prevent the weather disrupting the festivities. The UK has spent seven years preparing for the Olympics, with billions spent on new stadiums, transport upgrades and security measures, but organizers are powerless to prevent the weather disrupting the festivities.
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  • London's Olympic chairman says weather proving a challenge for Games organizers
  • Sebastian Coe says months of wet weather in the UK have posed problems
  • Coe says there is some flexibility in schedule to move events if required

(CNN) -- It is the dismal weather Olympics organizers and spectators feared as Great Britain endures some of its wettest summer months for over a hundred years.

And according to London's 2012 chairman, weeks of torrential rain has forced his team to make contingency plans if the sporting spectacle becomes a washout.

In the first of what will be daily Olympic media briefings, Sebastian Coe said the bleak conditions were posing a huge problem for London.

With some forecasters predicting the wet weather may be about to lift prior to the Games opening on July 27, Coe said alternative arrangements were in place if the deluge continued.

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"I spent most of Sunday in the Olympic stadium watching a goodly chunk of our 15,000 volunteer cast heroically rehearsing in the rain," he told the assembled media.

"I've joked in the past about the challenge of putting a roof across the whole country but this is actually proving quite a challenge to us.

"We've got waterlogged sites, we've got resurfacing that's taking place in some of our areas, particularly some of our more sensitive rural sites."

London has spent seven years planning to hold the Games and a spokesman from the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) told CNN last week that every eventuality had been accounted for.

According to the UK's national weather forecaster, the Met Office, June was the wettest since records began in 1910, and that July had continued in similar fashion.

But though there is hope of better weather ahead Coe confirmed there was enough maneuverability in the Olympic schedule to be able to rearrange events if they are blighted by wet conditions.

"We've got the contingency of extra days available to us in rowing and in equestrian sports, as a last resort of course," Coe added. "We've got an alternate sailing course available to us at Weymouth and of course we've got the famous roof at Wimbledon."

As athletes continue to arrive in London, Coe said he was satisfied with the early stages of the Olympic operation, despite American hurdler Kerron Clement complaining that his bus got lost on the way to the Olympic village.

"But for a missed turning and a couple of Tweets, we're in pretty good shape," Coe joked.

"I don't think we should get out of proportion some of these issues. We had a tweet yesterday talking about a four-hour delay, it was actually two-and-a-half. We had a driver that missed a turnoff.

Athletes fret on lost bus as wave of Olympic arrivals begins

"Out of 100 coach journeys that's likely to happen. The majority of athletes got in in good shape and on time. Getting in from the airport and to the village is important, and 98% of those journeys went without any hitch at all yesterday."

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Tuesday that there are four parties bidding to take over the Olympic Stadium after the Games have finished, including one connected with Formula One racing.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) said that English Premier League soccer club West Ham, third-tier side Leyton Orient, the UCFB College of Football Business and Intelligent Transport Services had declared their interest.

The latter are connected with a bid to turn part of the Stadium into a Formula One track and the sport's supremo Bernie Ecclestone confirmed to the Daily Telegraph newspaper he had been consulted on the scheme.

The LLDC said they would now consider all four bids, with a decision expected towards the end of the year.

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