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Connect The World Marks 100 Days Until London 2012 Olympic Games

Aired April 18, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: You're looking at the countdown clock in London's iconic Trafalgar Square. It was some moments ago 100 days to go until the 2012 London Olympic Games. As you see right now, the opening ceremonies starting in exactly 99 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 28 seconds, the firing guns for the greatest sporting show on Earth.

I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World. On your mark, get set, London marking a major milestone as it gets ready to welcome the world.

Well, just under 100 days to go until the 2012 London Olympic Games. Tonight, is the city ready? We'll be taking a look at how preparations are going, the big issues that are still to face for this big host city. And we're going to hear from the organizers, athletes, and volunteers.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here at the CNN London studios, I'm Max Foster with the other headlines tonight. Syria's government and opposition forces both report deadly attacks. An opposition group says 32 people were killed nationwide. A video posted online appears to show panicked protesters allegedly being fired upon. State media accuse rebels of killing eight law enforcement officers.

Afghan police are questioning two caretakers over suspected poison at a girl's school. More than 170 female teachers and students were hospitalized after drinking from the school's water supply. Local officials blame extremists who oppose women's education.

Spain's King Juan Carlos has apologized for going on a hunting trip in a time of austerity. His trip to Botswana has caused an uproar over its expense. King Carlos came home after receiving treatment for a fractured hip.

In Norway, more testimony from self-proclaimed militant and killer Anders Breivik. Breivik has confessed to slaughtering 77 people in Norway last year in a bomb and gun rampage. He says he wants to be acquitted or put to death even though Norway doesn't have the death penalty.

Those are the headlines. And now it's Becky in London's Trafalgar Square getting ready, and very excited as we mark 100 days to go until the London 2012 Olympics.

ANDERSON: Well, that's right. This is a special edition of Connect the World. Max, thank you.

Getting ready to welcome the world and stage the greatest show on Earth. London, organizers of the 2012 Olympic Games say they will not disappoint.

It's shaping up to be a summer they say the world will never forget.


ANDERSON: The past four years, signs of a major event have taken shape across the United Kingdom. Today, a new sign that the London games are now only 100 days away. The milestone was marked throughout Britain and around the globe from Germany to China.

If you're flying in or out of Heathrow from today, this is what will greet you on the ground, these giant Olympic rings, 50 meters in length, made up of some 20,000 flowers. And this will be in full bloom by the summer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I first of all welcome you all to a wet and very windy London.

ANDERSON: Organizing committee chair Seb Coe was at London's Kew Gardens to celebrate the countdown and launch the game's motto.

What do you mean when you talk about inspiring a generation?

SEB COE, CHAIRMAN, LONDON ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: It's everything we've been saying for the last 10 years. It's certainly what we've been saying for the seven years (inaudible) years of deliver, and it's simple we wanted to use the games to inspire young people. And you really press me on that, I want to see more young people playing sport, inspired to choose sport as a way of fashion in their futures.

ANDERSON: Remind me why you've got such an obligation to get these games right?

COE: I say to my teams every day, every time you see an athlete go into one of your venues remember they probably have given up half their lives for that moment. We can't ever let them be victims of our shortcomings.

So I think probably because of, you know, having been actively involved in sport for 20 years as a competitor I just know how hard it is. It is our obligation to them.

ANDERSON: With 100 days to go what keeps you awake at night?

COE: Not a lot, really not a lot, because I'm surrounded by really smart people. We've done a massive amount of work already. That's not -- that's not said with the vestige of complacency, because you know there's no project in the world that challenges a city like the delivery of the games.

ANDERSON: London has of course been here before. It hosted the Olympics in 1908 and then again in 1948 after the Second World War. Then, as now, Britain was battling tough financial times.

You face constant criticism the games are a waste of money particularly in these straighten times. Your response.

PAUL DEIGHTON, CEO, LONDON ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: Well, let me give you a very simple answer to that, we have invested 7.5 billion pounds with 2000 British companies at a time when, you know, the economy has clearly been under pressure. What better Keynesian response to that kind of economic...

ANDERSON: You're going to balance the budget?

DEIGHTON: We are going to balance the budget.

ANDERSON: Are they going to get the stage set on time?

DEIGHTON: We've still got to finish our temporary venues. So big venues still to build. You know, part of our blueprint is we shouldn't build permanent venues where we didn't need them long-term so that back ends a lot of our temporary construction of venues. That's all going on. And still testing, testing, testing, lots of test events behind us. We still have another eight to go.

ANDERSON: If 100 days is one sign the games are just around the corner, another is just four weeks away. And that is the arrival of the Olympic flame.

MARGARET NOEL, TORCHBEARER: It's amazing. Today I actually feel as if I'm going to be running with this torch. And I'm so excited.


ANDERSON: Well, the weather was miserable today, let me tell you, but it couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of those London organizers. And let me say, let me tell you, it was absolutely contagious down there at Kew Gardens, you can really feel that spirit today.

There are, though, of course challenges that these guys still face in preparation for these games just, what, 99 days, 23 hours, 52 minutes, and 56 seconds away, that's the London countdown clock of course behind me. Those challenges are still fairly monumental.

First, the rising cost of staging the games. A recent report estimates the final tally could be as high as $17 billion. That is a huge expense to a country struggling to ward off another recession.

Also consider the enormous responsibility of keeping the Olympics and those who attend and compete safe. More than 40,000 soldiers, police and private security guards will be keeping watch against the number of potential threats. We'll see how London is handling all of those concerns ahead in the show.

First, though, I want to introduce a special guest with us here in Trafalgar Square this evening. We're delighted to have Jonathan Edwards with us on the show tonight, London 2012 board member, who is of course also the current world record holder for the triple jump way back when in that Olympics in the mid-90s.

JONATHAN EDWARDS, LONDONG 2012 BOARD MEMBER: That was a long time ago, 17 years.

ANDERSON: Unbelievable.

Tell me, and our viewers, just how athletes will be feeling just less than 100 days to go?

EDWARDS: It will be a real mixture. There will be huge excitement I mean for a British athlete particularly to compete in a home games is an amazing opportunity, but for athletes around the world this is the one that really matters. So massive excitement. But also some fear. And to be honest, it will pendulum between the two of them. You have a great training session, you think you can take on the world. You wake up with a bit of a cold and you feel like absolutely awful. So it really will be up and down.

And the big thing for I think anyone wants to be an Olympic Champion is managing those emotions over the next 99 days.

ANDERSON: Remind us how many athletes will be competing?

EDWARDS: 10,500 athletes in the Olympic Games. It is amazing. Over 200 nations, more nations than are in the United Nations I think.

ANDERSON: This is 19 days. And this is a big event. I think one of the guys said today one of the organizers said today this is like staging four World Cups a day.


ANDERSON: For 19 days.

EDWARDS: And I did four Olympics, you know as an athlete, two as a broadcaster. And I kind of pitched up at the airport, you know, went and did my hop, step, and jump and then came back again. And now as part of the organizing committee I'm -- it's overwhelming how much there is to do.

ANDERSON: We asked Sebastian Coe, who is the chief of the organizing committee of course, what keeps him awake at night. He said nothing. Do you believe him?

EDWARDS: No. Because I'm starting to feel stressed.

It's a huge responsibility. You talk about the pressure on the athletes to deliver. I think there's a greater pressure on an organizing committee. You know the pride of the country is at stake, the reputation of the country. And we've seen sort of prime minister, the whole Great Britain campaign, a lot of that will be around how we put on this show. And there's a massive pressure on the organizing committee. I say moreso than the athletes.

We want to do the country proud. People are passionate about the games. And we have a duty to put on a great show.

ANDERSON: The facilities are quite remarkable. Not all of the facilities, of course, are fixed, are permanent facilities. And that's been something quite unique about London. This is going to show off London as a city and other places around the country.

EDWARDS: Our philosophy was to only build permanent venues where we had legacy use for them afterwards. And I think five of them have permanent venues on the park, (inaudible) already. We hope that the other two, we'll have them by the time by the games come. We're going to have an opportunity to think to perhaps showcase London with (inaudible) Parade, or with Wimbledon or Lourdes (inaudible) for example.

We've done that. So I think it's a great mix between new venues and some iconic London landmarks.

ANDERSON: Does it feel like only yesterday that this all began?

EDWARDS: It does a little. But I tell you what it feels like, since this year turns and we came to 2012, there was 200 days to go I was standing by Olympic Park, it's gone in a flash. It will be the opening ceremony before we know it.

ANDERSON: Stay with us.


ANDERSON: The opening ceremony 99 days to go as we speak.

You're watching a special edition of Connect the World here from Trafalgar Square with the countdown clock behind me in London.

Still to come, it could be the biggest security operation Britain has ever seen. How organizers plan to keep the Olympics safe. That, coming up after this.

FOSTER: ...the days news headlines, including Aung San Suu Kyi's travel plans to Britain and to Norway. What the trip says about reforms in Myanmar. Stay with Connect the World.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Now with reports that a UN backed ceasefire in Syria is deteriorating daily, there's a new plea for the violence to end. The wives of two UN ambassadors are sending a message to the wife of Syria's president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand up for peace, Asma.


FOSTER: In a video posted online, the wives of the British and German ambassadors are calling on Asma al Assad to stop being a bystander, and get her husband to end his crackdown.


HUBERTA VON MOSS, WIFE OF GERMAN AMBASSADOR TO UN: We want Asma Assad to speak out openly for peace and to send a signal, because only when she does it other women can follow. So we think it's a good moment now that the ceasefire has been installed. It's very wobbly. It's not quite working yet, but we think she should not hide behind her husband's speck (ph) any more, and should come forward with a straight message for peace.


FOSTER: Well, the opposition says security forces killed at least 32 people on Wednesday, most of them in Homs. State media report eight law enforcement officers were killed.

Here's a look now at some other stories connecting our world tonight. And Anders Behring Breivik says he prefers execution, it's what he calls a pathetic prison sentence for last year's mass killings in Norway.

On the third day of his trial, Breivik said he looked on the events of last July 22 as a suicide mission. He admits killing eight people in a bombing in central Oslo, then gunning down 69 more at a youth camp on Utoya Island. Norway does not have the death penalty.

Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Britain and Norway on her first trip outside Myanmar. In 24 years, the opposition leader will deliver the lecture she was unable to give when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She was under house arrest at the time. Her trip is considered a sign of confidence in Myanmar's democratic reforms.

Photos just now surfacing from Afghanistan are sparking fresh outrage. The Los Angeles Times published the photos from 2010 saying they depict U.S. troops posing with the bodies of insurgents. They blurred the bottom of the image, because it is gruesome. The Times says a soldier gave them the pictures to call attention to what he called a breakdown of leadership and discipline in the unit. A Pentagon spokesman says the images don't represent the values of the vast majority of troops.

A rare apology from Spain's king for a hunting trip to Africa. King Juan Carlos told state television he made a mistake and it wouldn't happen again. The trip sparked controversy on two fronts. First, expense: whilst the country struggles with 23 percent unemployment and austerity cuts. Second, media reports (inaudible) hunt for elephants.

That it for me at CNN London. Back to Becky in London's Trafalgar Square dealing up all the latest information on the Olympics -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Max.

99 days, 23 hours, 43 minutes, and 46 seconds away from the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27. Coming up for you on a special edition of Connect the World tonight, he once sold Beijing and hopes to do the same in London, but the path to glory wasn't a smooth one for Bryan Clay. Find out why in our interview with the U.S. decathlete next.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to this special edition of Connect the World from here, Trafalgar Square, with the countdown clock marking a milestone to the London 2012 Olympic games. We are in the closing stretch as it were. And many an athlete now really thinking about what happens next.

July 27, of course, the opening ceremony and then the whole shebang will begin. 19 days of events is the greatest show on Earth as far as the organizers at least are concerned will kick off.

Long jump, high jump, sprinting, shot put, well he does them all. Bryan Clay is a decathlete. And four years ago he won a gold in Beijing. He's hoping to do the same here in London. But just have a listen to how he feels ahead of these Olympic Games here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bryan, been having a look at your book. The inside cover, it describes you as the most unlikely Olympic decathlete in history. Just tell us a bit about how you got into it.

BRYAN CLAY, U.S. DECATHLETE: I wasn't a great kid. I made a lot of bad decisions. And just kind of was misguided. And so because of the trouble that I was getting into, the fights and different things like that, my mom on the advice of a counselor said you can either run track and field or swim. I didn't want to wear Speedos so I chose track and field. And that's kind of how it all got started.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mentioned you've already got a couple of Olympic medals. You're looking to be the first decathlete to get a medal in three different, or consecutive Olympics. How are you rating your chances sitting here now?

CLAY: I think my chances are very, very good. I've been to two already, so that -- I think that gives me a little bit of an edge, but I've got -- you know, I'm going to have my work cut out for me. And I'm going to have to work hard. And I think it's going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Athletically has there been anything that you've had to change in terms of your preparation, getting a little bit older dare I say?

CLAY: Yeah. I mean, I definitely am getting older. I tell everybody, you know I'm 32 now and so my body just doesn't work quite the same as it did when I was 21. So I think some of the things that I have to do is I have to be very careful for injury and make sure that I'm getting the recovery that I need, making sure that I'm not pushing it too hard. I tend to be one of those guys that will, you know, push it a little bit more than I was supposed to and that ends up resulting in an injury or, you know, something like that.

So being really disciplined in that sense and making sure that I listened to my body, that when my coaches tell me I need to rest that I take that rest. And I'm not trying to force anything to happen that's not there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Who would you say is the greatest decathlete of all- time? Over here, of course, (inaudible) gets a few votes.

CLAY: Yeah, I mean Daley (ph) -- Daley (ph) was unbelievable. I mean, two gold medals, that's amazing, I mean absolutely amazing. And then a fourth place finish in his third Olympics. I mean, I'm hoping I can do that. I really am. I'm hoping I can win another medal, because then I can go out to dinner with Daley (ph) and kind of let him know that I got one up on him.

But, no, you know, I mean, Daley (ph) is great. Dan was phenomenal, you know, world record holder. I mean, just an amazing, amazing athlete. You know, his personal best scores would add up to, I think it was like 9,500 points or something like that. I mean, just ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So here we are sitting in London. What is it that excites you about the London games?

CLAY: You mean besides the fact that I'm excited to be in a country where everybody speaks English and the food is similar. I mean, you know I was joking about that earlier, but it really can be I guess you could say a distraction sometimes that I it's something that you have to be concerned with when you travel to some countries.

I'm just looking forward to the whole Olympic movement, the whole Olympic process. It is so much fun to be a part of the Olympic Games. And I don't think it matters where you are. You are seeing dreams, you know, begin in some of these kids that are watching. And you're seeing dreams being fulfilled and concluded in the stands with athletes. And so to have all of that going on in one place and the entire world watching, it just doesn't get any better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to just ask you a question about crumpets. It seems you've only been here a day and they are your new favorites.

CLAY: You know, it was really -- I had a really good time. We had some tea that other day and it was great. And I like that, is it double cream, or -- what is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Frosted cream (ph)?

CLAY: It is so good. Oh my gosh, I love that stuff.

So, yeah, the other day I just stuffed my face full of these crumpets and scones and tea. It was great. I loved it.


ANDERSON: All right.

Just one of the athletes who will be here some 99 days from now. The opening ceremony, of course, as I keep repeating it's important tonight we're celebrating it in London 27th of July, 9:00 pm local time it'll kick off.

Jonathan Edwards, the current world record holder for the triple jump joining us once again live here for this special show.

That guy does 10 events. You only do one.

EDWARDS: You know, sort of jack of all trades, master of none. Seriously, the decathletes are remarkable. I can remember in 1995 when I broke my world record I was in drug testing with Dan O'Brien who was world champion that year and I think went on to be Olympic champion in '96, the American. And we were just chatting about how -- talking about an athlete managing their emotions through the next 99 days. To manage your kind of adrenaline and your effort over 10 events, knowing you're not going to brilliantly in all of them, is really, really tough.

And I said, you know, jack of all trade -- they're brilliant at what they do. I mean, some of their performances across 10 events are stunning.

ANDERSON: It's been a great day in London. The weather has been miserable, but by no means has that dampered anybody's spirits. Here you are to anticipating this event and all the organizers, 200,000 odd seats still to install, some 1 million tickets still to sell.

And there has been a poll out for one of the national broadcasters here in the UK, which suggests that the British public as whole are very ambivalent about these games, still. Does that worry you?

EDWARDS: I mean, yeah, I mean I saw that poll today. It's slightly surprising, but I've seen other polls which suggest that there was much, much more support, a much higher level support particularly within London.

I think what will really start to whet people's appetite is the torch relay. You know, 99 days now to go to the opening ceremony, 30 days to go until the torch relay, and about just over 20 until the flame is lit in Olympia. And when that torch starts its 17 day journey around the UK, going within 10 miles of 95 percent of the population, when 2012 goes out to meet the people, then I think you'll start to see, you know, that approval level start to go up.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Jonathan. Jonathan Edwards joining us tonight on this special Connect the World.

It is not just London nor the UK who has been marking this milestone today, people from all over the world getting involved in events from Germany to China and in the U.S. as well.

Richard Roth is in New York. Richard, how did those in the United States of America mark this great day as it were?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure how many people knew here in the United States that it's 100 days and counting to London. They'll probably get more into it when it comes.

We're here in Times Square where the U.S. Olympic Committee has set up a lot of events I think to bicycle, motorcross athletes just went passed me risking my life. But they are hopeful of getting through the trials and getting to the Olympics.

Now all day here in Times Square there have been different events -- gymnastics, trampoline, boxing, the bicycle and former Olympic athletes have been here, those who have won many gold medals.

I asked the leader of the U.S. Olympic Committee, a lawyer, what is really going on here in Times Square? What's the goal of today's events in New York with 100 days to go.


SCOTT BLACKMUN, CEO, U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: We're basically opening up Times Square to introduce people to our great Olympic and Paralympic athletes. We're one of only a handful of nations in the world that doesn't have government funding to send our athletes to the Olympic games. We rely on our corporate partners. We rely on our donors. So what we really want to do is honor our athletes, expose New York to our athletes so we can send a message that it's really not America that sends its team to the Olympic Games, it's Americans.


ROTH: The U.S. won 110 gold medals four years ago at the summer Olympics. They can only hope to do just as well.

You never know who are going to be the big stars, Becky. But London is coming here. They have a London bus set up down there.

But it's not really London, but this is the greatest city in the world, isn't it? Here in New York?

ANDERSON: Don't. Don't even go. Not today of all days.

Richard Roth in the second greatest city in the world, that in New York for you this evening. Richard thank you for that.

Still to come tonight, broadcasters say well the final cost of the London Olympics will be almost $18 billion. Is this money well spent? That, after this.

FOSTER: I'll have the latest headlines for you. Plus, an award- winning opera singer who traveled into the Zulu heartlands of Durban on a journey of inspiration.


FOSTER: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Max Foster. And these are the latest headlines from CNN. Opposition groups in Syria's government are reporting deadly attacks on Wednesday. Activists say 32 people were killed across the country. This online video claims to show people in Damascus being shot at during the visit by UN monitors. Syrian state media say rebels killed eight law enforcement officers.

Police in Afghanistan are questioning two caretakers over a suspected poisoning at a girls' school. More than 170 female teachers and students were hospitalized after drinking from the school's water supply. Local health officials blame extremists who oppose women's education.

In Norway, more testimony from self-proclaimed militant and killer Anders Breivik. Breivik has confessed to slaughtering 77 people in Norway last year in a bomb and gun rampage. He says he wants to be acquitted or put to death, even though Norway doesn't have the death penalty.

Dick Clark, the American -- the veteran American broadcaster has died. He was famous for his New Year's Eve show and his long-standing program "American Bandstand." That's been credited by many with helping rock and roll be accepted into the mainstream. He died of a heart attack at the age of 82.

Those are the world headlines for you. Now, back to Becky and the Olympic countdown in Central London. It'll be warmer by then, though, I guess.

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Oh, well, we hope so. It has been a pretty miserable day weather-wise today, but as I say, it hasn't dampened anybody's spirits, 99 days now to go until that opening ceremony.

It's not just about the sport, though, of course. Security is a major concern. All of us remember it was only a few years ago those transit bombings here in London. CNN's Dan Rivers has been looking at what is an enormous security challenge.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: London has always taken its security seriously. The Royal Navy College has been in Greenwich since 1873 and used to train some of the finest military minds back in the days when Britain was a super power of the seas. And it's that tradition that organizers are keen to uphold during the Olympic Games.

RIVERS (voice-over): So much so, that in December, the security budget for the event was raised by $450 million to $850 million by the British government. So, were the original plans naive?

JAMES BROKENSHIRE, UK MINISTER FOR CRIME AND SECURITY: It's very much been about the preparations, the detailed examination of the makeup of venue security. In many ways, the Olympic Games is the greatest sporting show on Earth.

We're not going to leave anything to chance, because we want to ensure that the focus is on sport, on that achievement, on the Olympics, and not on security issues.

RIVERS: The new plans include 13,500 troops providing support as well as the Royal Navy's HMS Ocean being moored in Greenwich, which is where I met Colonel Richard Kemp, a former member of the Cobra Crisis Committee for a boat trip along the Thames.

RICHARD KEMP, COLONEL, FORMER MEMBER, COBRA CRISIS COMMITTEE: Cobra is the national crisis management committee. It brings together all elements of the British government, the intelligence services, the police, the military so that all of the efforts can be coordinated in dealing with the crisis.

RIVERS (on camera): So, we're here on the Thames right where HMS Ocean's going to be moored during the Olympics. What will she bring to the operation?

KEMP: It's a -- a very, very sophisticated communications platform. The military will be, basically, enhancing the capability of the overall Olympics security operation in a range of tasks from the waterborne security we've spoken about through to anti-aircraft security.

RIVERS (voice-over): The security operation will be a joint effort between the military, the government, and the police. Time for a stop to find out what the police priorities will be.

RIVERS (on camera): Is this going to be the biggest security operation this country's ever seen?

BRIAN PADDICK, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE: I think it is. I mean, we've had very high-profile events. We had the royal wedding, for example, last year. But this is multiple events happening in multiple locations.

It's not just the Olympic sites themselves, it's the infrastructure. It's the Underground system, it's the electricity system. All could potentially be targets.

RIVERS: The authorities in London are uses to organizing thousands of events each year, but the Olympics is the biggest, most complex, for a generation. And as the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony, everybody is hoping they've got the security dimension just right.


ANDERSON: British prime minister David Cameron suggesting that security is the absolute priority. He says that everybody must be safe. It is a huge task, as Dan reported. Joining me now is Will Geddes, who's managing director of the security and threat management's internal corporate protection.

You just listen to that report and you realize just what a big job this is, and what an expensive job it's become.

WILL GEDDES, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE PROTECTION: Yes, absolutely. It's -- it is the biggest mobilization of military and security forces in this country since World War II. It is absolutely enormous, and it has to be because this is one occasion which we really have to get right in terms of security, because the whole world will be watching.

ANDERSON: In terms of security, we are now looking at upwards of 49,000 people involved in security for these Games. That is way above what the government budgeted for when they went for these Games back in 2005.

GEDDES: The numbers, again, are never going to be entirely clear, because obviously, the various agencies do not want to disclose how much security is being applied.

But the budget as it currently stands is around about 550 million which, when we put this in perspective against the Athens Olympics, that came out to one billion in total in terms of security. So, the spend is actually quite reasonable.

ANDERSON: Where are the biggest challenges?

GEDDES: Well, the biggest challenges, I think, in many respects, is around the various Olympic stadia, if you like, and where the various events are taking place. And there is a wide spectrum of potential threats that the security forces have to protect against.

So, we're not just looking at international terrorism. We're looking at domestic issues and also the rogue elements as we've seen recently.

ANDERSON: And it's not just stadia, as you suggest. It's the transport system. This is a huge city.

GEDDES: It is. In London, we are recognized across the world as having probably the most extensive CCTV surveillance of any city in the world. However, even that is being maxed out, and there's significant investment that's going into facial recognition, vehicle number plate recognition, and biometrics. And also some other technical capabilities to, again, support all the physical security.

ANDERSON: The countdown clock is behind us, Will, 99 days, 23 hours, 23 minutes exactly to go. So, in these final days, just describe what the security forces will be prioritizing.

GEDDES: Well, it's going to be one of those things. It's train hard, fight easy. So, there's going to be a lot of rehearsal exercises taking place, there are -- and these will go right across the board in terms of emergency response and instant response to ensure that, should something happen, wherever it may happen, obviously the various forces are going to be in the right places.

But it's going to be testing those facilities. It's going to be doing what we call penetration testing, so -- to see whether they can find weak spots and vulnerabilities in the security that's going to be set up.

ANDERSON: Will Geddes, joining us tonight. Quite a regular on CNN. We always enjoy having you. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Well, the costs keep mounting up, not least the cost of security as Will suggested, about 550-odd million on -- and that is in UK pounds. We're pushing towards a billion dollars, effectively. Some say the costs could be as high as $2 billion.

We're going to take a look coming up in this special show, CONNECT THE WORLD, here from Trafalgar Square in London, just where those billions are being spent aside from security. Well, the bill is enormous, and it's getting bigger. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. Welcome back to our London 2012 Olympics special. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Well, there is no denying it, Britain is spending a huge amount of money on staging these Games, which start just less than 100 days from now. Organizers say that these Olympic Games will give the country a huge boost economically.

Others, though, say, well, in these financially straiten times, this is all a bit of a gamble. Matthew Chance reports.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The transformation has been dramatic. A once rundown, grubby corner of London's East End now poised to sparkle with Olympic glory.

Britain's spent nearly $18 billion building its Olympic dream, justified, say organizers, by the vast economic benefits the Games are expected to bring.

CHANCE (on camera): Well, the last time I was here about ten years ago, this was an urban wasteland. It's astonishing how much building and development has taken place. Obviously, the Olympic Stadium, there. It's got a capacity of 80,000 people, a huge sporting venue. It's going to go to some big football team, potentially. That's still being negotiated.

All these apartment buildings, shopping centers have been built. Just over there, the Olympic Village, where the organizers say 3,600 new homes will be built after the Games have come to an end, creating what they say will be what they call a zone of opportunity in this part of East London. Not just lifting the local economy, but bolstering Britain's economy in general.

CHANCE (voice-over): But not everyone's convinced. The biggest urban shopping center in Western Europe opens near the Olympic Park. Thousands of local jobs have been created. There are 300 stores and 70 restaurants but, even here, we find deep misgivings about the wisdom of the nation spending so much on a sporting extravaganza.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It mortifies me to see the amount of money that's being spent when so much needs to be spent on. That's my --

CHANCE (on camera): What about long-term benefits, though? Really could regenerate the area.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure if it's going to have any permanent effects. It may be temporary. Temporary boost to the area.

CHANCE: After the Games are over, people go down the street --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once the Games are over, a lot of what they've built will go to waste.



CHANCE (voice-over): There are, of course, supporters, many of them excited by a British summer of Olympic sport. But many doubt the economic benefits will be anything but short-term and local.

CHANCE (on camera): What about the legacy, though? Because look what's been created, this amazing stadium behind us, here. It's a sporting paradise. It's going to bring all sorts of investment and workers and business here, isn't it? And that's something the benefit of which can't be calculated at the moment.

HOWARD WHEELDON, FINANCIAL ANALYST: Legacy is a wonderful, wonderful expression and term. The problem is, we just don't know. We can't know now what the legacy will be. We can think we know.

We can think it might be used by the community, funded by the community, funded by the government, funded by whoever. But the trouble is, history tells us that after the event, people who say they'll do things change their minds.

CHANCE (voice-over): So, the true economic success of the Games may only be measured in years to come, and this costly Olympic transformation is, in fact, a huge gamble.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson with this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from Trafalgar Square, where tonight we are marking a milestone.

FOSTER: I'm Max Foster at CNN London studios. Coming up, he's swapped world famous opera houses for Zulu townships in Durban. Find out what Thomas Hampson is singing about after this short break.


FOSTER: In the second part of our Fusion Journeys series, opera singer Thomas Hampson swaps Zurich for a Zulu village. He's spending ten days with the famous a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, fusing Western classical music with choral Zulu tones.



THOMAS HAMPSON, AMERICAN BARITONE: My name is Thomas Hampson, and I'm an opera singer.


HAMPSON: I've flown to Durban to learn about local music and culture.


HAMPSON: And will have the honor of meeting and working with one of South Africa's most celebrated exports, Zulu male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

I'm a little bit nervous about it. I think they're just incredible, and their music tradition is something that is very near to my heart as a lover of folk music and world music, but I don't do this at all. It's going to be a very exciting couple of days. Very exciting.

My first stop is in the Valley of a Thousand Hills at the home of Joseph Shabalala, leader and founder of the group.


HAMPSON: This is Africa. Wonderful. Wonderful to meet you. How are you? Thank you very much.

SHABALALA: There is a special song for him when we greet him. Now, we say "Shosholoza," is embrace, come in, don't worry, this is your home.


HAMPSON: Have you ever seen or heard a more beautiful greeting of another person in your life? To get out of the car and have Black Mambazo sing to you. OK, I can die. It's cool, I'm done. I'm OK now.

Oh, my goodness.

SHABALALA: Welcome to the Mambazo studio.

HAMPSON: Isn't this fantastic?


HAMPSON: It was in the town of Ladysmith that Joseph created Mambazo in the 60s.


SHABALALA: This is our first uniforms. First uniforms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this guy, he passed away, and this one nearly died, and this one passed away. He was shot by the security guard was driving him at night.

HAMPSON: The choir sang for more than 30 years in Apartheid in South Africa, finding international fame in 1986 after working with Paul Simon on "Graceland."

You see, I'm a huge fan of Simon. Did it really change your life?



SHABALALA: It was a (inaudible).

HAMPSON: And now, this year is the 20 year anniversary.

SHABALALA: Oh, yes. Who told you that?

HAMPSON: I read up. I do.


HAMPSON: Homework.


HAMPSON: Come on, I meet important people, I want to know what they're doing.

We're going to go down to the township where Joseph is from and see where all of these extraordinary things started from.

After that amazing welcome, I set off in the care of Joseph and Albert for a trip down memory lane.


HAMPSON: You lived -- where did you live?

SHABALALA: We used to live down here.



ALBERT MAZBUKO, FOUNDING MEMBER, LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO: We were renting a -- two small -- rooms.

HAMPSON: And he would sing a song that he dreamt of.


HAMPSON: And then, you would hear it and memorize it, go back and forth --

MAZBUKO: Yes. Once he taught us the song, and then we just catch the song. He used to wake us in the middle of the night.

HAMSPON: Right, that's what I hear and understand.

MAZBUKO: Yes, and then, so he just taught us the new song we've never had.

HAMPSON: Are they in here, too?

MAZBUKO: Yes, and --

HAMPSON: Oh, my God. Really?



SHABALALA: Yes. Do it again.

HAMPSON: Throughout Clermont, we're able to see a number of legendary spots in Mambazo's story.

SHABALALA: Can you hear the music?

HAMPSON: Oh, yes.

In the homes where the group gathered to rehearse as young men, and the stage on which they first stood to compete in local singing competitions.


HAMPSON: Mambazo's story may have begun in townships, but the music itself has its roots in Zulu culture.


HAMPSON: Where -- the place from where they sing in their music and their expression is so immediately connected to the very essence of who they are. Now, I'm glad we had this experience before. Now, we start to make music together.

I spend so much of my time, my life, understanding other people's ideas, and I get into their language, I get into their music and sing it. And when you come to this kind of expression, this kind of music, this is theirs. This is their DNA. This is not something you can imitate.



FOSTER: And you can watch the final part of his journey on Friday here on CONNECT THE WORLD. Hampson and Mambazo perform their fusion melody against the stunning backdrop of Durban's Valley of a Thousand Hills.

And you can read more about Thomas Hampson's experience and see some photos of his trip on our website, as well,

That's it for me here at CNN London. Back now to Becky at London's Trafalgar Square.

ANDERSON: That's right, and we've been marking a milestone today, 100 days, now, to go into the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games here in London.

And what a day, it's been a big one, not least because there's another big sporting event going on just down the road from where I am, here, in Central London. Chelsea at Stamford Bridge hosting Barcelona in the second of the semifinals in the Champions League. My colleague, Amanda Davies, is there. What happened, mate?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky, thanks. Well, yes, Seb Coe has been a very busy man today, not only 100 days to the Olympics, he was, of course, flagging that up a little bit earlier.

Then, he popped down to Stamford Bridge because somewhat sooner than the Olympics, just a month's time, is the final of the European Champions League. It's in Munich on May the 19th, and it is Chelsea with the advantage after the first leg of their semifinal against Barcelona.

Barca very much started as they meant to go on. Chelsea didn't even touch the ball for the first minute and a half. They had the best chances in the first half, but they hit the crossbar, had a ball cleared off the line, but it was Didier Drogba who gave Chelsea the advantage, put them one up in injury time at the end of the first half, and that is how it stayed.

Just to put this into context, Barcelona's third defeat in 63 games. So, they may have the advantage, but that by no means that they are in that final in Munich.

ANDERSON: Amanda Davies there at Stamford Bridge, a big day, and let's not forget the match last night, of course, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, Bayern taking a bit of a lead there, the away goal for Real, though, doing them some good.

So, big day there, big day here in London. I know some of you have been getting in touch with you via Twitter, and you'll see some of those tweets on the bottom of the screen, I believe. We want to hear from you, though.

What do you think about these Olympic Games as we move into the home stretch? The ceremony, 27th of July, 9:00 PM London time, just within the 100-day mark, now. Do let me know, are you competing, are you going, have you got tickets, are you still trying to get tickets? There's a million more to go on sale, of course.

Are you interested at all? Certainly, one poll today out of London saying that Brits a little bit ambivalent about this so far. My guess is that people are going to start getting a lot more excited as we see the stadia going up and being completed.

I'm Becky Anderson, that has been a special condition -- special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from Trafalgar Square here in London, from me and my colleague Max back in the studio, it's a very good evening.