27 Jul 2011

London opening ceremony will be easier for athletes

3:31 pm on 27 July 2011

The London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe says athletes should decide for themselves whether to attend next year's Olympic Games opening ceremony and the benefits are likely to far outweigh any disadvantages.

Coe was responding to UK Athletics' head coach Charles Van Commenee who has said Britain's track and field team should miss the ceremony in case their peformances are affected by being on their feet for up to eight hours.

But Coe, who won the 1500 metres in Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984 without taking part in either opening ceremony says London will be very different to Beijing in 2008, where athletes had to stand around for hours.

He says the ceremony will be one of the main memories for athletes to take from London, where they'll have places to sit while waiting for the ceremony at the stadium which is within walking distance of the games village.