APRIL 7 – SEBASTIAN COE (pictured) and new London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton will leave tomorrow on a trip to Beijing with the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to promote the capital and meet with officials organising the 2008 Olympics. They will be joined by more than 50 business executives.


“Hosting consecutive Games will build upon the increasingly close and warm relationship between our two cities and countries,” said Coe, the chairman of London 2012. “As the Games come to an end in 2008, Beijing will hand the Olympic flag to London and we will begin our Olympic journey. Beijing is four years ahead in hosting the Games and we have much in common in our aspirations to inspire change as well as creating a sporting legacy for our respective cities. I very much look forward to learning and sharing experiences.” 


During his three-day visit, Coe will also present a prize at the national Chinese sports awards, visit the main sites that will host the Games in 2008 – including the main stadium which is known as the “Bird’ s Nest” because that is what it looks like - and sign a partnership agreement with BOCOG, the official organising committee in Beijing.


He will also present a lecture at the Reuters Foundation to Chinese journalists about covering the Olympics from the unique perspective of having competed in them (winning the 1500 metres gold medal in 1980 and 1984), worked as a commentator at them (for Australia’s Channel 7) and now organising them.


Livingstone, meanwhile, will be trying to foster trade links ahead of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. “China is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, whilst London is a world-class centre of financial and business services,” he said.  “A stronger relationship between China and London will therefore be mutually beneficial; we both have much to gain from building closer links with each other. We are also keen to learn from each other as London and Beijing plans their Olympic games in 2012 and 2008 respectively.”


More details in issue No21 of insidethegames, to be published on Monday.