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London 2012 'will surpass Sydney'
London 2012 will surpass Sydney and be hailed as the best Olympics ever staged, Australia's leading IOC member has predicted as organisers marked 100 days to the start of the Games.
Kevan Gosper, an IOC member since 1977 and a vice-president of the Sydney 2000 Olympics organising committee, said London 2012 had succeeded in turning the Games into a nationwide event rather than one just focused on the capital.
Organisers launched their slogan for the Games - Inspire a Generation - with Mr Gosper in attendance and he said there would be no envy from Australians if London takes over Sydney's mantle as the best Games there has been.
Gosper said: "Records are set to broken. Sydney got the accolade of the best-ever Games but that was 12 years ago.
"I would expect that with everything that has been put into London that these will be the best Games we've seen.
"The quality of the preparation, the commitment and the professionalism has been outstanding - they [London 2012] are the dream team.
"No Sydney person would resent that, they would be very happy to see it. Anybody who has been in competition likes to see their record broken - but likes to have held the record at some time.
"What makes it different is this is really a truly British Games and that the integration of the national, regional and city operations has put the whole country behind this and given it a huge impetus.
"In 2000 it was really Sydney and a bit of New South Wales."
The 100 days to go launch event at Kew Gardens in London also saw the unveiling of giant Olympic rings in a flower display which will be visible from flights arriving at Heathrow airport.
Organisers also announced the Red Arrows - the RAF aerobatic team - will perform a flypast across the UK to mark the opening ceremony on July 27, flying over London 2012 live sites in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.
There will be a total of 22 live sites in towns and cities with 69 big screens.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "I am delighted to announce the motto Inspire a Generation.
"It is everything we have been saying since we have started this extraordinary journey, not just since we got across the finish line in Singapore.
"It is the heartbeat, the very DNA of this organisation and a rallying cry for the athletes to come to the UK to perform at their very best and inspire the world."
Lord Coe said it was vital organisers put athletes at the centre of the preparations and made sure they were allowed to perform to the best of their abilities.
He added: "We have an obligation to get these Games right for our competitors.
"I say to my team that every time you see a young competitor, Olympic or Paralympian, taking their place in a venue that they will have devoted half their lives to getting there.
"We can never allow them to be a victim of our shortcomings."
The organisation of the Games has been relatively untroubled with all the building work coming in on time and within budget and London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said organisers would be "paranoid" in ensuring complacency did not creep in.
Mr Deighton said: "When it comes to the risk of complacency I can assure you in life these days only the paranoid succeed so there is absolutely no danger of us not looking at every risk that would prevent us delivering these Games in the effective and spectacular way we have promised."
It was also announced that 40 "Coubertin oak" trees are being planted at venues around the UK.
The trees will be grown from acorns taken from an oak planted in 1890 during the visit of the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin, to the Wenlock Olympian Games.
The first oak has been planted by Lord Coe at Kew Gardens. Others will be planted at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock, Shropshire; the Forestry Commission's National Arboretum; and at the UPS London Central Centre, in Camden.