eSecuring the 2012 Olympics for London involves managing risks and expectations, Lord (Sebastian) Coe, the former Olympic gold medallist who is now heading London's campaign for the games, told the an

The event took place less than three months before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to make its final decision between the five cities bidding for the games: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris.

Lord Coe told the audience of over 100 at London's Tower Hotel that he and his team had just the next 81 days to identify risks and where possible eliminate them, not only to have a bid that was as close as possible to risk free but also to avoid 'searing' experiences for the IOC, like the down to the wire completion of the Athens Olympic facilities.

The objective is to plan games that are secure, on time and on budget.

The risks outlined by Lord Coe generally fall under the headings of finance, logistics (especially transport), facilities, security and legacy.

Among the critical obstacles that the London promoters had to overcome, said Lord Coe, was the IOC perception that "The Government was not interested, and if it did not want the games, it would not pay, and that the transport system was like that of a third world country."

He then outlined the way that the bid committee had set about managing these perceptions, such as getting the Prime Minister to accompany him to an IOC meeting in Athens to show that the Government was supporting the bid. This is essential, explained Lord Coe, to manage the financial risk, because the government is "effectively the guarantor of last resort" of the total estimated budget of £2.375bn.

On the transport system, Lord Coe was frank. "We are not setting out to answer all the problems of the Northern Line," he said, referring to the London Underground. "We have to have a transport plan that works for four weeks in August 2012." Thanks especially to the new international rail hub at Stratford in East London where the new Olympic Park is planned, and the extension of the Channel Tunnel line, he was confident that it would work. "Our Achilles' heel could turn out to be one of our strong points."