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(Photo courtesy of UKTIDesign)                            

It took less than a day into London’s new life as an upcoming Olympic host city for the euphoria to be swept away amid a wave of terror and tragedy.

When the United Kingdom’s capital was awarded the 2012 Summer Games after a tense vote at a Singapore convention center on July 6, 2005, impromptu parties and wild scenes of celebration sparked up on the streets of London. Yet, as the city headed to work with a smile on its face the following morning, the cheer was drowned out as a series of terrorist attacks claimed 52 lives and injured more than 700 people.

British-born Islamic fundamentalists staged four separate suicide bombings, blowing up three underground trains and a public bus. Suddenly, all thoughts of the Olympics were put on the back burner. London had bigger problems to worry about. Six years on and a sense of calm long ago returned to London, which will become the first city to host three Summer Olympics when it invites the world into its backyard in July and August of next year. London has experienced some tough times, hurt like everywhere by a tortured global economy and an uncertain job market for locals. But there is a growing sense that it is ready, a year ahead of time, to show itself off to the world, much like it did during the Royal Wedding a few months back.

In terms of preparation, things have gone surprisingly smoothly. Bureaucratic holdups have been negotiated successfully, stadiums got built on or even ahead of schedule, and there has been little of the late panic that regularly plagues Olympic organizers.

Now the challenge is to make it stack up. Every Olympic hosting is effectively an international arm-wrestling match, and London has an incredibly tough act to follow, coming as it does four years after the triumph of Beijing. (more)

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Article by MARTIN ROGERS, Yahoo! Sports | Read full article here

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