• Projected 12.30am finish must be adhered to
The International Olympic Committee will brief all competing nations on Thursday in an attempt to avoid them dragging their feet at the London 2012 opening ceremony.
There is a feeling that the parade of athletes at recent Games has become too unwieldy, with some teams moving too slowly round the track while they take pictures and pick out familiar faces. While keen not to spoil the experience for the 204 nations that take part, the IOC and London 2012 organisers are keen that all teams make their way round the stadium at a reasonable speed.
It is understood they have come up with various "devices" to ensure that the athletes maintain an even pace. The opening ceremony director, Danny Boyle, has previously joked that Underworld, who are composing the score, had been told to speed up the beat of the marching music.
Organisers have already been forced to cut one segment from the opening ceremony and "tighten up" other sequences to ensure that it finishes by its allotted time of 12.30am at the latest and all spectators are able to get home. Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director for the Olympic Games, will brief all the chefs de mission of the competing nations on the issue on Thursday.
At the opening day of the IOC session the London 2012 chairman, Lord Coe, delivered his final progress report and said five promises that he had made in 2005 had guided their seven-year journey.
"On that day we made five promises: athletes at the centre of the project, iconic new, temporary and existing venues, magical atmosphere in full venues, inspire youth and lasting legacy," Coe told the IOC session.
Coe was joined by the 20 schoolchildren who accompanied the party in Singapore and underlined the bid commitment to engage with the youth of the world.
"As you remember, we outlined a vision and the ambition was simple: to connect young people to sport and the Olympic values," said Coe. "It has been an extraordinary journey over seven years since Singapore."
The London 2012 chairman told the IOC session that young people selected from its programmes would play an important part in Friday's opening ceremony, such as in the guard of honour. Construction workers involved in the building of the stadium are also expected to play a role.
Coe told the IOC members that the Games had not only created a sports legacy for the country but also helped regenerate east London. "We have built a new city inside an old city. Always with an eye for value for money. The economic dividend is clear," he said.
Coe said even during the sharp global economic downturn from 2008 onwards, London "punched through" to reach the finish line. "We are now focused like the athletes. We have made our journey from training track to warm-up track to stadium," said Coe, who thanked the British public for backing the Games.
"They have been unfailingly supportive. When we asked, they said unfailingly yes."