The Olympic Games in London will kick off officially on July 27, marking the start of nearly three weeks of competition where the world’s top athletes will vie for one of thousands of Olympic medals on offer. RFE/RL’s Antoine Blua takes a numerical look at the biggest sporting event on the planet.
– The number of women athletes sent by Saudi Arabia. The conservative Muslim kingdom confirmed earlier this month that it would send women for the first time to the Olympics -- Wojdan Shaherkani, a judo competitor, and Sarah Attar, an 800-meters runner.
-- The number of countries which will see female athletes representing them at an Olympic event for the first time -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei. All national teams, for the first time, will include women.
– The number of times the games have been held in London since the modern Olympics began in 1896. The British capital previously hosted the event in 1908 and 1948. The motto of this year’s games is "Inspire a Generation."
– The number of jumbo jets that could fit, wing-to-wing, inside the International Broadcast Center, a 24-hour media hub for the 20,000 broadcasters, photographers, and journalists expected to cover the Olympics.
– The number of kilometers of steel cables used to make the double-curving, cable-net roof structure of the velodrome. That’s twice the height of Mount Everest. Boasting 6,000 seats and an elliptical race track, the venue has been designed with the aim of creating the world’s fastest cycling track.
– The number of sports to take place across 38 disciplines, from aquatics to wrestling.
– The age of the oldest athlete to compete. Japan’s Hiroshi Hoketsu is to compete in equestrian dressage with his mare Whisper, who is 15 years old. Hoketsu is the oldest Olympian since Oscar Swahn, a 72-year-old Swedish shooter who won bronze at the Antwerp Games of 1920.
250 – The number of businesses that had to be relocated to allow the construction of the Olympic Park.
– The number of football pitches that would be needed to fill the 2.5-square-kilometer Olympic park. As well as being home to eight venues, including the Olympic stadium, aquatics center and velodrome, the park will also be an Olympic village to house the athletes and officials.
– The reported number of newts relocated from the Olympic park site to the nearby Waterworks Nature Reserve.
– The number of medals produced for both the Olympic Games and the following Paralympics. The front of each medal depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, while the back features the 2012 Olympic logo. The name of the sport appears on the rim. Weighing in at 400 grams, medals for first-place finishes are made up of 1.2 percent gold.
– The number of temporary toilets to be installed around the Olympic site.
– The number of square meters of the wave-shaped roof on the aquatics center, which is one and a half times bigger than the Wembley football pitch. Ten million liters of water were needed to fill the three pools.
– The number of athletes representing 204 nations and territories who are taking part.
-- The number of troops deployed to keep the Olympics safe and secure -- more than are currently deployed in Afghanistan -- after a private security firm failed to deliver enough guards. An aircraft carrier will be moored in the Thames, while surface-to-air missile systems will scan the skies. Fifty-five dog teams will patrol an Olympic zone partitioned off from the wider city by a 5,000-volt electric fence.
– The capacity of the Olympic Stadium. The height of the structure is 60 meters. Around the top of the roof, there are 14 lighting towers reaching 70 meters above the sports area. During excavations, 800,000 tons of soil were removed.
-- The number of condoms to be distributed in the Olympic village. That’s roughly nine condoms per athlete. One hundred thousand condoms were provided during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
-- The number of seating tickets to be sold, with prices ranging from around $30 for standard seats at regular events to around $3,000 for the best seats at the opening ceremony. More than 500,000 spectators are expected to attend.
– The number of meals expected to be consumed during the Olympic and Paralympic games by the public, athletes, staff, and volunteers. Some 260,000 loaves of bread are expected to be consumed.
-- The number of international viewers expected to tune in for the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The event will feature a parade of the participating teams, nation by nation, and the igniting of the Cauldron by the Olympic Flame, signaling the start of the Games.
– The number of dollars projected to be spent on the preparations of the London Olympics, or more than twice the original estimate. Based on estimates, staging the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics will cost roughly $10 million per hour.