London 2012: Swimmer Mark Foster unveils giant Olympic rings at Heathrow Airport
09:35 20 June 2012
Giant Olympic Rings have been unveiled this morning at Heathrow Airport.
Measuring 12 metres wide - the same as a double decker bus - the Rings have been installed in Terminal 5 international arrivals at Heathrow, which is the official host airport of the London 2012 Games.
At least 2million passengers will see the Rings during the summer.
The structure was officially launched at a special event today with Olympian Mark Foster.
Entertainment was provided by the Band of the Irish Guards. Garrison Sergeant Major William Mott OBE, whose 30 foot portrait in Terminal 5, showing him dressed in the iconic Welsh Guards ceremonial red tunic and bearskin cap, and currently the first face that welcomes visitors to Heathrow, was also present at the ceremony.
Swimmer Foster said: “I know first-hand the nervous excitement that every athlete feels when they arrive for the Olympic Games.
“The atmosphere is electric and often the airport is the first time we see fans and really feel the special buzz of the weeks to come.
“The Rings will create a huge sense of excitement and be a great part of the welcome for everyone travelling though the terminal.”
The Olympic Rings represent the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.
Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: “The Olympic Rings are an iconic symbol, inspiring athletes and uniting people around the world.
“To athletes they represent the culmination of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport.
“As we welcome the world these Rings will excite and inspire visitors arriving at Heathrow.”
Nick Cole, head of Olympic and Paralympic planning at Heathrow, said: “Heathrow is the first impression of the UK that the majority of guests arriving for the London 2012 Games will have, so we want a special welcome that will get passengers in the Olympic spirit.
“We’re delighted to have the Rings in place to celebrate the start of the Games.”