Mumbai: Former middle distance champion and 2012 Olympics Organising Committee head Sebastian Coe is excited about the likely return of Ian Thorpe to the Games and felt the Australian pool legend`s visit to the venues in London last year must have ignited the spark.
"It`s a great news that Ian is making a comeback at the London Games next year. He has always been an outstanding competitor, a legend in his sport, and the British fans remember his extraordinary performance at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002," said Coe.
"I took Ian around the Olympic Park at the end of last year and he was clearly thinking about his future. I am pretty sure what he saw in the Olympic Park tipped the balance," said Coe, who won back-to-back gold medals in the 1,500m race in the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Games.
According to news reports in Australia, "Thorpedo" is set to compete in November at the age of 29 and is hoping to race in several individual events in London as well as the relay.
Thorpe has won five gold medals in past Olympics, three at home in Sydney in 2000 and two more four years later in Athens, apart from three silver and a bronze medal before he retired from the pool.
The 54-year-old Coe, whose grandfather was an Indian and mother was born in this country, said he remained a keen follower of Indian sports and was pretty certain that the country`s Olympic contingent would be watched by a large crowd of Indians at every venue.
"My grandfather was an Indian and my mother was born in India. I will always watch the progress of Indian sport. What I can tell the Indian competitors is that they will be coming to a city where a large Indian community will be waiting for them with great expectations to perform well in any number of sports. They must and will surely have a large crowd in every stadium," he said.
Coe was reacting to a query whether he expected an Indian follow the footsteps of ace shooter Abhinav Bindra and win the country`s second individual Olympic gold medal. Bindra opened the elusive gold medal chest in Beijing in 2008.
Meanwhile, Games organising committee LOCOG reacted to a query about fresh security concerns at the Games following the recent bomb explosions in the Norwegian capital of Oslo by saying a co-ordinated effort among various government agencies was on to deliver a safe Games.
"Our aim is to ensure safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, which everyone can enjoy. Staff at the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Olympic Delivery Authority is working closely with Government and a host of policing, safety and security agencies to achieve safe and secure Games," LOCOG said.
"Together with our partners, we are aiming to achieve Games that everyone can share in and celebrate safely whilst causing minimal disruption to daily life in London and the rest of the UK.
"The UK has an excellent track record of regularly hosting and policing major events safely and securely. We shall build on this expertise, as well as our considerable counter-terrorism capability for the Games," LOCOG added.