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The Globe and Mail

Countdown to London 2012 begins with a splash

In this photo taken July 14, 2011 and made available by the Olympic Delivery Authority, an aerial view of the Aquatics Center with the Water Polo Arena being developed at the rear is seen at the Olympic Park London. With exactly a year to go until the start of the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority, ODA, has announced that the Aquatics Center is now complete, the last of the six main permanent Olympic Park venues to finish construction. (AP Photo/Olympic Delivery Authority, Anthony Charlton)

Anthony Charlton/AP

The countdown to London 2012 entered its final year on Wednesday with diver Tom Daley poised to make a splash before the world and its Olympic athletes are formally invited to join the party next July.

The opening of the wave-shaped Aquatics Centre, with Daley due to make the first dive in the evening, allowed organisers to congratulate themselves on completing the Olympic Park's permanent venues with 12 months to go.

"To have all...permanent venues complete with a year still to go to the Games is a great achievement, and a firm sign that we are well on track to deliver a truly spectacular show in 2012," declared Mayor Boris Johnson.

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"It's a pretty big moment for us," said London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe of entering the final stretch after years of hard work -- a milestone marked by a '1' mown into the turf at the new Olympic Stadium.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge will formally invite the world's athletes to the Games at an evening event in Trafalgar Square that will give a taste of the excitement to come.

Johnson will also welcome the world while the design of the medals, an eagerly awaited secret, will be unveiled for the first time.

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