Speaking at the International Paralympic Committee’s General Assembly meeting in Beijing, Mr Mills said that integration of Olympic and Paralympic Games planning would be a hallmark of the 2012 London Games.
“London 2012 will stage an integrated Olympic and Paralympic Games that will minimise the planning and operational differences between these two mega multi-sport events,” Mr Mills told the General Assembly of the International Paralympic Committee, the international representative organisation of sports for athletes with disabilities.
“For the first time ever, the vision and mission of the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) of planning for the Paralympic Games by integrating the experience of the Olympic Games will be achieved.”
London 2012 athlete ambassador Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, the world’s most successful Paralympic athlete, and Tony Sainsbury London 2012 Paralympic Games and Olympic Village Manager, joined Mr Mills in outlining London’s plans to the General Assembly.
Host city organising committee delegations from Torino 2006, Beijing 2008, and Vancouver 2010 also provided progress reports on their plans to stage the Paralympic Games, the world’s second biggest multi sport event for elite athletes.
Mr Mills told the General Assembly that early planning would also be a hallmark of the London 2012 Games. “We have already started to integrate the technical planning of our venues following the recent appointment of sports venues specialists HOK to provide technical briefs for the 2012 Games venues,” Mr Mills said.
Mr Mills said that said that starting early in the 7-year planning cycle for the Games would help to ensure that accessibility and sustainability of core Games services and venues could be designed around the requirements of athletes and spectators from diverse backgrounds as well as the long-tern needs of host city communities.
Mr Sainsbury said: “We will provide a compact and inclusive Paralympic Games with high quality accessible venues, transport services and excellent Village facilities for athletes as well as team and technical officials.”
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson said: “We will maximise all the power and resources of the Olympic Games for the first time in the interests of the (Paralympic) athletes – the services will remain, only the scope will be reduced based on the different athlete numbers.
“Our strap line is and will remain: ‘Same level of service for Olympians and Paralympians.’”
The integrated approach to planning for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games follows requirements set out in the technical briefs for cities bidding to host the 2012 Games.
Mr Mills said that staging the Paralympic Games - which he described as “one of the world’s most exciting and inspiring sporting events and experiences for elite athletes” – in London would help raise international awareness about the values and benefits of sport.
“We want the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to be a catalyst to inspire a new generation of young people to choose sport,” he said.