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London Olympics: flame nearing host city

London Olympics organizers hope torch will distract naysayers with week to go.
London Olympics torch relay londonEnlarge
Torchbearer Jessica Cheesman passes the Olympic flame to Sarah Mooney outside of Rochester Castle during Day 63 of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on July 20, 2012 in Rochester, England. The Olympic flame is now on day 63 of a 70-day relay involving 8,000 torchbearers covering 8,000 miles. (LOCOG/AFP/Getty Images)

London Olympic organizers are anxious to welcome the flame today in London in hopes it shines a light on competition and excitement as opposed to labor strife and traffic snarls.

The torch relay nears the heart of the Summer Games with one week until the opening ceremonies.

“We are about to stage the greatest show on Earth in the greatest city on Earth, and if you believe much of the media we are all in the grip of paralyzing stage fright,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in The Sun. “We’ve got an advanced case of Olympo-funk.”

He said the transportation system is performing and the military will ensure everyone’s safety.

In fact, he has a message "for you whingers, put a sock in it, fast."

That’s the opposite opinion of some, who point to recent announcements from border guards and bus drivers who on Thursday threatened to strike.

That’s in addition to security contractor G4S admitting it hasn’t been able to hire enough security or train its existing staff quickly enough.

More from GlobalPost: London Olympic security strike adding to woes

Lord Coe, the man behind the organizing committee, said he’s confident of a great Games regardless.

An estimated 17,000 troops are helping keep everyone in line.

“We have got the numbers, courtesy of the military and our police services, we have got the numbers to make sure that this is a safe and secure Games,” Coe told BBC.

To add enough drama to draw attention away from critics, the torch relay was set to arrive via helicopter in London, The Associated Press said.

Martyn Williams of the Royal Marines will rappel from the aircraft to the Tower of London below, marking the near conclusion of the 8,000-mile journey through the United Kingdom.

“The symbolism is that the country has now all had a piece of the Olympics, and now the capital takes over,” Olympic historian Martin Polley told the AP.

More from GlobalPost: Nick Buckles, chief of G4S, apologizes for Olympic security debacle (VIDEO)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/london-olympics-flame-nearing-host-city

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