When seated alongside athletic greats Jonathan Edwards and David Moorcroft, Daniel Gidney may not have been the star turn at the Ricoh Arena, but the chief executive of the Coventry venue had some justification for his top-table billing.
The venue – which will have to be renamed the City of Coventry Stadium for the games – had beaten off five other Midland venues for the right to host Olympic football matches at the 2012 games.
While the Ricoh had all the qualities to make Mr Gidney believe it should be an Olympic host, there were some major hurdles to overcome.
“We were confident that we had everything needed to be an Olympic venue, but we had to prove it and did have the issue of the naming rights,” he said.
“The only way to overcome that and to satisfy the London 2012 Organising Committee that we were their best option, was to really work together.
“Partnership working might be a cliché, but never was it more necessary than during this exercise.”
Mr Gidney and his small management team at the venue decided to compile their own bid document – a 32-page glossy brochure was written and designed for LOCOG, and only 10 copies printed which were hand delivered on the day of the submission by a member of the team.
“We had to make sure we could offer credibility and deliverability,” he said. “As well as laying out what we had to offer in terms of location and facilities, we also had to offer certain assurances as well as provide references from top international event organisers.
“I hope it was a testament to our relationships that we were able to have letters from our two principle sponsors and Coventry City assuring everyone that they would withdraw their names for the duration of the games.
“The leaders of the two main political parties at Coventry City Council both signed a letter pledging full support whatever might have happened in the May elections, while the council was the only authority to accept the full obligations of being a host city at bid stage.”
The venue also liaised closely with West Midlands Police and Warwick University, as well as the stadium’s co-owners the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and the Coventry and Warwickshire 2012 Partnership, led by Tom Clift.
Mr Gidney added: “Tom has launched a stream of sporting and cultural initiatives around the games in the last few years so I think it was widely appreciated that this area had already embraced 2012.
“Having done all that, we still had to thrash out a contract which was done in the lead up to the announcement and finally, we had to keep it under our hat, which was not easy.
“It was great that we achieved all those things, and it made the announcement genuinely exciting.”
It has been a five years that have exceeded all expectations at the stadium which has become one of the region’s most important venues, hosting everything from international football and rugby to three sell-out Take That concerts – good news not only for Coventry said Mr Gidney.
“We will be hosting two out of the three biggest sporting events in the world and that has to be good not just for us, but for the city of Coventry and the West Midlands as a whole,” he said.