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500 Days Countdown to the Start of the London 2012 Olympics

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15th March 2011 marks the 500 day countdown to the start of the London Olympics. This landmark is also the launch date for tickets to go on sale for the many Olympic events covering 26 Olympic sports, 302 events across 36 different venues, and 19 days of competition from 27th July - 12th August 2012.

Team Cornwall, comprising Cornwall Sports Partnership, Cornwall Schools Sports Partnership, Cornwall Council Leisure, VisitCornwall, Cornwall Museums and Cornwall Council Economic Development has been set up to raise the profile and opportunities for the county to benefit from the London 2012 Games.

Mike Thomas, Strategic Director for Cornwall Sports Partnership explains: "Cornwall's activity around the Games will continue in April 2011 with 'Sportivate' which will run until March 2015. Sportivate focuses on sports leadership and will provide opportunities for teenagers and young adults to receive six weeks of coaching in a chosen sport. It aims to encourage regular sport participation and progression, bringing the Olympic spirit to the heart of local communities, inspiring more people to get involved in sport and a healthy lifestyle."

Building on Cornwall's rich tradition of sporting events and festivals, in the Olympic year the county is staging a range of events to celebrate the Games. Over 60 events are planned so far with a major sailing event, Falmouth Finn Festival in May 2012. The event will be hosted in the lead up to the Olympic Games and is timed to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Britain. Ben Ainslie, Britain's greatest Olympic sailor and three times gold medallist will return to Falmouth to compete in his home waters, having learnt to sail at Restronguet Sailing Club.

Malcolm Bell, Head of VisitCornwall, the Cornwall Development Company tourism service, comments "The Games offers an amazing opportunity for celebration and community enrichment and with the programme of events planned for the Olympic year, Cornwall is geared up to harness its full potential. Cornwall's festivities will be supported by a national media campaign to showcase our sporting achievements and encourage visitors to join us in the led up to the Games."

Another milestone for Cornwall will be the culmination of a Festival for Sport on 26th June this year.  This inter schools competition will cover 12 sports, including gig rowing and surf lifesaving as well as more mainstream Olympic and Paralympic events. Cornwall is one of nine pilot areas for the competition which will be extended across the country in 2012, with the national final to be held at the Olympic Park.

A countywide Museums project inspired by the Olympics will also run in 2012 with an exhibition of 100 sporting objects being staged. Links will be made between Museums and Sports Clubs to unlock hidden treasures which will highlight the county's connections with the Games over the decades. St Ives Rugby Club is believed to hold a silver medal awarded to the Cornwall Team at the 1908 Games. Additionally, Radio Cornwall will be hosting a phone in on 15th March 2011 for listeners to share their stories about the Olympic Games.