Mole Valley, a community of 80,000 near London that is hosting the Olympic cycling road race. It has asked residents to plant dahlias, petunias and sunflowers in Olympic-approved shades so when the riders swish past on July 28-29, television viewers will be left seeing swishes of pink, purple and orange.
"What will people be reminded of when they pull out the T-shirt, the pin?" asked Greenwich University marketing department professor Peter Vlachos. "Will they remember London or the Olympics?"...
Mole Valley is beside itself with excitement, planning British street parties, contests for kids, welcome centers for tourists.
"The games will put Surrey on the map," said Denise Saliagopoulos of the Surrey County Council....
Olympic organizers also are working to keep out any advertisers trying to sneak in a publicity stunt. Organizers have imposed strict advertising regulations along the route to protect Olympic sponsors from unwanted competition.
The marathon route originally was supposed to go through gritty areas in east London where the Olympic Park is located. But _ mindful of television images _ organizers rerouted the race so it now passes classic London landmarks.
Civic leaders in east London, however, were outraged. After six years of living next to one of Europe's biggest construction projects, they were hoping to reap the benefits of being on the world stage.
"It just makes you feel as if they were completely ashamed of that part of London," said Andrew Boff, a Conservative politician. "It didn't fit with TV angles."
I wish I had a garden in Mole Vally - I know what I would plant, and it wouldn't be Seb Coe's approved colours....