The 2012 Summer Games will see the return of 29 sports and will include 302 events. Baseball and Softball won't be part of the 2012 Olympic program. They are the first sports to be cut from the Games since Polo was dropped in 1936.
The thousand-year-old walled fortress of the Tower of London is usually a place where dark secrets are kept. But this morning, amidst a dazzling light and sound show, a bright secret, two years in the making, was finally revealed to the world.
The Royal Mint has been producing coins for over 1,000 years.
From the end of the thirteenth century until the start of the nineteenth, the Royal Mint was located in the Tower of London. Stretched out in the narrow passage between the inner and outer walls of the tower, the Royal Mint occupied buildings which ran for 400 feet around the three sides of the fortress not bounded by the Thames River.
With additional space being required to allow the installation of steam-powered machinery, the Royal Mint left the Tower at the beginning of the nineteenth century and moved to a purpose-built facility on nearby Tower Hill.
In the 1880s the factory buildings were reconstructed and extended. Further rebuilding was undertaken at the turn of the century with steam giving way to electricity.
The striking of more and more coins for overseas countries placed a tremendous strain upon the four-and-a-half acre Tower Hill site. But it was the exceptionally large requirements arising from decimalization of English coinage that finally necessitated the building of a new mint in Llantrisant Wales.
In addition to minting and distributing United Kingdom coins, the Royal Mint produces coins and medals for sixty other countries.
The craftsmanship of the artisans at the Royal Mint is world-renowned. Their attention to detail, exacting production standards and quality assurance systems result in some of the most stunning works of numismatic art ever produced.
For London 2012, the Royal Mint is taking a bold step into the future, producing a series of innovative commemoratives in gold and silver, as well as circulating coins to celebrate the world's premiere sporting event: The London 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
Where is the Royal Mint?
Opened by the Queen in 1968 in readiness for the introduction of the decimal coinage, the Royal Mint's headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales, employs more than 700 people.
Ministry of Defence Police oversee the security of the 35-acre site, which operates round-the-clock for 52 weeks a year. The Royal Mint can produce 90 million coins and blanks a week - almost five billion coins a year.
The London 2012 products can only be shipped to an address within the United States or Canada.