Olympics 2012: A Riot Of Medals Replace Street Riots a Year On

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

London 2012 organizers breathe a sigh of relief as London 2012 enjoys gold medal success in a city engulfed by civil unrest this time last year.

LONDON – Organizers of the Olympic Games 2012 are breathing a sigh of relief that a year can make all the difference.

The U.K. woke up Wednesday to the press and television news being dominated by Britain's record –breaking 22 gold medal haul success during the London 2012 Olympics so far.

It is a far cry from the depressing headlines last year on the same date as the London riots gripped the nation and the world media.

This time last year, THR's headline story from the British capital read "London Riots: Worst Civil Unrest in Memory as City Gears Up for 2012 Olympics."

A year later, THR featured news of homegrown success with "Olympics 2012: British Team Surpasses Beijing."

Less than a year before London was to play host to the 2012 Olympics, the National Olympic Committee members gathered in London to prepare for the games and "watched in horror" after the city was struck by four nights of widespread violence, looting and arson.

A year later, London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and  Paralympic Games chairman Sebastian Coe is overseeing a slew of golden moments emanating from the East end of the British capital, one of the epicenters for the street trouble last year.

"The world saw a very different London a year ago, and you know exactly what I'm referring to," Coe told reporters this week. "And I think I said at the time, it saw a London I didn't recognize. What I am seeing at the moment is a London that I do recognize."

Wednesday morning dawned with the tabloid's trumpeting home-grown success as Team Great Britain collected its 22nd gold medal.

The entire front page of The Sun, owned by News International, News Corp.'s publishing division, was taken up by 22 gold medals and the words in black: "United Blingdom," while arch tabloid rival The Mirror went with "Our Pride and Hoy" over a picture of the cyclist.

The Guardian's front page featured the headline "Britain's Golden Games."

Last year, in stark contrast, The Sun's headline read "Rioters Age 7," while The Mirror in the same week carried the gloomy news, "Olympic Girl 'Hurled Bricks at Cops,'" referring to a story about one of the rioters appearing in court being a 2012 ambassador.

The contrasts in the British capital between this year and last will continue to dominate the front pages and news agendas for the days to come, with U.K. broadcasters and news operations kept busy whatever end of the good-bad news spectrum throws at them.

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