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  1. ITV Report

First athletes arrive as Olympic countdown begins

Members of the USA Olympic Team are met by LOCOG members. Photo: Press Association

The first of more than one thousand athletes and officials have started to arrive in the UK on what is expected to be one of the busiest days at Heathrow.

In the first major challenge for the transport system, many of the athletes are flying in before making their way across London to the Athletes' Village in Stratford, East London.

  • 236,955 passengers (121,239 arrivals and 115,716 departures) are expected to pass through the airport today compared to 190,000 on an average day
  • 335 athletes are expected today as part of 1,027 Games Family arrivals. The busiest day for arriving athletes is expected to be 24 July
  • More than 500 Heathrow and Locog volunteers, speaking more than 20 languages between them, will welcome groups of Olympic athletes and officials from their planes today
  • Approximately 15% of baggage on peak days will be large pieces of sporting equipment such as canoes, pole vaults, bikes and javelins and around 1,000 guns and associated ammunition will be arriving with competitors over the coming days

The first of the Olympics 'Games Lanes' also came into operation today on a 3.5 mile stretch of the M4 today.

Work on the damaged flyover near junction 2 of the motorway was finished just in time for the affected lane to reopen on Friday.

The 'Games Lane' will operate between junctions 3 and 2 on the London-bound carriageway, between 5am and 10pm.

The Athletes' Village in the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

All 30 miles of the specially-designated Games Lanes will open on 25th July, two days before the Game begin. Find everything you need to know about the Lanes here.

The London 2012 Athletes' Village also opens today with Team GB athletes competing in diving, equestrian, football, shooting and swimming expected to be the first to enter.

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