By Duncan Mackay

Louis_Smith_signs_as_UPS_ambassador_September_2011September 5 - Gymnast Louis Smith, the Olympic silver medallist, has joined UPS as its fourth ambassador for London 2012 as the company passed another logistics milestone by handling its 250,000th item for the Games.

Smith, who became the first British gymnast for a century to win an Olympic medal when he finished second on the pommel horse at Beijing in 2008, joins Ben Ainslie, Denise Lewis and Steve Rider as ambassadors for UPS, a Tier One London 2012 sponsor.

The 22-year-old from Peterborough celebrated his new relationship by visiting UPS's 2012 Logistics Centre in Tilbury, where he saw the important milestone by the UPS operational team following the completion of first-round testing.

Last month, UPS successfully managed the logistics for two test events at the BMX track and Basketball Arena, both situated at the Olympic Park, which concluded an intense schedule of eight London Prepares events over 15 days.

This followed similar operational testing at other key London 2012 venues this summer, including equestrian and modern pentathlon events at Greenwich Park, the sailing regatta at Weymouth and Portland and mountain biking at Hadleigh Farm in Essex.

The events, organised as the first cluster of the London Prepares series, enabled UPS to test and observe the most crucial logistical processes that will operate at every stage of competition during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – from initial venue delivery and installation, to transition between different sports and events through to final venue breakdown.

"It has been a fantastic experience to visit UPS's London 2012 Logistics Centre and see the hard work that has taken place over the last couple of months, testing the logistics set-up that will make each sport possible come competition time," said Smith.

"It's great to see that it is not just athletes like myself who have spent the summer busily preparing for London 2012."

As the Official Logistics and Express Delivery Supporter of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the live test events have allowed UPS to demonstrate its capabilities, executing complex logistics for London 2012 to very tight deadlines.

At Greenwich Park, for example, UPS managed the transition of the venue from equestrian to pentathlon competitions within a 48-hour timeframe, moving more than 5,000 pieces of sports equipment and almost 1,000 pieces of technical equipment through a single access point.

"Testing logistics at live events such as these has been invaluable, because it's the first time during our preparations for the London 2012 Games that we've been able to operate in an environment alongside athletes and organisers," said Alan Williams, director of London 2012 Sponsorship and Operations at UPS.

"They need the freedom to focus exclusively on the competition, without worrying about where their equipment is.

"It has been an intense period for the team, but also a rewarding one as we've seen first-hand the value of our rigorous planning.

"We now are looking forward to tackling the next cluster of London 2012 test events and the logistical challenges they pose."

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