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Olympics hurdle: US athletes' bus driver gets lost in London

The first Olympic athletes have begun to arrive in London. Tens of thousands of athletes and team officials are expected - and even more spectators. ITV's Katie Razzall reports.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET: LONDON - Olympic athletes, including some from Team USA, had a bad start to the London Games Monday after bus drivers taking them to the competitors’ village in east London got lost.

Kerron Clement, US 400m hurdler and Beijing silver medallist, claimed he spent four hours on a bus after the driver got lost after collecting them from Heathrow airport.


He posted on Twitter:  “Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London. Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please.”

Meanwhile, members of Australian contingent of 30 officials and medical staff had to use their iPhones to direct their bus driver after he also became lost.

One of the officials, Damian Kelly, told the Daily Telegraph: "It would have been a great tourist trip if that is what you are here for. “

He said the driver was unable to work the onboard GPS navigation system.

Follow the 8,000-mile torch relay around the UK

“One of the doctors on board got [the GPS system] working for him, but then the Olympic Village hadn't been loaded into the system and everyone was trying to find the name of the street that the village was in.

“In the end another physio got out his iPhone and gave directors to the bus driver via his phone."

Peter MacDiarmid / Getty Images

Members of the Cuban Olympic weightlifting team arrive at Heathrow airport on Monday.

They were among the first of more than 10,000 athletes and officials due to arrive in Britain this week. Monday was already expected to be the busiest day in the history of London's Heathrow airport, and it was the first major challenge for the road system as the first of several dedicated Olympics traffic lanes also came into operation.

Speaking about the lost buses, London Mayor Boris Johnson quipped: "Clearly they would have had even more of an opportunity to see even more of the city than they might otherwise have done."

Troops everywhere, long lines and moans: A very British Olympic Games

The Daily Telegraph reported that Hugh Robertson, Britain's sports and Olympics minister, apologized to those athletes caught up in the transport problems. He said: "If people have been on buses that have got lost then it is of course regrettable. I am extremely sorry, and clearly the drivers need to know where they are going."

The Games are due to begin in 11 days' time, on Friday, July 27.

More than 500 Heathrow and Locog volunteers, speaking more than 20 languages between them, were welcoming groups of Olympic athletes and officials from their planes at Heathrow.

Approximately 15 percent 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.

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Influx under way
Officials said 236,955 passengers (121,239 arrivals and 115,716 departures) were expected to pass through the airport Monday, compared to 190,000 on an average day. The largest number of arriving athletes is expected on July 24.

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From Wimbledon to Wembley Stadium to The Dome, a look at the venues for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Approximately 15 percent 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.

Dean Brenner, director of the U.S. Olympic sailing team, earlier told ITV News at Heathrow: "We're feeling great, it's great to be in London.

"Obviously we've been working a while for this and now it's time for the big test and we are looking forward to getting to [the sailing team base at] Weymouth for a couple more week of training and getting on with the Games."

The London 2012 Athletes' Village also officially opens Monday with British athletes competing in diving, equestrian, soccer, shooting and swimming expected to be the first to enter.

ITV News is the UK partner of NBC News.

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