By Tom Degun

Tom DegunWhatever Paul Deighton decides to do following the conclusion of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the chief executive of the Organising Committee will not be left struggling to dramatically to find gainful employment.

After all, given the enormous scale of the task at hand and the catastrophe that would meet any big failure, Deighton has guided the London 2012 ship through turbulent waters apparent ease.

Indeed, it has been almost irritating for journalists waiting for something "juicy" to go wrong; instead some frustrated hacks are left to resort to blowing things like temporary glitches during the Olympic ticket sale process grossly out of proportion.

The 56-year-old (pictured below) was seen as an astute appointment for the Organising Committee from the very start when he was headhunted for the prestigious role while working high up in the investment banking industry as European chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, where he was also a senior member of its European Management Committee.

That appointment came in December 2005, shortly after London won the right to stage the Olympics and Paralympics on that famous day in Singapore.

But even so, many familiar with the world of the Olympic and Paralympic Games believed that Deighton would not last the course, simply due to the fact that Organising Committee chief executives historically have had a short lifespan, with three different individuals being considered relatively normal in the modern era.

But not only has he survived for over six years and counting, Deighton's tenure has never looked threatened, and alongside his chairman, Sebastian Coe – who has also impressively gone the distance since moving from Bid Committee leader to head of the Organising Committee – he has been half-of-a-double act that has already secured a favourable place in Games history.

Under Deighton, London 2012 has already ticked pretty much every box required according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the vast majority of experts. But what have the organisers done so well that it has separated them from all organising committees that have gone before them? That question takes us to the Paralympics Games, now just 100 days away.

Paul Deighton_1_19_May
"I think if you look at our Games versus past Games, the biggest improvement we've made would have to be ticket sales in the Paralympics," Deighton told me as we spoke just a short distance from the Olympic Stadium in Stratford that will stage the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony on August 29.

"Selling that number of tickets [around one million] that early for the Paralympic Games is totally unprecedented. We were always confident because the Paralympic Games is a phenomenal event featuring quite simply brilliant sport. The United Kingdom is the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement, and with superb medal prospects for ParalympicsGB we believed that the British public would come out in big numbers to watch.

"We created a fair pricing structure and a creative ticketing strategy to encourage people to come along to create a fantastic atmosphere at our venues. But we were obviously delighted when we saw the sales figures and the team deserve a lot of credit for that."

But it is not only in ticket sales in which the London 2012 Paralympics has dwarfed all others before them.

Just last month, London 2012 announced a record-breaking collection of Rights Holding Broadcasters to screen the Paralympic Games across the globe with an unprecedented £10 million ($15.8 million/€12.4 million) in revenue set to be generated. It represented a further boost for the Paralympic Movement after it was previously revealed that the London 2012 Paralympics will receive its highest level of exposure in the UK through Channel 4, the host broadcaster, and in China through the country's largest national broadcasting network CCTV.

"Beyond how the commercial value of this package has raised the bar financially for the Paralympic Movement, the fantastic broadcast coverage we have agreed will help us take advantage of this opportunity to inspire disabled people of all ages to take up sport and be a catalyst for continued change in public attitudes towards disability," Deighton said.

"There is now huge opportunity here for the Paralympic Movement in terms of establishing value for those television rights which can create a sustainable economic model. We hope that it is the beginning of a big step forward there. But obviously that needs to be taken forward beyond London by others and it will be very interesting to watch."

Following the London 2012 example will not be a bad idea for future organising committees. Deighton's team has been continually praised for treating the Paralympics with the same care and attention as the Olympics, and the chief executive says there was a clear plan in place from the outset to do just that.

"We think of the Olympics and Paralympics on an integrated basis much more from the operational and planning side of things because we want to make sure that the Paralympics gets the same focus and attention from our top people, utilising the resources they have got, to deliver both Games with equal effectiveness," he explained.

"But on the marketing and presentation side, although we give them equal emphasis, we do take distinctly different approaches because, as a marketing proposition, they offer different things.

"The Olympics is clearly a very mature product, so you handle that one way, whereas the Paralympics is much less mature and more of an evolving product so we have more of an opportunity to take things forward there and to be innovative. That is why we are so delighted with the ticket sales and with the broadcast rights sales."

Sainsburys 19_May
Another first for London 2012 was having the first ever Paralympic-only sponsor in Sainsbury's (pictured above), following a deal signed in 2010. Deighton admitted it was a boost for the Organising Committee but said that all of the sponsors have been working hard to market the Paralympic Games.

"We've been delighted with Paralympic-only sponsor deals like those with Sainsbury's," he said. "But, of course, with all of our sponsors, they have both Olympic and Paralympic rights now and, to be fair, we have seen a huge focus from them in spreading their efforts across to the Paralympics in ways that perhaps haven't happened in the past. So we've been very happy with the sponsor support for the Paralympics."

As for himself, Deighton confesses he still has not made any plans beyond London 2012.

"We've still got so much to do before the Games begin that I don't really allow my focus to drift very far from that," he said.

"It's quite hard to concentrate on anything else actually which is probably a good thing.

"Everything has gone very well up to now but we must continue to keep working hard and not get complacent because that would be very dangerous. We have a terrific team and the work is getting done so well because of the quality of the individuals we have across our organisation.

"There are also outstanding people involved in other organisations, like the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), who have done a wonderful job in building the venues on time and on budget.

"People also seldom give the Government credit but they have been fantastic and they have been consistent in their support of the project as they have provided money and operational support throughout.

"So the fact that I have survived so far is a testimony more to the broad success of the project and I've been lucky enough to be part of that.

"But I'm not counting my chickens just yet. There is still a lot of tough stuff to get past and this is a unique challenge.

"The success of this particular project really does stand or fall on this summer so we are very, very focused in making sure that it all goes as smoothly as possible."

Tom Degun is a reporter for insideworldparasport