The Olympic Park in east London's Stratford neighborhood isn't actually directly on the river, but it is close. Some venues though, touch the river, including the equestrian venue at Greenwich Park.
London is set to become the alternative destination for the super yacht — the floating palaces that are deluxe hotels with staffs versed in perfect service, owned by people seeking someplace more novel than Cannes, St. Tropez or Monaco.
"They want a change from the milk run," said Benjamin Sutton, the director of communications for MGMT Yachts and Concierge. "It's the Olympics. Our river runs through the city and all the Olympic sites ... You can go to the south of France anytime!"
Yacht watchers will be on the lookout for the "Eclipse," the 538-foot (164-meter) ship owned by Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who owns the Chelsea soccer club; the "Octopus," the 414-foot (126- meter) yacht owned by Paul Allen, the American Microsoft billionaire; and the "Leander," the 246-foot (75 meter) yacht owned by Britain's Donald Gosling, who made his fortune in car parks.
"It's like being in a huge luxury hotel," said Jim Gilbert, the former editor and chief of ShowBoats International, an industry bible.
Once those yachts have pulled in, they let the services come to them — which is where firms like PSI come into play.
It's not as if London has gotten suddenly more dangerous. But for someone like Abramovich, who is worth billions, his family could face security threats if they were crammed onto the Jubilee Line, a main artery to the games.
PSI offered reporters a demonstration ride on the Thames, offering a taste of how the super rich might get to their seats at the beach volleyball competition.
It started with champagne at the Savoy, London's elegant hotel. Then a trip on a rigid inflatable boat down the Thames followed the bubbly, a zippy excursion that could give Disneyland ideas on roller coasters and white water rafting. Envision ex-Marines re-living glory days with a high-powered boat to play with, you get the picture.
PSI declined to talk about prices — saying that depends on what the client wants and how complicated the security arrangements are.
At this level, talking about money is a tad crass, anyway.
But no matter what, they offer great scenery. The Thames will provide the images of London that viewers around the world want to see this summer and will remember for years to come.
"The river is the very reason for London," Blyth, the naval historian, said. "London exists entirely because of the Thames."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.