Showing posts with label 2012 Olympics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 Olympics. Show all posts

Friday, 22 August 2014

Olympics 2012 Legacy - Extensive green Park in East London

These days it is considered crucially important that when a city is chosen to host the Olympic Games it is able to prove that the event will leave a valuable legacy.  This is certainly the case with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London where the athletics, swimming, cycling, and various other sports were staged.

Already around 3 million people have visited the park, at this stage mainly for recreational purposes.  Even though the main stadium won't be again open for public visitors until the Rugby World Cup in 2015 there are plenty of other venues to visit.

The Aquatics Centre has been open to the public for several months now, and anyone can go for a swim there for just a few pounds in cost.  You might even have the good luck to see Tom Daley practise his diving.  The Copper Box regularly hosts indoor sporting events such as basketball and handball.  There is a cafe as well.  And cyclists are taking advantage of all the facilities of the Velodrome, for cycling both indoors and outdoors on the mountain biking and BMX courses.

Next month the site will be hosting the Invictus Games with wounded, injured and disabled service men and women from 14 countries around the world competing.  Prince Harry is very much involved in this event, and I'm sure it will prove to be very popular.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is also open to the public, and from there you get excellent views of the surrounding park and stadium, as well as towards the City of London and Canary Wharf.

So if you are in London, either living here or visiting, it is certainly worth checking out all the attractions and features of the new Olympic Park.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

London 2012 Olympics - Legacy Developments at Stratford Site

These days the legacy that the Olympics will leave behind after the event is very important.  Indeed the relevance of useful legacy is one of the key considerations that the International Olympics Committee (IOC) uses when choosing the cities to stage the Olympics in coming years.

There can be no doubt that London has scored highly on this criteria, with the most obvious post-Olympics uses to be seen at the main Olympics site in Stratford.

Some of the sporting structures such as the Basketball arena and the Water Polo facilities have already been removed.  Also the large side 'wings' of the Aquatic Centre, capable of holding 16,000 spectators to view the swimming and diving events, have been removed.  The Aquatic Centre can still seat around 2,000 spectators for periodic events, and the two Olympic-size swimming pools are very much valued by both local people and champion swimmers who train there.

The main Olympic Stadium, where the Opening and Closing ceremonies and most of the athletics events were stated, remains.  For it to better serve future requirements the seating capacity has been reduced from 80,000 to 60,000 and it will soon be the home ground for West Ham football club which is relocating from Upton Park, a few miles away.

The Copper Box is again available for a variety of indoor sporting events, and is particularly popular with basketball players.  The Orbit, that red curving metal structure which towers over the Stadium, is now one of London's key landmarks and a must-see for many visitors to London.

The Olympic Park is a much valued addition to East London, and it is very pleasant to walk along the canal-side paths.  There is an amazing range of plants to see, and everything possible is being done to encourage wild-life to live there.

The Press and Broadcasting Centre is being turned into an i-City, with digital businesses in particular being encouraged to base their business there.  Already British Telecom (BT) Sport has taken over part of the Broadcasting Centre and is using this for the online transmission of football game coverage.  Loughborough University is setting up its Business School there, and I have no doubt that within a couple of years the one million square feet of office and studio space will be fully occupied.

Lastly the Athletes Village has been turned into valuable residences for the local community, and already many hundreds of people have taken up the opportunity to live in such a unique location.  There they have the Olympic Park virtually on their door steps, the enormous Westfield Shopping Centre is just a short walk away, and the area is very well connected for public transport.

All in all the Olympics have left a wonderful legacy for London, the 2012 host city, and I'm sure the Games will be appreciated long into the future.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Further Developments at Olympic Park

The Olympic Park in Stratford, and the area around, are definitely on a roll!  There has just been a public launch to identify suitable designers for a cultural centre to be built at a cost of around £115 million.

The riverside site will create an Olympicopolis (the language is that of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London) with sections for a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Sadler's Wells theatre, and the Washington-based Smithsonian Institute.  

The design will require a team of architects, master planners, and engineers to create something brilliantly creating, stunningly visual, and yet still deliberately functional.

Nearby will be a new campus for University College, part of London University, which has an excellent academic reputation.  Also in the vicinity will be a range of modern offices for organisations such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and Transport for London which coordinates all the public transport within London.

It seems an ambitious project at this early stage.  There will be a 25,000 square meter exhibition space for the V&A, mainly concentrating on modern design for which the UK stands out.  The 650-seat theatre for Sadler's Wells will also be home for a choreography school and hip-hop academy.

We will have to wait to see what comes about, but this certainly promises to be a further addition to an even more valuable legacy of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

London Olympics Park open to the Public

One of London's greatest features is the number of parks scattered around the city, some particularly large such as Hyde Park, Regent Park, Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath.  There are many smaller parks with loads of plant life and attractions.

Recently this collection has been joined by another green space, measuring around 200 hectares in all.  This park was specially regenerated for the 2012 Olympics from former industrial land in the Stratford area of East London.  After the Olympics were over, the park was closed to the public for around 18 months while various necessary modifications such as the removal of certain buildings and bridges could take place.

Now that it is open again, any visitor is treated to many delights.  For a start, the park is large and takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk from the northern end to the southern edge.  There is an extensive network of gravel paths, pleasingly lined with a broad selection of semi-mature trees.  The Lee River branches within the park so that two separate sections can be walked along.  There are also some canals so there is plenty of water to add a sense of tranquility.

Buildings remained from the Olympics include the main Stadium, the Aquatic Centre (where Tom Daley is often seen training), the Copper Box, and the Velodrome with various outdoor cycle tracks nearby along with a BMX circuit.

One of the most distinctive features is the Orbit, a stunning curved spiralling structure which is not easy to describe.  Fortunately you can get a good impression of its external appearance, and views from the top, in this video.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Legacy of London 2012 Olympics

When, at a special event in Singapore in 2005, London was chosen to stage the 2012 Olympics there was great excitement, indeed jubilation!

However many people had a negative attitude to the selection of London.  After all, the cost was going to be around £8 billion (something like $12 billion), and there are arguably much better ways of spending the money, such as on schools and hospitals.

Now, July and August 2012 have come and gone, and overall I think we can say that the Olympics were a great success.  Admittedly there were pre-event problems with insufficient people having been trained to maintain security, but fortunately the military forces could be called in at short notice to provide whatever services were required.  The Opening and Closing ceremonies for both the Olympics and Paralympics were both impressive, even if not on the scale of Beijing 2008.  And, surprise surprise, there was little rain.

A key aspect of the Olympics is not only the event itself, but the Legacy.  In the past a lot of money has been spent building expensive structures for the Olympics which get very little use afterwards: probably the best example of this is Athens in 2004.  However extensive planning for the London Olympics ensured that as much as possible could be retained after the event which has definite value for local people.

For example, the Olympics Stadium is currently being reduced in spectator capacity so that it can be used by West Ham football team after 2016, and also used for athletic events in the summers.  The Aquatic Centre, complete with two 50 metre pools, and a separate diving pool, is already very popular with people from the surrounding area, particularly Stratford.  The Velodrome has been reopened, and is being used for both indoor and outdoor training and competitive events.  The Copper Box is used for a wide variety of indoor events, including basket ball and netball.  And the spectacular spiralling Orbit is offering visitors amazing views of London, as well as the surrounding Olympic Park.

And, apart from anything else, the Olympics has helped to revitalise London.  It has attracted more visitors to London, and probably encouraged greater investments in London from overseas companies.  And it has helped to prove that there is no better place in the world in which to stage major sports events.