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

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Glasgow Commonwealth Games following on from London Olympics

Last night I really enjoyed watching the opening ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow, Scotland, over the next ten days.

It is tempting to make immediate comparisons with the Olympics events staged in London two years ago.  First of all it has to be said that the Glasgow Commonwealth Games is on a much smaller scale, with just over 70 countries competing.  Also there aren't the major sporting nations such as the US and Russia taking part.  Even the number of athletes from each country participating is significantly smaller than for the Olympics.

Having said that, it looks as though this Commonwealth Games will be a great success.  For the Opening ceremonies they were fortunate to have warm and sunny weather.  There were thousands of performers in the Celtic Park Stadium, generally promoting all the best aspects of Scotland, and particularly Glasgow.  Emphasis was put on Glasgow being a fundamentally friendly city.

Performers included Rod Stewart, famous around the world for going on 50 years, Susan Boyle, and John Barrowman.  There was plenty of humour, and you couldn't help thinking it was almost staged when there was a delay for the Queen's Message to be extracted from the Baton so that she could read it aloud.  And it was a nice touch to have Scottish Terriers leading each of the national teams on its circuit around the Stadium.

So although on a much smaller scale than the London Olympics, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games promises lots more visual entertainment, and I would think many impressive athletic achievements as well.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tour de France passing by major London developments

Today (7th July 2014) the Tour de France race is proceeding through London.  Along the way the cyclists, their attendant teams, and the eyes of millions of onlookers (both local and watching via TV around the world) will see some of London's major developments.

The third day stage starts in Cambridge.  By mid afternoon the cyclists will have entered London, and heading in a south-west direction at high speed.

The first significant development along the route is a Stratford, main site of the 2012 Olympics.  After the Olympics were over much of the site needed to be cleared, although the stadium, Aquatic Centre, Copper Box (for indoor events), and the magnificent Orbit structure have been retained.

At the Olympics site, work is shortly to get underway on many residential and office developments.  Organisations such as Transport for London and the Financial Conduct Authority are set to open head offices in 2018.  A new campus for the well respected University College is being built a stones throw from the stadium.  There will even be a new branch of the Victoria & Albert Museum, intended mainly for modern design.

The next major developments along the route are at Royal Docks.  Around £1 billion is being spent to build an asian business park, catering primarily for Chinese companies which need a European base.  Extensive residential developments are taking place nearby, including the Royal Wharf which will have a 500 metres Thames frontage.  The cyclists will pass directly over the tunnel for the Crossrail service, as they race past City Airport.

A few kilometres to the west, Canary Wharf will get a lot of attention.  The highly distinctive new Crossrail station is nearing completion, and this is close to Wood Wharf which will serve as the next major stage of the Canary Wharf development, mainly catering for smaller businesses instead of major financial institutions.

As the cyclists head further west they will briefly see historic Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, before continuing past the City of London, arguably the main financial centre in the world.  Many office developments are taking place, including a substantial new London base for Bloomberg.

Over the next few minutes the cyclists will be riding close to the Thames, passing London Eye on the south side, and then rounding the corner at Parliament House.  Continuing on, they will have Buckingham Palace on their left before turning into the Mall with green parks on both sides for a final frantic dash for the finishing line.

Anyone watching will derive a great deal of excitement from seeing the cyclists compete at their athletic limits, and at the same time see many of London's most historic sights and impressive new developments.