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

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Walking in the Olympic Park in Stratford, London

For any local London person, and visitors to London if they have the time, I would definitely recommend checking out the Olympic Park.

This was developed specially for the 2012 Olympics held in London.  Previously the area was mainly used for run-down, low quality, industry.  Part of the area was covered with railway sidings, used for the parking of suburban trains overnight.  Very few people would have even passed through there, unless delivering old car and truck tires for storage, or such like.

In the years leading up to the Olympics the area was completely transformed.  Low lying parts which were boggy and subject to flooding were raised up by massive piles of earth which had been excavated to build the Eurostar train line which was tunnelled directly underneath.

The Lee River and canals were thoroughly cleaned up, and extensive planting of lawns, shrubs and trees took place.  The park was one of the greatest attractions of the Olympics, with many visitors for events at the Stadium, Aquatic Centre, Copper Box, Velodrome, and so on.

A few months ago the park was reopened to the public, and I often wander around different parts.  There are lots of attractive plants, and an amazing variety of types.  There is even a wetlands area for plants which need ponds and damp soil to grow in.  There are extensive gravel paths running the length of the park, so it is easy enough to walk the length of the park, although you are perfectly welcome to wander around the grassy areas as well.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Olympic Park is the Orbit.  This towering curling structure, painted a rich red, overlooks all of the park, and there are good views towards the business hub City of London, as well as Canary Wharf.  And on the eastern side of the park there is the massive Westfield Shopping Centre, currently the largest urban shopping centre in Europe.

For visitors to London it is very easy to get to Stratford.  Probably most will use the Central or Jubilee underground train lines.  However there are also platforms at Stratford station for Dockland Light Railway and Overground trains.

There are sure to be further posting about the Olympic Park in the future, examining in greater detail particular features of this wonderful park.

This video will help to give you a better visual impression -




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.