Unlike Athens and Beijing, there are no concerns about London not being ready for the 2012 Olympic Games. With but 210 days to go before the Opening Ceremony, news that the building of the venues and supporting infrastructure is more than 90 per cent complete.
This was very evident when I recently covered the Test events in Boxing,Judo, Paralympics Goalball and Taekwondo. Those athletes and officials (inc the International Olympic Committee) I spoke with had nothing but praise for what they found at venues like the Excel Centre, the Handball Arena. the Velodrome and the Aquatics Centre.
Similar comments from those who have visited the Olympic Stadium.
Ahead of the New Year, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) released new aerial images and footage showing the transformation of the Olympic Park. The latest aerial shots show the Olympic Park ‘big build’ now over 90 per cent complete with the Olympic Delivery Authority on track to hand the site over to LOCOG early next year.
Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “A huge amount has been achieved over the past 12 months with iconic new venues completed and test events bringing world-class sport to the Olympic Park for the first time. We still have much to do but there is growing excitement as we count down to the Games next summer.”
ODA Chairman John Armitt commented: “The building of the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Games is well over 90 per cent complete. It is thanks to the expertise of the construction industry that this has been achieved – transforming a run-down area into the setting for the world’s greatest sporting event and creating new communities that will live and thrive long after the athletes have gone home. The year drawing to a close was the ODA’s busiest, with the workforce peaking and the bulk of the project delivered – on time and within budget. In 2012 we will complete our task, finishing the Olympic Village, Water Polo Arena, shooting venue at Woolwich and parklands, as we work alongside the Organising Committee to prepare for next summer.”
The latest aerial images and footage just re-released show the huge progress and activity on the Olympic Park site over the last 12 months including:
Construction of the Olympic Stadium completed in March 2011 and the running track unveiled in October with GB athletes & local school children the first to take to the track.
The completed Aquatics Centre unveiled during the ‘1 year to go’ celebrations in July 2011 with Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool.
Velodrome & BMX Track
The Velodrome becoming the first Olympic Park venue completed in Feb 2011 followed by the BMX Track which held the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup test event in August.
The temporary 12,000 seat Basketball Arena completed in June 2011 and becoming the first Olympic Park venue to host competitive sport with the London International Basketball Invitational test event taking place in August.
The 2,012th new home completed in October with the ODA also securing the legacy owners for the purchase and long-term management of the Olympic Village. The Village is on track to be completed and handed over to LOCOG early next year.
The Handball Arena was completed in May 2011 and has already held two test events with the London Handball Cup in November and the London International Goalball Tournament in December, the first Paralympic test event in the Olympic Park.
The first of the Olympic Hockey Centre’s striking blue and pink pitches was unveiled in October 2011 along with news that a yellow ball will be used during the Hockey competition for the first ever time at an Olympic Games.
Construction of the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre completed in July 2011. Work is underway to kit-out the IBC/MPC for more than 20,000 media in 2012 who will communicate the Games to a worldwide audience of 4 billion people.
The two-year planting programme completed in November 2011 to create the UK’s largest new urban park for more than a century with 4,000 semi-mature trees, over 300,000 wetland plants and more than ten football fields worth of meadows planted.
A few key dates to remember:
- 3rd June – Olympic Torch Relay reaches Northern Ireland
- 6th June – Olympic Torch Relay reaches Dublin
- 8th June – Olympic Torch Relay reaches Scotland
- 21st June – Start of London 2012 Festival
- 23-24th June – London 2012 Festival Radio 1 Big Weekend event, Hackney Marshes
- 25th June – London 2012 World Sport Day celebrations in UK schools
- 20th July – Olympic Flame arrives in London (evening)
- 21-22nd July – London 2012 Festival River of Music concerts along River Thames
- 23rd July – Olympic Flame visits Albert Square in EastEnders episode
- 25th July – First Olympic Games sports events – Women’s Football Preliminary matches at Cardiff (including Team GB), Coventry and Glasgow
- 27th July – Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
- 12th August – Olympic Games Closing Ceremony
- 24th August – Paralympic Flame lighting in London
- 25th August – Paralympic Flame lighting and flame festival in Belfast
- 26th August – Paralympic Flame lighting and flame festival in Edinburgh
- 27th August – Paralympic Flame lighting and flame festival in Cardiff
- 28th August – Paralympic Flame festival in Stoke Mandeville, start of the 24 hour Paralympic Torch Relay to London
- 29th August – Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony
- 9th September – Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony