Olympics 2012

London 2012 – The Olympic Park

This Friday, the biggest show on Earth has its Opening Ceremony in London. Today Melosport focuses on the marvel that is the Olympic Park.


The London 2012 Games has transformed 2.5 sq km in East London from industrial land into a world-class sporting complex ready for the some of the greatest athletes on the planet to strut their stuff at.

Olympics stadium

  • The Olympic Stadium cost approximately £500m to construct. 55,000 of the 80,000 capacity is removable, which is unprecedented.
  • The stadium is located on an ‘island’ at the southern end of the Olympic Park between rivers and tributaries including the Old River Lea, parts of the Bow Back rivers and St Thomas Creek. Those existing waterways were modified during the site’s development and access to the venue is via six footbridges around the perimeter.
  • 10,000 tonnes of steel are being used to build the venue, compared to the 42,000 used by Beijing for their ’Bird’s Nest’.
  • The stadium’s long term future remains undecided.
  • Athletics will be taking place from 3rd to 12th August. Paralympics athletics will take place from 31st August until 9th September.

Velodrome & BMX Track

  • Designed by architect Hopkins Architects, the Velodrome cost approximately £94m.
  • Sir Chris Hoy was involved in the design process of the 6,000 capacity Velodrome, which is located in the north of the Olympic Park.
  • Following Team GB’s success in Beijing four years ago, cycling’s popularity soared in the UK and is expected to be one of the most eagerly watched sports at the Olympics.
  • The velodrome has two tiers, with a glass window in between the tiers for a 360-degree view of the Olympic Park
  • After the Olympics have ended, a new mountain bike course and road-cycle circuit will be added to develop a VeloPark for the local community, sports clubs and top athletes.

Aquatics Centre

  • Estimated cost of £268 million.
  • The roof features a single span measuring 160 metres long and 80 metres wide.
  • 17,500 capacity for diving and swimming events, 5,000 for water polo. Permanent capacity of 3,500.
  • During the Games spectators will walk above the venue as they pass over the giant Stratford City Bridge that forms the main entrance to the Olympic Park.
  • The building features a 50-metre competition pool, a 25-metre competition diving pool, a 50m warm-up pool and a ‘dry’ warm-up area for divers.
  • The Aquatics centre will host: Diving, Swimming, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo, Paralympic Swimming, Modern Pentathlon

Water Polo Arena

  • Next to the Aquatics centre in a tightly packed section of the Olympic park.
  • Capacity of 5,000 – this purpose-built venue will be taken down after the Olympics although most of the material will be reused.
  • The roof is made of recycled PVC cushions inflated with air to provide extra insulation.
  • The venue features a 37-metre competition pool and warm-up pool.

Handball arena

  • The Handball arena was designed by MAKE architects, founded by Ken Shuttleworth, renowned for his work on the ‘Gherkin’ London (30 St Mary Axe) whilst working with Sir Norman Foster.
  • The arena is a permanent venue which will host the handball games up to the quarter-final stage. The latter stages of the handball competition will be hosted in the larger Basketball Arena.
  • Rainwater from the 7,000 capacity venue will be collected from the venue’s roof and will be used to flush lavatories and reduce water usage by 40%.
  • In addition to Handball – Modern Pentathlon and Goal ball will be hosted in this arena.

Riverbank Arena

  • A 15,000 capacity hockey stadium which will be relocated after the Olympics to the north of the Olympic Park, joining a group of facilities in the newly formed Eton Manor venue.
  • The relocated venue will host international hockey competitions as well as community events, with the capacity of 3,000.
  • In addition to Hockey, Paralympic 5-a-side Football and Paralympic 7-a-side Football will be hosted at the Riverbank arena.

Basketball Arena

  • At an estimated cost of £42 million, the Basketball Arena is the largest ever temporary venue built for any Olympics.
  • It will have a 12,000 capacity during the Olympic games and 10,000 during the Paralympic Games.
  • To accommodate the size of the athletes, all doors in the venue are required to be at least 2.4 metres high!
  • Organisers will have only 22 hours to change the venue from hosting basketball to handball. Then once the Paralympics begin, there will be an even shorter window – 12 hours – to transform the Arena from wheelchair basketball to wheelchair rugby.

Olympic Village

  • Estimated cost of £324 million, housing 17,000 athletes and officials.
  • There are 11 residential plots, each made up of five to seven blocks built around communal squares and courtyards.
  • Athletes have access to shops, restaurants, medical, media and leisure facilities, plus large areas of open space.
  • After the Olympics, the village will be transformed into 2,818 new homes, including 1,379 affordable homes and houses for sale and rent. The village will be created into a new residential quarter to be known as East Village with accommodation ranging from one bedroom apartments up to four and five-bedroom townhouses.

The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony takes place at the Olympic Stadium this Friday.

Categories: Olympics 2012

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