London 2012: Preparing for the Summer Olympic Games - dummies

London 2012: Preparing for the Summer Olympic Games

By Tash Lee

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games have been eagerly awaited across the world. Having battled it out with nine other cities to win the Olympic bid, and with costs reaching the mind-boggling realm of £24 billion, the British Government aren’t scrimping on London 2012.

The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games period spans from 27 July to 9 September, with 205 nations taking part in the Olympics, and 147 participating in the Paralympics. And the organisers are aiming high — with 24-hour a day streaming coverage of every event by the BBC, NBC, and other networks, 10,000 temporary toilets, 5,000 new toilet brushes for the Olympic Village, 14 million meals to be served, thousands of phone lines to be installed, and enough tents across the Olympic space that could cover the whole of Hong Kong.

Where the 2012 Olympic games take place

Since winning the Olympic bid in 2005, more 2.5 square kilometres of land has been transformed across East London. The two newly built main spaces are:

  • The Olympic Park. After construction began in 2006, the park became home to eight venues including the Olympic Stadium, International Broadcast Centre, Copper Box arena, Aquatics Centre, Basketball arena, and Velodrome. The park has the capacity to hold 80,000 people, and has 6 miles of newly built roads across 500 acres of land.

  • The Olympic and Paralympic Games Village. Situated within the Olympic Park, this will be where the athletes and their teams will be housed. With 3,300 apartments sleeping 17,320 people, it has been stated that there is 16 square metres of floor space per athlete. Each apartment has a private courtyard, a TV, and internet access. The dining hall has the capacity to feed 5,500 athletes at a time. These may sound like staggering statistics, but the village was actually scaled down by 25 percent from the original plans!

What London has to offer this summer

Not limited to just sports events this summer, London has pulled out all the stops to welcome tourists, as well as locals, into its bustling and heritage-bursting city.

  • The Olympic Rings. Especially designed for London 2012, giant Olympic rings are suspended on Tower Bridge. At 25 metres wide, 11.5 metres tall, and weighing 3 tonnes, the festive decoration cost over £300,000 to produce and install.

  • Thames cable car (sponsored by Emirates). Running for an hour’s journey over the Thames, the United Kingdom’s first urban cable car connects the O2 Arena (South Bank) to the ExCel Exhibition Centre (North Bank). The car has the capacity to hold up to 2,500 people, and cost just under £36 million to create. Oyster cards can be used!

  • White Cube Commercial Gallery. Just in time for the Olympics, a new space had been added to the gallery in London. The 5,400 square metres space is a converted 1970s warehouse — plenty more room for exciting exhibitions to take place.

  • Tate Modern oil tanks. In a similar vein, the Tate Modern has added three 30-metre wide oil tanks as an extension on their galleries that will exhibit visual art, performance exhibitions, and events.

London 2012 looks set to be an impressive Olympics with lots to offer to both sports fans and tourists alike. There’s something for everyone this summer, and London has spruced up to a city to be proud of. Fingers crossed!