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London 2012

The London 2012 Games were centred around the Olympic Park in east London, which is the site of a number of new sports venues. Up to 180,000 spectators a day entered the Park to enjoy the Games, making it the principal focus of Olympic activity.

The main venues – the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Velodrome and BMX Circuit, as well as the hockey, handball and basketball arenas – were easily accessible through a network of footbridges and walkways within the Park.

The Olympic Village was within walking distance of all the venues in the Park, enhancing the experience for athletes and officials. The use of other prestigious venues – such as Wembley Stadium for football, the All-England Club in Wimbledon for tennis, Lord’s Cricket Ground for archery and Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball – was also a feature of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The London 2012 Games included a four-year Cultural Olympiad. It reached a climax with the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on 27 July 2012, starting a 60-day festival of sport and culture across the UK, as the Olympic and Paralympic spirit crosses the world once again.

London 2012 by numbers

The Olympic Games are one of the biggest and most complex events in the world, as highlighted by some of these mind-boggling facts and figures:

  • 26 sports, featuring 39 disciplines, were contested during the Games across 34 venues
  • The Olympic Park, which held nine venues, was 2.5sq km in size – equivalent to 357 football pitches
  • 8.8 million tickets were available for the London 2012 Olympic Games
  • About 10,500 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees took part in the Games, with 302 medal events being held
  • Over 21,000 accredited media communicated the Games to a potential worldwide audience of 4 billion people
  • There were also 2,961 technical officials and 5,770 team officials
  • A total workforce of around 200,000 people, including more than 6,000 staffs, 70,000 volunteers and 100,000 contractors, were involved in the Games
  • LOCOG had sourced over one million pieces of sport equipment for the Games, including 510 adjustable hurdles for athletics, 600 basket balls, 2,700 foot balls and 356 pairs of boxing gloves
  • During the Games, 20 million spectator journeys were made in London, including three million on the busiest day of the Games
  • Approximately 14 million meals were served at the Games, including 45,000 per day in the Olympic Village
London 2012 Emblem
London 2012 Medals

On the obverse, the traditional goddess of victory flies into the Panathinaikos stadium bringing victory to the best athlete. For these Games, the figure of victory is accompanied by the specific inscription: “XXX Olympiad London 2012”.

The reverse features an abstract design with the 2012 Games emblem at its centre as a metaphor for the modern city. The design also includes a ribbon representing London’s Thames river and an interlocking grid pattern that radiates from the centre and pulls the design together, giving it a sense of outreach while also representing the achievements and efforts of Olympic athletes. A square, which encases the balance of the design, opposes the circular shape of the medals and emphasizes its focus on the centre, reinforcing the sense of ‘place, as in a map inset.

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Artist: Rachel Whiteread

The poster, named LOndOn 2012, shows circles in the Olympic colours superimposed over each other. It is a clear reference to the five rings that make up the Olympic symbol. These circles, which appear as marks made by bottles or glasses left on a table, symbolise the memory of a social meeting, such as the gathering of Olympic Games spectators or the meeting of athletes in the stadium at the Opening Ceremony.

The Organising Committee worked in collaboration with Tate and the Plus Tate Group – a group of 19 regional art galleries across the UK – to select artists responsible for creating the official posters of London 2012. Together, they established a list of over 100 artists to be considered. A jury composed of renowned experts in the arts field reduced this list to 12 individuals of whom six each designed a poster for the Olympic Games.
The jury’s main objective was artistic excellence. Three of the six individuals who designed posters for the Olympic Games, including Rachel Whiteread, had won the Turner Prize.

London 2012 Mascot

Wenlock takes his name from the town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, which still hosts the traditional Much Wenlock Games. These were one of Pierre de Coubertin's sources of inspiration for the modern Olympic Games.

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London 2012 Torch

Number of torchbearers: around 500 in Greece and 8 000 in Great Britain
Total distance: 15 775 km including 2 900 km in Greece and 12 875 in Great Britain
Countries crossed: Greece, Great Britain

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London 2012: An edgy look

In what was a first in Olympic history, the logo did not feature the city or the country, but the year – 2012.
Four strong, loud colours, inspired by the worlds of media, communication and fashion.

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London 2012 Official Reports

The official report published by the LOCOG consists of a single set of two commemorative books published by Wiley (The official commemorative book; The Games, Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic Journey to London 2012) and a DVD, “London 2012 Olympic Games: official report”. This bilingual DVD, in English and French, contains all the official texts and results, plus the “Official Film of the IOC report”.

  • London 2012
    • London 2012

      25 Sep 2013 |
      The official report published by the LOCOG consists of a single set of two commemorative books published by Wiley (The official commemorative book; The Games, Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic Journey to London 2012) and a DVD, “London 2012 Olympic Games: official report”.




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Aerial shot of the stadium aglow

London 2012 - The stunning Opening Ceremony firework show lights up the Olympic Stadium and the east London night
2012 Getty Images
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London 2012 Madness in Olympic StadiumCeremony – 16

London 2012 - The British ska band Madness perform their hit Our House during the closing ceremony in Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012.
Getty Images
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A night of drama at Stratford

London 2012 - Smoke and lighting provide a dramatic backdrop for dancers in one of the later sections of film director Danny Boyle's incredible 'Isles of Wonder' Opening Ceremony
IOC/Richard Juilliart
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The Olympic Flame arrives in Great Britain

David Beckham lights the torch during the ceremony to mark the arrival of the Olympic flame in the United Kingdom, at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall.
LOCOG/Press Association Images
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Bolt thunders to gold

London 2012 - Bailey and Gatlin of Team USA can do nothing to beat Jamaica's Thunder Bolt in the 100m final.
IOC / John Huet
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Cutting through the water

London 2012 - a swimmer ploughs through the water in heats for the women's 50m freestyle at the Aquatics Centre.
IOC/Chris Furlong

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