London 2012 venues ready to host world’s greatest athletes
All 34 London 2012 venues are ready to play host to the world’s leading athletes, with the Olympic Games set to get underway in just eight days. At the heart of the action will be the stunning Olympic Stadium – the showpiece venue of the newly-built Olymp
The venue lies at the heart of the Park, on an ‘island’ surrounded by waterways on three sides, with spectators at the Games reaching the stadium via five bridges that link the site to the surrounding area.
Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, the breath-taking venue forms part of the gateway to the Olympic Park – more than two-thirds of spectators will enter the Park at the south-east corner via a bridge that forms part of the venue’s roof.
With a capacity of 17,500, the Aquatics Centre’s spectacular wave-like roof is 160m long and up to 80m wide, housing a 50m competition pool, a 25m competition diving pool, a 50m warm-up pool and a ‘dry’ warm-up area for divers.
After the Games, the venue will be transformed into a facility for the local community, clubs and schools, as well as elite swimmers, attracting an anticipated 800,000 visitors a year. The two temporary wings will be removed – reducing its capacity to 2,500 – although it will be possible to increase the venue’s capacity for major competitions.
Built using sustainable materials, the venue’s design incorporates natural ventilation and lets in an abundance of natural light, reducing the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting. Its roof also collects rainwater that will reduce mains water usage by more than 70 per cent.
After the Games, the venue will form the heart of a new VeloPark for use by the local community, clubs and elite athletes, which will also include the reconfigured BMX track, a new mountain bike track and a new road cycle circuit, as well as a cafe, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities.
The Olympic Park is also home to the iconic Copper Box, which will host the handball competitions during the Games before it becomes a multi-use sports centre for community use, athlete training and events after the Games.
A number of existing venues will be used around London, such as the North Greenwich Arena, Wembley Arena, and the Excel. Iconic venues like Greenwich Park will stage the equestrian events, while the beach volleyball will be held at the historic Horse Guards Parade, near Buckingham Palace. The tennis competitions will be staged at the famous All England Club in Wimbledon, while Lord’s Cricket Ground is being used for the archery events.