While the rest of the world is still in awe of Michael Phelps’ record-breaking eight gold medals earned at the Beijing Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the city of London is focused only on 2012.
As the host country for the 2012 Olympic Games, London is rapidly transforming itself into an Olympic hot spot, years before the torch relay begins.
A 65-foot-high mural will envelop the new Olympic Stadium.
At the close of the Beijing Games, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) immediately began the immense task of planning for the construction and development of the venues that will compose the Olympic Village in East London. The City of London is using this opportunity to reinvent its lower East End with newly constructed venues and a brand-new look.
Venues to host the competition are beginning to take shape. Twenty-eight buildings have already been demolished and construction has started in Lee Valley, a district chosen for its history of rich culture, temperate climate and powerful river, which has historically supplied water, transportation and recreation to its residents and visitors. While most of the planning has been completed, construction efforts have only just begun on the Aquatics Venue and the Olympic Stadium that will be located in the Olympic Park.
The Aquatics Venue will be a completely new structure and will inspire the watersports competitors with a distinctive, wave-shaped roof. Preparation for construction includes new river walls and the demolition of buildings to clear ground for the foundation. Construction for the venue started two months prior to schedule and is anticipated to be completed in 2011.
The elaborate Olympic Stadium, located at the south end of the Olympic Park and surrounded on three sides by waterways, is sure to turn heads with its oval-shaped design and decorative, one-of-a-kind mural. Artists will showcase their skills on a 65-foot-high wrap that will encircle the stadium’s 3,000-foot circumference and will be a composition of historical sporting figures, flags of the participating countries and the sponsor logos of the 2012 Olympics. The Olympic Stadium will act as the main venue throughout the 60-day event and will host the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium is scheduled to be finished by 2011.
While no new hotels are currently scheduled to be constructed for the summer of 2012, the LOCOG is confident that visitors will be well accommodated. Hotels located in the West End of London will be the major resource for visitors, with more than 100,000 hotel rooms to choose from, as well as student residences available for lodging. This area offers close proximity to shops, tourist sites and easy transportation to the Olympic Park.
Transportation in and around the Olympic Park will be available via 30 new permanent bridges and 12.4 miles of roads. The new bridges built in the Olympic Park will create new connections across the site and leave an open and accessible public park after the games.
Buildings are not the only objects being updated and constructed in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. The Inspire Program has been put together to market ideas brought forward by nonprofit organizations and influenced by the Olympic Games. Organizations will be recognized with the program’s logo with the hope of inspiring and encouraging the involvement of everyone in the 2012 Olympic Games.