Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Olympics Progress - One year to go


It is now only One Year to Go! for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games 2012 here in London. The big event is moving closer by the day. Officials are eagerly pointing out that the planning and the preparation work is on schedule, very well in shape, but still has a mountain of work to do.

However, this One Year landmark is a moment for reflection and aso litte celebration. The Twitter hastag will be #1yeartogo The past weekend was filed with Olympic activities. To now celebrate and look forward to the games is definitely a more positive note after recently the ticket sale filled the media. There were a lot of disappointed Olympics fans after the ticket lottery announced the results. In that first phase, 700,000 successful applicants secured 3m tickets. In the second, a further 160,000 or so were accounted for. In total, Locog has shifted 6m tickets in a matter of months, which the chief executive, Paul Deighton, estimates makes it the most popular event of all time. THere seems to be a decent chance for unsuccessful applications of previous rounds to stil get a ticket as the Guardian reports.

Olympic Stadium One Year to go
Image taken from London2012 / A unique aerial image shows the number '1' mown into the grass in the Olympic Stadium, starting the celebrations to mark one year to go until the Games begin.

Looking at the workload ahead, Britain's olympics minister Hugh Robertson says there will be 'difficult moments' in the run up to the games, but that 'we are in a very good place' as he is quoted in the Guardian.

In terms of venues the largest part is taking place i the Lea Valley and a lot of the infrastructure is already in place. Most of the to be built venues are in their final stage or finished. The Olympic Stadium is has the turf laid already with the tracks being worked on at the moment. The Velodrome was one of the first venues to actually being handed over. Construction work started in March 2009 and Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy was involved in the design consultation.

Olympic Velodrom inside view
Image taken from London2012 / An inside view of the Olympic velodrome as it shall be ready for the London Games 2012.

What the venues are going to be is probably mostly known by now, the very big question is what the legacy of the games will be. THer is a lot of discussion and confusion around the ownership of the Olympic Stadium as well as other venues. Some venues will be demolished, but others such as the Velodrome and the Aquatics centre will be taken over by the respective sport groups.

However there is more to the legacy than only the venues. There will be a massive Lea Valley park that needs maintaining for the public and there is the large transport schema Londoners have been promised. All these things are currently being talked about. The Guardian reports: "There is significant conversion work to be undertaken and the Park is likely to be closed for the best part of a year. But the Olympic Park Legacy Company, mindful of capitalising on the excitement around the Games, has resolved to open it up in sections as quickly as possible and is seeking legacy operators for everything from the vast swimming complex to the Arcelor Mittal tower that towers over the stadium."

The two maskots Wenlock and Mandaville are also very busy touring and promoting the Olympics and the Paralympic. The two characters of the Olympics are currently trying out the different spots disciplines around the UK visiting schools and sports facilities. On their website they introduce themselves: "Hi, I'm Wenlock, the London 2012 Olympic mascot... and I'm Mandeville, the London 2012 Paralympic mascot! We're on a journey around the UK, making friends and finding out all about the Olympic and Paralympic sports. Explore our website to find out more about us and join us on our journey. Come back often - there's always something new. Have fun!"

Olympic Mascots
Image taken from London2012 / The mascots fo the London Games 2012 trying out some of the sports to feature at the Olympics.

So what to do for this last year to go. There are many ways to get involved, as a volunteer or as a torch-bearer to carry the Olympic torch on its way across the UK. After the chaos around the traveling torch on its world tour pre Beijing Olympics the committee has scraped the idea of sending it around the world. The torch travels from Peloponnese to Land's End were it arrives on the 18 May 2012 to travel 8000 miles across the UK. Some of the main event sponsors still accept applications if you are interested to run with the torch.

Olympic Park Aerial_110714_120
Image taken from London2012 / An arial view of the site currently (July 2011) for the London Games 2012. The three central elements are the Olympic Stadion, the Aquatic centre and in the middle the View Tower by Anish Kapoor a it is under construction. It is going to be Britain's biggest piece of public art, a 120 metres tall looping tower.

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