22 March 2011

Let The Games Begin: An Olympic Tour

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Last week was such a treat - I viewed the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Village 
in East London (Stratford)

The Games of the XXX Olympiad are scheduled in and around London from July 27th - August 12, 2012. London is the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, including 1908 and 1948.

You know how I like a good story, so here are a few:

Past Olympic Athletes Interviewed

Various French publications blamed French President Jacque Chirac for losing the bid for the 2012 Games (Paris had been favored). He did not know his microphone was still on when he said, 'We can't trust people [the British] who have such bad food. After Finland, it's the country with the worst food'. Oops. Two members of the International Olympic Committee were from Finland. Afterward, Paris lost by four votes - 50 to 54 - with London the surprised winner of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

If you look closely, you'll see the Olympic logo reads 2012. It was designed to appeal to young people. Not exactly a wild success - a small number of people with photosensitive epilepsy reported seizures from animated footage of the logo (since removed). And in February 2011, Iran filed a complaint that the logo appeared to spell 'Zion' and threatened to boycott the Olympics (which they retracted).

The 2012 Summer Olympics will host 26 sports; the Paralympics will feature 20 sports. Baseball and softball have been dropped, with female boxing as the only new addition. Golf and rugby sevens will be the newcomers in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

Lots of construction on a cloudy day

The site of the Olympic Village has been raised 7 meters to prevent flooding. To raise the ground, cleverly they used the soil from the drilling of the Chunnel. Flooding is a concern, as the Olympic Village is surrounded by old canals re-drudged for transportation of building supplies and eventually people.

Major flooding occurred in London during the North Sea Flood of 1953. Due to a high spring tide, a severe storm, and the breaking of dykes in the Netherlands, flooding and loss of life occurred in 5 countries. It was one of Britain's most devastating natural disasters in history. 

'The Orbit' - art piece and observation deck (red tower)
The Aquatics Centre has 'wings' to resemble a gliding ray (rt of The Orbit)

Originally intended to revitalize a depressed area in East London (high unemployment due to the closing of docks), the site was already a blank canvas to become a new city. So when London won the bid in 2005, this area became the Olympic Village. 

'Revitalization' and 'sustainability' were constant themes running through the tour. Oversized new greenbelts will be real assets to the community, and many structures will be used or repurposed after the Olympics. Public transportation will be the only allowable means of travel to the games. Ten train lines, including the EuroStar, will lead to the area.

Stadium and 'The Orbit'
White building in distance is the Basketball Arena
Unlike most structures, it will be removed after the Summer Games

And if your eyes glaze over while watching sports (like mine), you may be interested to know Stella McCartney, famous English fashion designer and daughter to Sir Paul McCartney, will design the uniform for Team Great Britain. 

The appointed designer for the ceremonies is Es Devlin, who helped create Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour. Joining Devlin as artistic director of the closing ceremonies is Kim Gavin, a ballet dancer and Take That Circus stager. David Arnold will be the music director for the events. It is sure to be a great show.

If you have a chance to visit London before the 2012 Olympic Games, you don't have to miss out. Blue Badge Guides offer daily tours of the area, and Formans Restaurant and Bar has an excellent view of the Olympic Stadium.  

What sport do you most look forward to watching in the Summer Olympics?

- all photos by me -

Sources: Wikipedia, The Independent (newspaper), local guide

More Summer Olympics posts:
Olympic Beach Volleyball
A Day At The Olympic Park
London Dressed For The Olympics 
Behind The Scenes: An Olympic Opening Ceremony Performer 
Summer Olympics: I Just Can't Get Enough 
The Summer Olympic Games Begin 
The Olympic Torch 
'Signs' The Olympics Are Coming


Hines-Sight said...

England will have two big years..royal wedding this year, and Olympics next year. What a boost to tourism.

Munir said...

Oh how nice. Paul McCartney's daughter is a designer! I am glad that she is doing something for herself instead of wasting her life getting spoiled because of her dad's fame and money. I like it every time we women do something to prove to ourselves that we can do good things.

The Southland Life said...

GYMNASTICS! What a great preview! Now we want your coverage of the Royal Wedding - simply cant wait!!!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Hi Laura,

I really enjoyed visitng lots of the links at your party. It was like having my own personal tour guides for different parts of the world. The party was such a success, wasn't it? It was a great idea. Thank you for hosting it.


Frau S said...

Ooh! I'm excited to see Stella McCartney's uniforms!

Jen of Country Weekend said...

Very interesting--what a huge undertaking! Love the quote from the French president--politicians should never assume the microphone is off. I love sports but haven't watch much of the summer olympics for years. I hope you will keep us posted on the design aspect (something I never paid much attention to).

Robyn said...

Thanks for hosting the party. It was really nice to find other blogs and read their posts and about their ex-pat lives. Now I have bloggers block, so you will need another reason to write.

Debbie said...



LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Interesting post, well i hope this all turns out well, but I am just not convinced!

Kevin and Julie's Blog said...

I moved to Newcastle from California in January. Why did you move here? Im glad I found your blog!

American in Bath said...

I'm so excited about the Olympics it is completely ridiculous. I'll be the one sitting in the nosebleed seats at the sailing, I hope.

Karin R said...

Abby wants to see gymnastics but I get most excited about the track & field events (running) and swimming. Funny that they're taking down the basketball stadium afterwards - I know netball isn't exactly the equivalent from a popularity perspective but seems like a strange thing to dismantle something as big as that!


This is so interesing, Laura, and I had forgotten that London was the next Olympic hosts. Loved the story about the French president . . . a good reminder to all of us to watch our words, eh?


Privet and Holly said...

I completely forgot
that London was THE
place for the Olympics
in 2012!! As for me,
I love to watch the
gymnastics, even though
I was never any good
at it!!! That's probably
WHY I enjoy it so much : )
Great info.
xx Suzanne

Megan said...

I'll be looking forward to the Games, but from the comfort of my home away from London. Might pop down for a visit though!

Jane said...

Just fabulous, Laura - so informative and from a local's perspective. Bravo you.

Oh, it takes me back to our Sydney 2000 Olympics when I was a volunteer - glorious days! I posted about it here if you're interested (http://www.lifeonplanetbaby.com/2010/08/living-in-sydney-in-noughties-part-2.html).

My grandfather was in the Australian 1948 Olympic team, something very dear to our family. I will be fascinated to see how the 2012 version turns out! J x

Kate and Russ said...

Love the story about the French President. It's both funny...and true?! If we're comparing crepes and meat pies, I'd vote crepe!

Meera @ firstsense said...

I don't think much of the olympics logo (I wonder how much the graphic designers got paid to come up with THAT!) but I AM excited about the olympics in London next year. Especially looking forward to seeing what Danny Boyle comes up with as artistic director of the opening ceremony!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I have to say that Logo is a bit rubbish. I don't much like it. I think they should have chosen something to represent London and Britain a bit more. It made me laugh a bit with what you said about being able to read Zion from it. I can see what they mean - at a push!! I'm glad they took it back though.


Stitchfork said...

Big oops on that logo! We enjoy watching the swimming as all my sons are swimmers. Fun to see it pulling together so close to you.

MNUKGIRL said...

Awesome post Laura! Say....guess what my friend?!?!?! I awarded you a Stylish Blogger Award because you have one KICK ASS blog! :) Please go to this link and follow the instructions: http://mnukgirl.blogspot.com/2011/03/stylish-blogger-award.html