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London Olympic Park

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London Olympic Park

The Olympic Park with Canary Wharf in the distance

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London Olympic Park
London 2012 Olympic Stadium
London 2012 Olympic Park
Velodrome
Water Polo Arena
BMX Track
Hockey Centre (Riverbank Arena)
Aquatics Centre
Basketball Arena
 

Credit: London 2012

Check out our full guide to the Olympic Park and all the other Olympic and Paralympic venues being used in and around the capital for London 2012.

 
 

London 2012 Olympic Park

"Architectural, environmental and logistical achievement"

London 2012 Olympic Park London 2012 Olympic Park Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 
 

Built on the site of a deprived, desolate, polluted and neglected chunk of east London, the Olympic Park will transform Stratford and leave a lasting legacy for many years to come. Time Out has described the Olympic Park as an "architectural, environmental and logistical achievement" - and who are we to argue? Completed well ahead of schedule and in keeping with strong aspirations of sustainability and legacy, the Olympic Park should add to the long list of what makes people proud to be British.

Permanent venues dotted around the River Lea and its numerous canals and waterways include the spectacular Olympic Stadium, the state-of-the-art Velodrome and Aquatics Centre, the multi-purpose Paralympic hub Eton Manor, the versatile Handball Arena (aka the Copper Box) and the International Press Centre.

Impermanent structures include the Basketball Arena, Hockey Centre and Water Polo Arena. Meanwhile, the on-site Olympic Village will give all athletes the opportunity to walk to their own events, while everything will be connected to central London by the new Javelin shuttle service, carrying people between St Pancras and the newly developed Stratford City (with its Westfield shopping centre) in less than seven minutes.

The legacy of the Olympic Park is quite substantial: it will be the site of the largest urban parks created in Europe for more than 150 years; a new university will be founded; the Stadium is expected be taken over by West Ham United FC; the permanent sporting arenas - such as the VeloPark and Aquatics centre - will be used for the public and competitions; the Olympic Village will be converted into 3,600 apartments.

Royal Mail has given the postcode E20 to the Olympic Park - previously reserved for the fictional suburb of Walford in the TV soap EastEnders.

 
 
 

London 2012 Olympic Stadium

Olympic and Paralympic Athletics, Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Olympic Stadium Olympic Stadium Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 
 

The centre-point of the Games - London 2012's beating heart, if you will - is the imperious 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, billed as the most sustainable major sports arena ever built, which will host all athletic events as well as the opening (July 27) and closing (August 12) ceremonies. Made from a quarter of the steel that built its equivalent for Beijing 2008, the £537m Olympic Stadium also features low-carbon concrete made from industrial waste, while the top ring was built using surplus gas pipes. In short, although perhaps not as visually appealing as the "Bird's Nest" in Beijing, the whole vast structure is testament to London 2012's sustainability and environmental aspirations. During the Games, there will be 25,000 permanent seats in the lower tier, and a temporary lightweight steel and concrete upper tier will boast a further 55,000 seats. Spectators reach the "island" site from five bridges that cross the stadium's surrounding waterways, which at night time will reflect the 14 triangular stanchions of floodlights that shine down upon the interior. Once complete, the stadium's top layer will be covered by a stretched sustainable material - not only to make the whole thing easier on the eye, but also to act as shelter for two-thirds of the spectators. Facilities inside the stadium include 700 rooms (medical support facilities, changing rooms and toilets) and an 80m warm-up track. Taking inspiration from the outdoor fan zones of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, all stadium services - such as refreshment and merchandise outlets - are located on the outside of the venue on a 'podium' that will surround the stadium and add to the Park's festival feel. The Olympic Stadium in pictures.

 
 

Events at Olympic Stadium

Rugby World Cup: France v Romania Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Wednesday 23rd September 2015 | From £20 (Adults), £15 (Children)

 

Not only are tickets virtually half that of the New Zealand-Namibia clash at the same venue 24 hours later but this is "a fixture rich in history," according to The Guardian. France has a long ...more

Rugby World Cup: New Zealand v Namibia Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Thursday 24th September 2015 | From £50 (Adults), £15 (Children)

 

Given New Zealand's five-year status as the world's number one ranked team, coupled with the fact that, of the 20 participants at Rugby World Cup 2015 Namibia are the only team yet to win a ...more

Rugby World Cup: Ireland v Italy Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Sunday 4th October 2015 | From £50 (Adults), £15 (Children)

 

Ireland, who have yet to get beyond the quarter-final stage in a Rugby World Cup, take on Italy in this Olympic Stadium Rugby World Cup match. The game has been highlighted Paul Rees, a rugby ...more

Rugby World Cup: South Africa v USA Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Wednesday 7th October 2015 | From £20 (Adults), £15 (Children)

 

One match that will leap off the fixture list for any Eagles fan is South Africa v USA at the Olympic Stadium in London. The Eagles travel to the iconic venue to take on the ...more

Rugby World Cup: Bronze Final Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Friday 30th October 2015 | From £50 (Adults), £15 (Children)

 

The loosing teams from the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, played at Twickenham on 24th and 25th October, meet at this Bronze Final at the Olympic Stadium a week later on 31st October, the same day ...more

All events at London 2012 Olympic Stadium
 
 
 

Velodrome

Olympic and Paralympic Track Cycling

London Olympics Velodrome London Olympics Velodrome Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Leyton Station

 
 

One of Team GB's biggest triumphs of Beijing 2008 came with our cyclists and so it's understandable that for London 2012 we have a Velodrome to match our credentials. The most sustainable venue in the whole Olympic Park, the Velodrome boasts a 100% naturally ventilated system to create the perfect track-level temperature and eliminate the need for air conditioning; its track is made of sustainable Siberian pine wood; external cladding is made from lightweight materials to keep transport and manufacture emissions low; the venue uses as much natural light as possible, reducing the need for electric light; the roof even catches rainwater for recycling. But all these environmental benefits have not been created at any aesthetic expense: the slick 6,000-capacity Velodrome, shaped rather like a giant Pringle crisp, is a stunning architectural feat - and got the approval of Sir Chris Hoy (one of Team GB's Beijing 2008 heroes) right from the outset. A concrete lower tier will have 3,500 seats located around the track, while a further 2,500 seats will be suspended in two upper tiers within the two curves of the venue's roof. A ground-level glass wall between both levels will afford 360-degree views of East London across the Olympic Park - and allow people outside the venue to glimpse what's going on inside.  After the Games, the Velodrome - which was completed in February 2011 at a cost of £93m - will be the centre-piece of the new VeloPark, which will include the neighbouring redeveloped BMX Track and be owned, funded and run by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The Velodrome in pictures.

 
 
 

Handball Arena (The Copper Box)

Handball, Modern Pentathlon (fencing), Paralympic Goalball

Copper Box Arena Copper Box Arena Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 
 

Despite its rather bland and boxy-looking exterior, the 7,000-capacity Handball Arena is one of the Olympic Park's greenest initiatives. The four outer walls of the square building are covered in largely recycled copper cladding which will change colour as it ages; 88 natural light pipes in the room will illuminate the interior, lessening the need for artificial light; rainwater pipes will also recycle water. A glazed 'concourse' level encircles the building and will allow passers-by to view the sporting events taking place inside as well as allow additional light onto the interior, which will be fitted with multi-coloured retractable seating giving the place a vibrant feel, while in the centre of the building, a state-of-the-art sprung wood floor covers the competition area. After the games, the £44m Handball Arena will be transformed into a flexible, multi-use sports centre for community use catering for a range of sports including basketball, handball, badminton, boxing, martial arts, netball, table tennis, wheelchair rugby and volleyball. There will also be a health and fitness club with changing facilities and a cafe. The Handball Arena in pictures.

 
 
 

Aquatics Centre

Diving, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Paralympic Swimming, Modern Pentathlon

Aquatics Centre Aquatics Centre Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Stratford Station

 
 

The iconic wave-shaped Aquatics Centre will be the first thing most spectators see when they arrive at the Olympic Park via Stratford Regional Station because it stands alongside the vast bridge to the north of the Park which acts as the main entrance. Designed by Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the Centre's most striking feature is its state-of-the-art sweeping 160m long roof, which is made from steel and glass on the outside and 37,000 individual strips of treated hardwood within, and has a longer single span than the roof at Heathrow's Terminal 5. Underneath this staggering edifice are a 50m competition pool, 25m competition diving pool and a 50m warm-up pool. Complications with the elaborate roof design and the complex heating system meant that the initial £73m budget for the Aquatics Centre - the fifth and final permanent venue to be completed - skyrocketed to £268m. Former world record-holding swimmer Mark Foster laid the first of 180,000 pool tiles in September 2010 - two years after work started - while British diver Tom Daley opened the pool in July 2011 with one of the dives Team GB hopes will deliver gold in 2012. Labelled the unofficial "gateway" to the Games due to its position, the Centre has a 2,500-seat permanent faculty, but will be able to house 17,500 spectators during the games. To do this, however, the eye-catching stingray-style structure has had to be flanked by two unsightly temporary stands that unfortunately diminish the Centre's architectural excellence. An interesting final fact: more than 160,000 tonnes of soil, much of it contaminated, were dug out to build the Aquatics Centre in an operation that uncovered several Iron Age skeletons as well an assortment of rusting relics from the area's former uses. After the Games, the two temporary wings will be removed while the Centre will be transformed into a leisure faculty for local and elite swimmers, complete with creche, family-friendly changing facilities, a cafe and a new public plaza. The Aquatics Centre in pictures.

 
 
 

Water Polo Arena

Olympic Water Polo

London Olympics Water Polo Arena London Olympics Water Polo Arena Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Stratford Station

 
 

Shaped like a giant wedge of cheddar cheese, the 6,000-capacity Water Polo Arena is one of the temporary venues inside the Olympic Park and is located next door to the Aquatics Centre by the main entrance at Stratford. Work started on the Arena in spring 2011 and was ready in time for the test events in May 2012. The venue, with its distinctive silver wrap and inflatable ribbed roof made from recyclable plastic, contains a 37m-long competition pool and a slightly smaller warm-up pool. The Water Polo Arena will host the men's and women's Water Polo events during the Games and it will share some back-of-house facilities - such as broadcasting space, catering and security - with the larger Aquatics Centre underneath the main concourse which separates the two venues. After the Games, the Arena will be taken down with elements expected to be reused or relocated elsewhere in the UK.

 
 
 

Basketball Arena

Basketball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Handball

London Olympics Basketball Arena London Olympics Basketball Arena Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 
 

One of the largest-ever temporary venues built for any Olympics, the 12,000-capacity Basketball Arena is the third-largest venue in the Olympic Park and will host events every day of the Games. It took just three months to erect the 1,000-tonne steel frame in spring 2010, but construction on the site began in October 2009 before being completed within budget in June 2011 at a cost of £40m. The frame is covered with stretched white material which will be used for light projections during the Games - in a similar way to the Beijing 2008 "Water Cube". Although it is a temporary structure, it is one of the most eye-catching venues of London 2012 and shares a 'backstage' area with the Velodrome and BMX Track. Funnily enough, the Basketball Arena will not host the semi-finals or finals of the basketball competitions - these will be held in the North Greenwich Arena - but it will host the semis and finals of the Handball competition after the preliminary rounds at the nearby Handball Arena. After the Games, the Basketball Arena will be transformed to host the Wheelchair Basketball and Rugby events at the Paralympics before being taken down, with parts expected to be reused or relocated elsewhere in the UK.

 
 
 

BMX Track

BMX Cycling

London Olympics BMX Track London Olympics BMX Track Where:
, Olympic Park, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 
 

New to the Olympics last time round was BMX Cycling - and given the popularity of BMX in the UK (and especially London) this should be a popular event. What's more, BMX world champion Shanaze Reade - one of the women's favourites - is British, and strongly tipped for a medal after missing out in Beijing following an unlucky crash. Construction started on the BMX Track site in spring 2011 and it will be completed by summer 2012. Temporary seating for 6,000 spectators will line the undulating 400m track. After London 2012, the seating will be removed and the Track reconfigured to make it use for community use. A new public VeloPark will also include a new mountain bike track and a road-cycle circuit. It will be owned, funded and run by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the body behind the White Water Centre in Hertfordshire which hosts the Olympic Canoe Slalom event.

 
 
 

Hockey Centre (Riverbank Arena)

Hockey, Paralympic Five-a-side / Seven-a-side Football

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre Where:
, Olympic Park, Stratford, London London, E20 2ST
Category: London Olympics Venues

Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 
 

London 2012's two Hockey Centre pitches are located between the Press Centre and the River Lea - but the venue will not be fully ready until a few months before the Games begin. The main pitch has a capacity of 16,000 and will be used for all competition games, while a second smaller pitch will be used primarily as a warm-up area. Both pitches are to be installed between July and September 2011, with the surrounding structures going up between January and March 2012 in time for the Test Event in May 2012. After the Olympics, both pitches will be used for the Paralympic football events before the whole Hockey Centre will move to the north of the Olympic Park to Eton Manor. At the new sports hug, the main pitch will have 3,000 permanent seats with an ability to increase up to 15,000 for major events.

 
 
 

Eton Manor

Wheelchair Tennis

 

Disused since 2001, the early 20th-century Eton Manor Sports Club has been reinvigorated and given a new lease of life thanks to the Games. Although the only event it will host during London 2012 is the Wheelchair Tennis during the Paralympics, the venue has been equipped with temporary training pools for participants in the Aquatics disciplines. The 5,000 show court will be at the centre of the Wheelchair Tennis events, and there will be a further 5,000 seats around eight other competition courts and four warm-up courts. An on-site war memorial dedicated to Eton Manor Club members who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars  was removed during construction of the Olympic venue, but it will return once the work is complete - plus will stay as a centre-piece after the Games. Redevelopment following London 2012 will see the arrival of two hockey pitches (with seating for up to 15,000 spectators), five-a-side football pitches and a tennis centre with four indoor and six outdoor courts.

 
 
Sophie Wallace

EDITOR

Sophie Wallace

19th December 2014

 

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