Looking forward to London 2012

It’s been almost 14 years since the UK enjoyed their last major sports event – the Euro Cup 1996 – and today (2010-01-29) we’re two and a half years away from the next one – the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

In 2005, on July 6, London’s bid was elected to host the 2012 Olympics, winning the vote over cities such as Moscow, New York, Madrid and Paris. The defeat means that the UK capital will be the first city to host the Games three times, after acting as a home for thousands of athletes in both1908 and 1948.

In many ways, the Olympics are a symbol of tradition with elements such as the Olympic fire, the absence of prize money and competitions based solely on sportsmanship and pride.

But as the world evolves, so does the expectations on the Olympics, and on many levels, the 2012 London Games are working towards a groundbreaking list of goals.

One of them is the environmental question. With the current issues regarding global warming, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) have ensured low emission and high sustainability throughout the period of construction as well as during the competitions.

Since construction on the Olympic Park started in the summer of 2008 a clear proof that the environmental expectations is being achieved can be seen. The ODA have reduced potential emissions by 15% across the Olympic site and by more than 50% on the Olympic Stadium.

To put these numbers into context, London 2012’s carbon footprint amounts to 0,05% out of the UK’s total emissions.

“We have made sure that sustainability is at the heart of this project from the outset and the ‘green build’ is on track. We are determined to minimise carbon emissions and leave a green legacy for industry to follow,” says ODA chief executive David Higgins.

In order to stay environmental friendly, on the Velodrome, where the cycling competitions will take place, the construction is made to achieve almost 100% natural ventilation. The handball arena will have light tubes in the ceiling for natural lighting, and the Aquatics Centre is made out of 90% recycled materials.

To achieve such a high standard on the sustainability is something for London to be proud of, and who is more proud of London than Boris Johnson?

“I want London to be the cleanest city in the world by 2012. The construction of the Olympic Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to secure a radical improvement to east London’s environment,” says the Mayor.

The bar is set high by Johnson and the ODA, and should so be. Each Olympic Games come with a self admitted responsibility to outdo the previous one, and so far the construction is coming along according to plans. The centre of attraction, the Olympic Stadium, has recently been fitted with its roof structure, and soon the stadium will reach its full height.

Meanwhile, the landscaping of the Park is coming towards its starting blocks as the transformation of the area into a green land that will be an enjoyable location for the citizens of East London for years to come.

However, creating an amazing range of venues for the Games is one part, but having comfortable and working transport facilities for the Olympics might be an even more crucial part of hosting the Games. As the Olympic site is located in Stratford, this means that transport links in the area is being well improved. “Reliable and efficient transport will be crucial to the success of London 2012 and we are determined to get it right,” says Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell. For instance, the DLR will be extended to Stratford International Station as well as Woolwich Arsenal with a second under river crossing, and cycle routes in east London will be improved.

As far as the public is concerned, the Olympics may be seen as a money-maker for the Government and a way to give Britain publicity. That’s not entirely true. The 2012 Games is also a way to bring business to the UK. So far 1500 British companies provide services and goods for the Games, “a mere fraction of what will be the total number,” according to ODA chairman John Armitt.

This meaning that London 2012 have a massive impact on the UK economy. “From Inverness to Taunton and Belfast to Bridgend, London 2012 is helping to keep order books busy, proving that these really are the UK’s Games,” says Tessa Jowell.

Keeping construction material local to the UK has also become a big part of the build, such as steel for the Aquatics Centre from Wales and material for the Olympic Stadium from Bolton.

Staying with local suppliers is also shown in other aspects of the Games as a whole. During the Olympics it is estimated that a total of 14 million meals will be served;  160.000 litres of milk and 260.000 loaves of bread are expected to be consumed. Almost half of those numbers are just for the athletes. The main part of the groceries used is expected to be produced locally.

“Catering for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is a monumental task. We want athletes and spectators to have the widest choices of food available and we want that food, wherever possible, to be British,” says London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton.

The ODA, LOCOG and Government is working hard ensure that the 2012 Olympics is all about the UK. London 2012 is far from just about London, and in two and a half years another British footprint will be scripted in the Olympic history books.

3 Responses to “Looking forward to London 2012”
  1. Brian says:

    I would like to say thank you a lot for your work you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same most effective work from you in the future also.

  2. Good enough, well constructed and very interesting. I have bookmarked you hopefully you keep posting new stuff. Many thanks.

  3. There are only about a year and start the next great celebration of European football.

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