PHOTOS & VIDEOS
The 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, as well as some competition events. It was built on an island with several footbridges for entry. The stadium features a temporary upper tier that can be removed after the Games. The flexible design will help turn the venue into a manageable 25,000-seat stadium for future non-Olympic events. The permanent lower tier sits in a bowl in the ground. This helped save on construction materials and make the stadium more sustainable.
Horse Guards Parade
Crews are bringing in 5,000 tons of sand from Godstone, Surrey, in England, to create a temporary beach in central London. Horse Guards Parade is a parade ground that hosts the annual “Trooping the Colour” ceremony for the Queen’s official birthday. During the Olympics, it will host the popular beach volleyball competition.
Westfield Stratford City
If shopping were an Olympic sport, this might be where it would happen. London’s Westfield Stratford City—the largest urban shopping center in Europe—is the official merchandise shopping mall of the 2012 Games. It houses more than 300 shops, 70 restaurants, a large movie theater, three hotels and a casino. An estimated 70% of London’s 10 million visitors during the Olympics will spend time and money here.
The Olympians and spectators of London 2012’s equestrian events will get a spectacular view of London at this venue, which lies across the Thames River from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Greenwich Park is London’s oldest Royal Park and a World Heritage site. With ancient Roman ruins lying beneath the park, it was a controversial venue choice for Olympic events. Organizers say they are taking extra precautions to prevent any permanent damage.
Lord’s Cricket Ground
The sport of cricket, typically played at this famous 19th-century venue, is not a part of the Olympics. So instead, Lord’s Cricket Ground will host archery events at the 2012 London Games. After the Games, crews will replace over 50,000 square feet of turf to return the venue to the “Home of Cricket.”
This palace, the former home of Henry VII and other famous kings and queens, has a rich sporting history. Built in the 16th and 17th centuries, Hampton Court Palace has the oldest surviving real tennis court in England and an 18-hole golf course on palace grounds. For the London 2012 Olympics, it will serve as the start and finish of the cycling time trial.
This arena is one of the largest temporary venues ever built for the Olympics. The venue’s seats are orange and black for the color of a basketball. The outside of the arena is covered in recyclable white PVC fabric to be used for a lighting display during the Games. The arena will be taken down after the Games—basketball is not a popular sport in England.
The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games will share several venues. But Eton Manor was designed specifically for the Paralympics. Built on the site of the old Eton Manor Sports Club, the venue is home to four indoor and six outdoor blue wheelchair tennis competition courts. It will also house temporary training swimming pools for Olympians and Paralympians during the Games. After the Paralympics, the area will be transformed into a sporting facility for the local community.