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The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

 

The London Olympics 2012 were a magnificent event, not only for Great Britain and London but also as a spectacle for the rest of the world. The athletes enjoyed themselves too, the crowds were some of the best ever at any sporting events and the London volunteers really brought the place to life. But none of this would have been possible, or as enjoyable, if it weren’t for the games magnificent setting, the Olympic Park. But now that the games are long finished, the Park will not just become abandoned or disused as some other venues have, it is being refurbished and transformed into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be a major site for sport and business in London.

The transformation from Olympic Park to multi-purpose sporting, business, housing and generally fantastic new addition to the city of London is not as easy as it might seem, it’s not just a case of knocking down a couple of stands and popping up some offices. The park really is being turned into a huge park with thousands of trees and shrubs being planted, walking and cycling paths being laid and waterways being sculpted. As for the sports venues, the ‘big five’, the main stadium, the aquatic centre, the Copper Box, the Lee Valley VeloPark and the Lee Valley Tennis and Hockey Centre are all staying, but the more temporary venues like the basketball and water polo arenas are being dismantled.

This is painstaking work, every seat having to be removed individually for a start! The building project for the original Olympic Park took four year and billions of pounds to complete, this refurbishment is budgeted at a mere £292 million and should be all finished by 2014. The main sports venues will stay as stadiums and sports centres, the main stadium will host all sorts of sports, music and cultural events whilst the other centres will all retain their purpose but be opened up to the general public and re-designed to allow for this. The Copper Box will be turned into office and gym space where the public can pay to use the facilities at prices similar to any other leisure centre.

The task of rebuilding is not just about refurbishing and dismantling, adding to existing infrastructure, like the purpose-built Tube station, to make the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park easily accessible from anywhere in London is another of the many logistical challenges which must be overcome before the Park is ready in 2014.