Isn’t this exciting? You Britophiles should be jumping up and down right now–your favorite little island is going to be hosting one of the largest sporting events in the world! There’s so much to see, do, buy, and generally geek-out over, I thought I’d share a few tidbits I’ve picked up about what to expect for the games, as well as some behind-the-scenes trivia that you might not have heard about.
The games won’t take place just in one isolated area; they will be all over London! The Olympic Park will be the hub of the action (where else are you going to seat 80,000 screaming sports fans?), but there will be beach volleyball in Central London (not far from #10 Downing St., actually), Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, Greenwich Park, O2 Arena, Wimbledon, Earl’s Court, and Wembley Stadium will also feature events from football to biking.
- London 2012 is aiming to be the greenest Olympics yet. The Olympic Park is set in what is arguably London’s most depressing district, which will be permanently renovated by the 2012 construction projects. Half a million new trees are planted, 75% of the structures will remain after the games to be used as housing, attendees will arrive by Tube rather than car, and there will be some massive recycling projects going on.
Believe it or not, the London Olympics has its own mascot: the creepy one-eyed “Wenlock.” He/she/it wears colorful friendship bands, has a face in the shape of the stadium roof, and wears a headlight on its head. Who thought that this was a good idea?!
- The Olympic Flame will take 70 days to journey around the country, and 8,000 people will have the honor of being torchbearers.
- What happens to all of the used sports equipment after the Olympic games? They will be freely given to charities. Just imagine being an impoverished child and being able to knock about a tennis ball with a racquet used by a gold-medal-winner!
- The International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre is as big as six full-size football pitches; the biggest forklift truck in the country was used to erect its steel frame.
- These games alone are expected to boost London’s economy to the tune of $80 billion by 2015!
- Getset.london2012.com proclaims, “The number 2012 is our brand – it is simple so that people all over the world can understand it. It is distinct, bold and buzzing with energy.” Excuse me, it’s just the number of our current calendar year; how on earth does this show that London is “young in spirit” and not “afraid to shake things up”? I just don’t get it.
- The Olympic park’s construction began in May 2008, and 5,250 people have been working on it ever since.
- London has already hosted the Summer Olympic games twice before, in 1908 and 1948. Speaking of the past, Great Britain’s team has had some marvelous moments in the Olympics. Check out The Telegraph’s photo gallery for the Greatest British Olympic and Paraolympic Moments.
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