Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Last week was such a treat - I viewed the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Village 
in East London (Stratford)

The Games of the XXX Olympiad are scheduled in and around London from July 27th - August 12, 2012. London is the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, including 1908 and 1948.

You know how I like a good story, so here are a few:

Past Olympic Athletes Interviewed

Various French publications blamed French President Jacque Chirac for losing the bid for the 2012 Games (Paris had been favored). He did not know his microphone was still on when he said, 'We can't trust people [the British] who have such bad food. After Finland, it's the country with the worst food'. Oops. Two members of the International Olympic Committee were from Finland. Afterward, Paris lost by four votes - 50 to 54 - with London the surprised winner of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

If you look closely, you'll see the Olympic logo reads 2012. It was designed to appeal to young people. Not exactly a wild success - a small number of people with photosensitive epilepsy reported seizures from animated footage of the logo (since removed). And in February 2011, Iran filed a complaint that the logo appeared to spell 'Zion' and threatened to boycott the Olympics (which they retracted).

The 2012 Summer Olympics will host 26 sports; the Paralympics will feature 20 sports. Baseball and softball have been dropped, with female boxing as the only new addition. Golf and rugby sevens will be the newcomers in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

Lots of construction on a cloudy day

The site of the Olympic Village has been raised 7 meters to prevent flooding. To raise the ground, cleverly they used the soil from the drilling of the Chunnel. Flooding is a concern, as the Olympic Village is surrounded by old canals re-drudged for transportation of building supplies and eventually people.

Major flooding occurred in London during the North Sea Flood of 1953. Due to a high spring tide, a severe storm, and the breaking of dykes in the Netherlands, flooding and loss of life occurred in 5 countries. It was one of Britain's most devastating natural disasters in history. 

'The Orbit' - art piece and observation deck (red tower)
The Aquatics Centre has 'wings' to resemble a gliding ray (rt of The Orbit)

Originally intended to revitalize a depressed area in East London (high unemployment due to the closing of docks), the site was already a blank canvas to become a new city. So when London won the bid in 2005, this area became the Olympic Village. 

'Revitalization' and 'sustainability' were constant themes running through the tour. Oversized new greenbelts will be real assets to the community, and many structures will be used or repurposed after the Olympics. Public transportation will be the only allowable means of travel to the games. Ten train lines, including the EuroStar, will lead to the area.

Stadium and 'The Orbit'
White building in distance is the Basketball Arena
Unlike most structures, it will be removed after the Summer Games

And if your eyes glaze over while watching sports (like mine), you may be interested to know Stella McCartney, famous English fashion designer and daughter to Sir Paul McCartney, will design the uniform for Team Great Britain. 

The appointed designer for the ceremonies is Es Devlin, who helped create Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour. Joining Devlin as artistic director of the closing ceremonies is Kim Gavin, a ballet dancer and Take That Circus stager. David Arnold will be the music director for the events. It is sure to be a great show.

If you have a chance to visit London before the 2012 Olympic Games, you don't have to miss out. Blue Badge Guides offer daily tours of the area, and Formans Restaurant and Bar has an excellent view of the Olympic Stadium.  

What sport do you most look forward to watching in the Summer Olympics?

- all photos by me -

Sources: Wikipedia, The Independent (newspaper), local guide

More Summer Olympics posts:
Olympic Beach Volleyball
A Day At The Olympic Park
London Dressed For The Olympics 
Behind The Scenes: An Olympic Opening Ceremony Performer 
Summer Olympics: I Just Can't Get Enough 
The Summer Olympic Games Begin 
The Olympic Torch 
'Signs' The Olympics Are Coming