The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are currently taking place in London, England, with over 10,000 competitors from 204 countries. It was expected that a total of nearly 9 million spectators would be in attendance during the two week competition.
In 2005, an amazing transformation began to take shape in east London. The area chosen for the games was originally undeveloped but is now a spectacular urban park with world-class venues and new infrastructure.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) built the main venues on the Olympic Park as well as the Olympic Village, where the athletes reside during the games. In 2007, the ODA obtained the rights to the Olympic Park site, prepared the site for construction, began building the main venues and every year after defined its construction goals for the year. With such an enormous undertaking, it was important for the ODA to be transparent and accountable for the significant public investment in the construction project.
In 2008, the ODA began building the 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, which is used for Olympic and Paralympic Athletics competitions as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. They first installed concrete ‘rakers’, which support the 25,000 permanent seats in the lower ‘bowl’ of the Stadium. Then they installed the steel structure and concrete terracing that form the upper tiers of the venue, which hold 55,000 demountable seats. The actual seats were installed in 2012. The roof construction began in 2009 with the erection of 28 white roof supports and in 2010, a cable-net roof was put into place to be covered with white fabric.
The main venues and infrastructure, known as the “big build”, were completed on July 27,2011 – a year before the Opening Ceremony. While the “big build” portion of the project was from the ground up, other existing venues were renovated and enhanced in order to be used as well, which will be a long-term benefit for the local communities. Existing landmark venues, such as Wimbledon and Lord’s Cricket Ground, are being used for the games; permanent venues were constructed only if there was long-term use potential.
With every Olympics, the ODA strives to raise the bar for the construction industry and future large-scale events, especially in terms of sustainability, health and safety. In addition, the venues, facilities and infrastructure are intended to leave a lasting social, economic and environmental legacy for London and the UK.
Have you been watching the Games? What do you think of all the Olympics facilities?