Going For Gold – a preview of the Olympic Park

The buildings are complete, we saw the finishing touches, the final planting, clearing and cleaning the site, to the backdrop sound of rehearsals for the opening show…. ssshhhh!

It was a real treat to see the park before the official opening ceremony and the start of the games. A small group of friends let loose in a playground and a big one at that! To stare in wonder at the incredible buildings to ooh and ahhh at the sublime planting and to puzzle at and play with the art works specifically created for the Olympic Park. You see the Olympics is far more than the sports events it’s a myriad of sights.

We saw so much in an afternoon of dark threatening clouds, rain bursts and sun spells that I’m going to split these posts up into sections. I’ll take you around the park at a more leisurely pace – slowly and surely we’ll see all the main buildings like the Aquatics Centre, the Velodrome, and the Basketball Arena – all stunning in their own right.

But me being me, we’ll take a look at the landscaping and planting, talk about the work, the science and the design that has gone into this remarkable space, the feats of engineering to create specific habitats and environments for the flora and fauna that inhabit this area.

I want to show you the way the river winds around the park, the bridges that crisscross,, and the train tracks intersecting. To talk about the recycling of materials, the cleaning of the ground, the growing of the plants, the testing, trialing and reviewing. The sheer scale of ait all. The numbers and facts are bind bogglingly glorious. And of course the legacy of a new park for London.

And yes, we’ll take a look at what everyone is talking about – the Orbit Tower!

So for now, a brief snapshot of some of the sights to hopefully whet your appetite. No matter if you’re not a sports fan or can’t make it to the games themselves I think you’ll enjoy the tour around London 2012. Besides you get some stunning views of one of my favourite skylines in the world – I know I’m a bit biased on this one having lived there for oh so many years, – just roll with me, ok?

Better RUN!


    • I think the excitement is building up – the torch is on a relay around the country and is drawing huge crowds.
      And yes we got tickets in the ballot – a morning of athletics, to be honest I just wanted the opportunity to be there, to get a feel for it regardless of what sport I see 🙂

  • One of my colleagues was able to visit the site last month too. I, for one, am an ex-Londoner that’s very pleased we’ll be hosting the Olympics. Bring out the tissues as I’ll probably be bawling my eyes out with pride 🙂 sadly, I’m actually on my big American adventure during the whole time so I’m gutted because I didn’t realise the dates clashed when I booked my hols. Will rely on you to keep me updated re all the goings on!

    • Aaww you’re going to miss it, but at the same time you will be having a fabulous American adventure! I saw the site a couple of years ago during construction and the difference is amazing, and I can’t wait to see it after the games when they start the legacy work. And don’t start blubbing, you know it’s infectious 😉

    • You go up in a lift, enjoy the view and then walk down around the outside – I can’t wait to go, the views are meant to be amazing!

  • Thanks, Claire, for the preview of what is sure to be an incredible 2 weeks of excitement for London and the UK. That Orbit Tower is something else! I bet it will be the most photographed object of the Olympics. How could it not be?

    • I think it already is the most photographed thing, well judging from the number photos I took 🙂 It’s an incredible structure, full of fun and different angles, but like I said to Smidge it’s all about the views of London you get and I can’t wait to go up there 🙂

  • Oh, Claire, what fabulous photos! This must be so exciting, to have it close by, and to actually be attending some of this wonderful, world-wide history-making event! I’m with you, I wouldn’t care which event, but would just be happy to be a part of it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thank you Cindy, they are real snapshots but give you an idea of what is to come and how great it all looks. And I know there are mixed emotions when it comes to the olympics, but it’s on home soil so I’m cheering it along !!

  • The excitement is contagious! I’m so glad to have a sneak peek, Claire! I would love to just be in a position to feel the energy and be a part of the history in the making. You’ll have to be our on-the-scene reporter! I’m so glad you’ll have the chance to enjoy firsthand. I received my first email from our cable television service yesterday, announcing packages for us to have even more coverage than the networks plan on providing. I’m thinking about it! Debra

    • 🙂 On the scene reporter – now that would be fun, I’d be talking about the flowers, the insects and bird life as someone else was running the 100 metres 🙂
      And this will make you smile – we don’t have a TV so I’m not sure what we’ll do – probably listen to lots on the radio that and a bit of catch up on iPlayer thanks to the BBC !!

      • I was indeed interested to learn that you don’t have a TV! I haven’t hardly watched a bit of TV since I started blogging! Really at this point there isn’t time. Then Jay works nights, so he doesn’t watch it except for some sports. And yet we haven’t made the decision to pull the plug! It just sits there and yet we pay for cable. I think there’s something wrong with our thinking…maybe after the Olympics! 🙂

        • That was how we ended up getting rid of our TV, when we realised we hadn’t switched it on for over a year except to watch 1 fottball and 1 rugby match, which we could have watchedin th epub 🙂 The only things I think I miss are Wimbledon and the Olympics…..

      • HI Claire ..Your pictures make the whole experience more real, better than the newspaper or tv . ..you bring the whole event to a personal level for all of us who arent’ there! Thank you so much for sharing all the special areas, but most especially, the plants!!

        • I guess that’s what blogging is about – bringing the personal view to either everyday life or in the case of the Olympics big one-off events. And yes there will be plenty of plants 😉

  • This is exciting to see a sneak peek, and thanks for showing us. We had the Olympics here in 1996…it is an otherworldly and exciting experience. So far your park looks very cool and modern and I can’t wait to see more. An exciting time for London, I know (and also with the Queen’s Jubilee just past), and I hope the games are a huge success!

  • A most delightful trek! Adored the feeling of sneaking around. Meaning that I am so far away, it most certainly is a sneak peak I would not get otherwise! Thanks for shaing Claire.

    • I couldn’t resist the medals Teresa – they are destined for two little French boys who I think will love the British choclate medals, but their dad won’t be so impressed as he is still “mock” sulking about Paris losing out to London for hosting the Olympics 🙂

      • We are very jealous. We planned on going, but life got in the way…we will just have to visit for all the lovely gardens..

        • Life does have a habit of getting in the way doens’t it! I’m looking forward to seeing it all again in a month’s time, even more flowers to enjoy. After the games are over the site will be closed for 2 years while more work is carried out and the permanent park feature is completed. The plans for the final park are very exciting, more of which another time 😉

  • My son was born the year the Olympics were in Montreal in 1976 – thus began my love affair every four years – well, every two now it seems. What to do? No TV? Well I do have a TV but disconnected that satellite almost a year ago now. hmmmm……..

    • Isn’t it! The amount of work involved is totally amazing, the detail and thought that has gone into every square inch is just outstanding. Let’s hope it pays off with a successful games

    • Wise choice! London is busy at any time of year, but they are saying it’s going to be even busier during the games. I guess it’s the price you pay for hosting ….

  • We didn’t get tickets (who did?) so we’ll be watching the fireworks display for the opening ceremony from a friend’s balcony. It directly overlooks the stadium. I know there are mixed opinions about the expense and disruption of the Games but, personally, I’m all for it!

    • We did Jack, in the ballot 🙂 a morning of athletics and then we have the afternoon/evening to spend in the park. I know what you mean about mixed opinions – what was interesting was our group’s reactions, very mixed before going round, much more convinced afterwards.
      It sounds like your balcony view will be perfect – looking forward to hearing about it in a month’s time 🙂

  • While there are some beautiful pictures there of Olympic Park, I’m more fascinated by the Cadbury’s gold medals, hope we get them over here in Ireland in the run up to the games! They’ll be fun to eat, while watching other people being all athletic and stuff! Haha.

    • He, he I like the idea of munching chocolate whilst watching othe rpeople exert themselves! Sounds perfect to me, and I hope you find some medals 🙂

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