Today, my travels took me down to London and the train passes through Stratford which is the site of the 2012 Olympic Park. London fought off bids from Paris, Madrid and New York for the right to host the games but since then, there has been a lot of concern over the spiraling costs, especially as the UK economy has gone in to a serious recession.
Although London are the host city, there are Olympic venues at a number of other places all over the country. For example, St James Park in Newcastle is one of the venues of the Olympic Football. The jewel in the crown of the 2012 venues will be the Olympic Park at Stratford in London. In addition to the main Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Park will also have the Aquatics Centre, Velodrome and 3 indoor arenas.
Obviously, venues like this aren’t cheap to build but while it may be hard for some to see, the benefits will ultimately outweigh the costs. Hosting a major event like the Olympics is a tremendous honour and Britain is more than capable of putting on a superb show. However, the Olympics isn’t just about the few weeks of competition, its also about the legacy it leaves behind.
Stratford is in the poorer East side of London so the regeneration of the area can only help the local people. The Olympic Park will eventually be the largest urban park created in Europe for around 150 years with parks and wetlands being created in the shadows of the venues. The sporting facilities will continue to be used and various football teams have shown interest in taking over the Olympic stadium. The Olympic village will be converted to residential apartments and a new university will also be founded specialising in sports science, green technology and digital media.
In addition, the transport infrastructure will also be improved to ferry visitors around and these facilities will remain in place for the benefit of the people who live in and visit London after 2012. With the 2015 Rugby World Cup already scheduled to be hosting in England with 3 London venues and a strong bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, many of the facilities and transport upgrades being made for the 2012 Olympics can also be used for these later events too.