With the imminent handover of the Olympic Park to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the park is expected to host a number of pre-Games events for elite athletes, schools and members of the public next month.
Some of these events include:
- From February, 11 test events in Olympic Park venues including Olympic qualifiers, two World Cups, British Championships and a series of international invitational events - before the Games even begin, over 4,000 athletes will compete at the Olympic Park
- A series of community and public events will also be hosted in Olympic Park venues including the National Lottery Fun Run, the School Games and the Gold Challenge in the Olympic Stadium which will involve over 40,000 participants and tens of thousands of spectators
- During the first weekend in May, five venues and all the common areas of the Olympic Park will be in used with 80,000 visitors expected to the Park on Saturday 5th May alone
- Outside of the Olympic Park, the London 2012 Festival will bring over 1,000 different events to the UK, and the Olympic Torch Relay will see 8,000 people carry the Olympic Flame within ten miles of 95 percent of people in the UK
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has now completed the main structures on the Olympic Park and will officially hand the site over to LOCOG to begin transforming it into a fully-operational Olympic and Paralympic Park.
The Olympic Park now becomes a live operational site with LOCOG ramping-up work to fit-out venues, and staging testing and licensing events.
The huge logistics challenges ahead of the Games include:
- Taking over the Olympic Park which becomes a live operational site with ‘overlay’ works, and testing and licensing events taking place throughout
- The fit-out of 9 competition venues on the Olympic Park to world-class standards including all temporary ‘overlay’ such as timing and scoring equipment
- Sourcing a million pieces of sport equipment such as 510 hurdles for athletics, 600 basketballs, 356 pairs of boxing gloves & 12 pairs of goalposts for Handball
- Getting the Olympic Park and venues ready to host 15,000 athletes and over 20,000 accredited media from 200 countries
- The construction of 100,000 square feet of Games-time retail space including a 40,000ft2 Mega Store – the flagship and largest London 2012 shop
- Building 11 sponsor showcase areas which will provide unique spectator experiences, many of which are large buildings or structures
- The creation of functional spectator areas within the Olympic Park including installing over 1,000 picnic benches, 362 toilet blocks, and 165 concessions
- Installing ticket box offices, information booths and programme sale points
- Installing the ‘look and feel’ of the Games throughout the venues and Park
- Installing almost 4,000 waste bins including recycling and composting bins throughout the venues and Park
- Set-up back-of-house facilities including 273 temporary buildings, cleaning and waste compounds, equipment rooms and workforce areas including 7 canteens
Dennis Hone, ODA Chief Executive, said: “We are in fine form ahead of the Games, having built the venues and main infrastructure on time and within budget.
"We hand the Olympic Park to the Organising Committee fully confident that they will continue pressing ahead on their preparations so that London 2012 becomes a brilliant once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience for everyone involved.
"As we move ahead into the final straight we will continue to work alongside the organising Committee in completing our remaining construction work.”
LOCOG has also announced that Birmingham Airport will host a London 2012 ‘welcome spectacular’ to give athletes and fans flying into the region a special Midlands welcome.
On approach to the airport, passengers will see the five giant Olympic Rings on the airport’s new air traffic control tower, which can also be seen from the main road into Birmingham.
The airport will also feature the London 2012 pictograms along the taxiway, and will use London 2012 branding to cover Diamond House opposite the terminal.