The best athletes in the world are set to descend on London from 27th July 2012 for this summer’s Olympic Games, with 205 countries expected to take part in 26 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports.
As the Opening Ceremony edges ever closer, we revel in the excitement of the occasion with some of our favourite photographs that tell the story of the 2012 Olympics so far.
Britain has literally been counting down the days to the Olympics ever since it learned that it would be hosting the games in 2012. To celebrate 1000 days until the hugely anticipated Opening Ceremony on 27th July, the BT Tower in London’s Camden was illuminated with bursts of spectacular fireworks.
Double Commonwealth gold medallist and London 2012 hopeful Tom Daley wowed spectators as he performed the first dive into the Aquatics Centre pool, marking one year to go to the Olympic Games.
The London 2012 Olympic Stadium is the most sustainable ever built. With steel a resource in short supply, the build was made 75 per cent lighter in terms of steel use than other stadiums. It also features a low-carbon concrete, made from industrial waste and containing 40 per cent less embodied carbon than usual. Construction began in May 2008 and was completed in just under three years, with the final piece of turf laid in April 2011.
Horse Guards Parade in central London has been transformed into a sporting arena for the latest event in the London Prepares series. Some of the world’s top athletes will be competing in the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International, which will feature a total of 54 matches from 9-14 August.
Spectators at the Greenwich Park Eventing Invitational, the test event for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian events, had a breathtaking view from the Cross-Country course, looking towards London’s Canary Wharf.
The Velodrome is the most sustainable venue in the Olympic Park in terms of design and construction, making optimal use of natural light and therefore reducing the need for electric lighting. The building’s form was inspired by the sport itself: “The bike is an ingenious ergonomic object, honed to unrivalled efficiency” said the Velodrome’s designers, Hopkins Architects. “We wanted the same application of design creativity and engineering rigor that goes into the design and manufacture of the bike to manifest itself in the building.”
The Olympic medals, which are presented in recognition of the incredible achievements of outstanding athletes, will be made in Britain and have been designed by British artist David Watkins who is an established artist in the field of decorative art. The design was revealed by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, and London 2012 Organising Committee Chair Seb Coe in the presence of IOC President Jacques Rogge at a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square, London.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Paralympics. The wheelchair games, involving injured World War II soldiers, were staged on the opening day of the London 1948 Olympics.
Top British rider Mark Cavendish topped off a successful summer by winning the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, the biggest test event yet to be staged by the London 2012 Organising Committee. Here, the cyclists complete their race along London’s The Mall, with Buckingham Palace serving as an inspiring backdrop.
One of the biggest advocates of the London 2012 Olympics is London Mayor, Boris Johnson, seen here riding a lap around the Velodrome. Johnson, who introduced the famous “Boris Bikes” to the capital in the hopes of making the city more active, has promised that London 2012 will be, “The greatest Games that has ever been held, in the greatest city on Earth.”
Organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC), the Olympic Flame will be lit using the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional hour-long ceremony among the historic ruins of the home of the ancient Games. The Flame will then be taken on an eight-day relay around Greece before arriving at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 17 May for the official Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony.
The Olympic Stadium is located in the south of the Olympic Park on an ‘island’ site, surrounded by waterways on three sides. Spectators will reach the venue via five bridges that link the site to the surrounding area.
The London 2012 Games would not be able to operate without the assistance of its volunteers- or to give them their official title- the Games Makers. Luckily, the recruitment committee had a staggering 240,000 candidates to choose from and a total of 70,000 Games Makers will be working during the games in a whole host of roles.
The jury is still out on the London Mascots but- love them or hate them- Wenlock and Mandeville are here to stay. Wenlock is named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock where, in the mid-19th century, the Wenlock Games became the inspiration for the modern Olympic movement. Mandeville’s name is derived from Stoke Mandeville, in Buckinghamshire, home to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
The largest of London’s Royal Parks, Hyde Park has been open to the public since 1637, and will host the Marathon Swimming and Triathlon events at London 2012. The park is also expected to be home to the music, theatre, film and cultural events that will take place throughout the summer of 2012.
We’re accustomed to seeing five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt, on the track but here he is pulling his signature pose outside of the Olympic Stadium. More than a million people applied for tickets to see the men’s 100m final, with Bolt being the hot favourite to take the title.
The New Year’s Eve celebrations on the banks of the River Thames welcomed 2012 in a glorious fashion. The sky was alight with every colour of the rainbow, as fireworks thundered from Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, to mark the beginning of a very special year.
An estimated global audience of 4 billion people are expected to watch the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012 and it is believed that The London Olympics will generate £10bn in revenue for the British economy as a whole.
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