With less than a year to go until the Olympic Games kick off in London, we thought that it was high time to proffer a comprehensive guide to all things Olympiad in 2012. Expected to bring a much-needed boost the UK economy, the Olympics offers countless business opportunities both in the run-up and during the event. Part One gives a general overview of the Games for anyone feeling a little out of the loop.
Part One – The Games
London 2012 kicks off on July 27th 2012 with the Paralympics starting slightly later on the 29th August. Indeed, London is a relative old-hand when it comes to the Olympics having staged them twice before in 1908 and 1948. So far construction projects are running smoothly – on time and under budget – although a public hoo-ha was triggered by the logo for the games when it was first unveiled. Some said it looked like a technicolour dinosaur, others likened it to bad Stone Age art; there was even concern that it could trigger epileptic seizures.
The Ancient Olympic Games featured sports such as chariot racing, pankration (a type of wrestling involving throwing and choking your opponent), and boxing bouts that continued until one man either surrendered or died. Delightful stuff.
Thankfully the modern Olympics are somewhat less gruesome, but still pretty exciting. Throughout the games athletes from 204 nationals will compete in 38 disciplines for that coveted gold medal. Events range from synchronised swimming to fencing, from handball to field hockey. A full list of sports can be found here: http://www.london2012.com/sport
Whilst the games are primarily based in London, some of the events are being hosted further afield such as Dorset (where the sailing will be based) and various football stadia around the country. Notable locations include:
- Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade
- The brand new Olympic Park in Stratford, which contains the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome amongst others.
- The O2 arena and Earls Court Exhibition Centre
Public transport will see various improvements, including upgrades to the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line, the expansion of the East London Line, and a new “Olympic Javelin” service.
It is hoped that the Olympics will attract a significant number of tourists, both from the UK and from overseas, and it is expected to give a significant boost to the British economy – an Oxford Economics independent report estimates that 5.5 million people will enter the capital during the Olympics with 450,000 staying within London. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain too much.
Alongside the sporting events, the London Cultural Olympiad will culminate in the London 2012 festival, which aims to be a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation, and leave a lasting legacy for the arts in the UK.