Read part one here.
The 12,000-capacity Basketball Arena is the third-largest venue in the Olympic Park. For the Paralympics, the Basketball Arena has been transformed to host the Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby events before being taken down, with parts expected to be reused or relocated elsewhere in the UK.
The next Andy Murray?
Enjoying the Park
Water Polo Arena
Designed by Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the Aquatics Centre was the last structure to be completed before the Games began.
After the Games, the two temporary wings will be removed while the Centre will be transformed into a leisure facility for local and elite swimmers, complete with creche, family-friendly changing facilities, a cafe and a new public plaza.
The main Olympic Park entrance:
The Orbit and the Olympic Stadium
Enjoying a bit of music to put an end to this fantastic day at the Paralympics.
On my way to the Olympic Park:
A swift and hassle-free passage through security and here I am.
The 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium played host to the Olympic and the Paralympic Athletics as well as all the opening and closing ceremonies.
London 2012 Megastore
World’s largest McDonalds:
Panasonic 3D Theatre
There were lots of free activities provided by Paralympic sponsors, like the Panasonic Theatre, Samsung booth, Coca Cola Beatbox… but I was there to watch some sports and I’m not a huge fan of lines, so I can’t report on them.
Coca Cola Beatbox
British Airways have sponsored a giant screen perched in the middle of the River Lea. Park Live is the only place to catch up on sport if you’re not inside a venue.
The Olympic Park is really big, from one end to the other it’s about two kilometres. It took me more than 20 minutes from the Olympic Stadium to Eaton Manor, at the northern end of the park.
For people having trouble getting around, there were stacks of Games Mobility Vehicles parked up, with Games Makers ready to spring into action.
And finally, Eton Manor, where I spent most of the aftenoon watching the women’s singles final and the women’s doubles bronze medal match.
Timed to coincide with the end of the Paralympics, the Greater London Authority has launched The Gifts of the Games, a poster campign and website highlighting some of the benefits that 2012 has brought to London.
The ads will be running on the tube network and the DLR as well as in the Metro newspaper for the next six weeks.
Whereas the tennis world was focused on stormy US Open, I was enjoying a few days in sunny London during the Paralympics.
Wandering round London, it was nearly impossible to avoid the Paralympics.
The Olympic Park
East London has undergone major development in the last few years to transform it into the centrepiece of London 2012.
Most Olympic and Paralympic events took place at the ground-breaking 2.5 square km Olympic Park in Stratford. The most distinctive venues in the Olympic Park are the Olympic Stadium, that played host to the Olympic and the Paralympic Athletics as well as all the opening and closing ceremonies, Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome, nicknamed the Pringle.
The Olympic Park has now closed its doors and will remain shut for at least a year while venues are dismantled.
While the fate of the Olympic Stadium remains uncertain, three of the eight sports venues (the temporary basketball, water polo and Riverbank arenas) will disappear.
As for the four remaining venues:
- Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre will shed its wings, reducing the seating capacity from 17500 to 2500. It will host training and competitions and will be open to the public.
- the Velodrome will be the heart of the new Lee Valley Velopark, including the Olympic BMX track and new bike trails, café and hire and workshop facilities.
- the Copper Box, the multi-use arena, will host a myriad of sports as well as concerts and corporate events upon reopening, with a gym, exercise studio and café.
- Eton Manor, that hosted the Wheelchair tennis competition will become a permanent home for the Lee Valley Hockey Centre and the Lee Valley Tennis Centre, and is scheduled to host the European Hockey Championships in 2015.
The site will reopen as the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park in 2014.
The Games Makers
The purple Games Makers uniforms have become synonymous with the London 2012 Games: thousands of volunteers took to the streets to inform and guide the athletes, officials and fans:
The five Olympic giant rings on the front of the National Gallery have been replaced by three curved crescents: the Paralympics Agitos.