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 Stadium and the Orbit

The Olympic Aquatics Centre

The Orbit and the Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Park from Tennis Buzz on Vimeo.

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:


London 2012 Games Makers

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Coinciding with London Olympics, Designed to Win explores the various ways in which design has shaped the sporting world.
The exhibition, created in association with Oakley, celebrates design in sport, focusing on the the relationship between design and performance and function, looking at how new materials, fashions and technologies have transformed sporting equipment.
Film clips, photography and models are shown alongside interactive displays, sporting equipment and timelines.

“Designed to Win” is split up into several different themes. The section on speed, power and performance features a selection of bicycles including a track bike, a downhill bike, a time-trial bike and a racing BMX to take a look at how the needs of different cyclists lead to highly specialised, technologically amazing bicycles. This part of the exhibition also features Bradley Wiggins’ recent Tour de France winning bicycle.

Also featured: Speedo’s controversial line of swimming suits, launched at Beijing 2008 Olympics, where 94 per cent of all races were won by athletes donning the LZR Racer. By August 2009, 93 world records had been broken by swimmers wearing it, prompting major investigations and allegations of “technological doping”. The suits were banned in 2010.

The exhibition also looks at safety equipment. There’s a selection of cricket helmets showing how their design and the materials used changed through time as they moved from steel to plastic to Kevlar protective shells. You can also see F1 racing helmets worn over the last three decades including Lewis Hamilton’s.

The final room is all about sporting controversies, and features in particular Ilie Nastase‘s spaghetti racquet.
The double-strung tennis racquet was first sighted in 1977, but was soon banned due to the excessive spin it generated. Ilie Nastase used what became known as the ‘spaghetti-strung’ racquet to end the 57-match claycourt winning streak of Guillermo Vilas.

More pics on Notcot

Designed To Win, Design Museum, until November 18. £10