2012 Olympic Games

The Olympic Torch Arrives in the UK

The Olympic Torch will be arriving in the U.K. on the 18th May and then will begin its 70 day relay. Over 1000 cities throughout the country will be visited by the Torch, and it will be carried by 8000 bearers.
The Torchbearers are all U.K. citizens, chosen for their exceptional and inspirational stories and achievements. They are everyday people who have achieved something spectacular or overcome impossible odds; from philanthropists to survivors to local heroes.

London 2012 Olympic Games - Events and General Information

It's only two months to go until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The opening ceremony will kick off on 27th July, with Archery beginning the same day. Here follows a brief break-down of the schedule for some of the most popular events:

  • Athletics from 3rd July - 12th August
  • Gymnastics every day apart from the 3rd and 4th July (first 2 days of Athletics)
  • Swimming 28th - 4th and 9th - 10th. Synchronised swimming 5th - 7th and 9th - 10th
  • Diving 28th - 1st and 3rd - 11th.
  • Track cycling 2nd - 7th
  • Fencing 28th - 5th
  • The closing ceremony will be held on Sunday 12th August.

Getting To The London 2012 Games

If you are visiting the Games and are unfamiliar with London, it is highly advisable to plan your journey well ahead of time. The Olympic Stadium and Village are located on the edge of Hackney Wick, in Stratford within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Travel to this part of London is easy - there are a range of transport links - but public transport will be exceptionally busy throughout the Games. There are two main routes to get to the Stadium using London's public transport:

  1. Take the Overground Service to Hackney Wick station (connect from the Underground at Highbury and Islington) - trains operating on this service depart every 6 - 10 minutes. The Stadium will be visible from Hackney Wick station, less than a five minute walk away.
  2. Take the Underground to Bethnal Green Station. Exit the station, cross the road at the traffic lights and turn LEFT. Take the 8 bus (towards Bow Church - this bus will be running an increased service) and get off the bus at Parnell Road. From here the Stadium is also visible, roughly a five minute walk, but clearly signposted.
  3. If you are travelling from within London or surrounding areas you can also take advantage of the new Stratford International Station serving the Tube Central and Jubilee Lines as well as over-ground trains from East Anglia, Docklands Light Railway and the National Express.

London 2012 Olympics Security Measures

It is recommended that visitors allow 2.5 hours to get through the Stadium's airport style security. Tickets will allow entry to the Stadium two hours ahead of any given event. ALWAYS plan ahead and allow plenty of time for travel. Transport links will be very busy and the area surrounding the Stadium will be crowded.
It is recommended to avoid bringing bags into football venues if possible, because this will be subject to additional checks and queuing. All venues have restrictions on bags, which MUST be soft sided and small enough to fit under seats or on laps. Bottles containing liquids of any size are also prohibited.
Upon your arrival at the Games, specially trained Game Makers will be on hand to answer any questions and assist visitors to their seats. Having been selected from over 100,000 applicants the Game Makers (visible by their bright blue uniforms) have all attended numerous training sessions - they can answer all kinds of questions, from 'How do I get to my seat?' to 'What's a number for a local taxi company?' or 'Where can I get Halal food?'

The London Olympics Opening Ceremony 27th July 2012

With a cast of over 1,500 performers, the 2012 London Olympics Ceremony has an expected audience of four billion. All eyes really will be on London on 27th July. Danny Boyle (director of famous British films such as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire) is the Artistic Director for this year's opening ceremony.

Every ceremony must include certain traditional events, the order of events during the opening ceremony will be:

  • Head of State Received
    The Queen will be received to the Games by Jacques Rogge (President of the International Olympics Committee)
  • Parade of Athletes
    The participating Athletes enter the Stadium. The host nation enters last (with the Greek team always entering first).
  • Olympic Speeches
    Jacques Rogge and Seb Coe will give speeches. The Queen will announce the Games officially open.
  • Olympic Flag and Anthem
    Olympic flag enters the stadium while the Olympic anthem plays.
  • Olympic Games Oaths
    Every athlete competing in the Olympics will complete the oath, which vows to maintain the rules and values of the Games
  • Finale and Arrival of Olympic Torch
    In the final stage of the opening ceremony is when the creative teams will really be on display, as the arrival of the torch signals the true start of the Games. At present, specifics of the finale of the Opening Ceremony are a closely guarded secret, but details will be gradually released closer to the date.

Brief History of the Olympic Games

According to Greek legend, the Olympics were originally founded by the great Hercules, son of Zeus, and his mighty strength made him the ultimate Olympian. Certainly in historical records, the Olympic Games can be dated back as far as 776 BC. The very first Olympic games had only one event - the 200 meter sprint. In 776 BC a runner named Coroebus (a cook by trade) won the sprint and therefore became the first ever Olympian on record. At the first Games, all competitors were required to run completely naked; back then only men were permitted to compete and this was seen as a sure-fire way to prevent women from sneaking in! The Games continued until 393 AD, when Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius banned the Games as a Pagan practice.

The Games remained on hiatus for almost 1500 years, until French aristocrat Pierre de Coubertin, after a struggle with numerous cynics, finally managed to get the Games running again. Part of his campaign to revive the Games included an inspirational speech, where he made the call:
'Let us export our oursmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future.'

Finally, in the summer of 1896, the first modern Games were held in Athens and the Olympic Games as we know them today were born.