London 2012 Olympics: venue guide

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1) Venue: Aquatics Centre

Location: South-east Corner of the Olympic Park

Hosting: Diving, Swimming, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo, Paralympic Swimming, Modern Pentathlon.

Capacity: 17,500 for Diving and Swimming events and 5,000 for Water Polo.

About: New venue for the Games, with a stunning wave-like roof 160m long and 80m wide.

Fact: The roof of the centre will have a longer single span than Heathrow Terminal 5.

Post Games: It will be transformed into a facility for locals as well as elite swimmers. Two of the wings will be removed leaving a maximum capacity of 3,500.

2) Venue: Basketball Arena

Location: North of the Olympic Park

Hosting: Basketball, Handball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby.

Capacity: 12,000 during the Olympic games; 10,000 during the Paralympic Games.

About: New venue for the Games, however it is only temporary and will be one of the largest ever temporary venues built for any Olympics.

Fact: To accommodate the size of the athletes, all doors in the venue are required to be at least 2.4 metres high.

Post Games: It will be dismantled after the London 2012 Games.

3) Venue: Earls Court

Location: West London, near the Natural History and Science Museums.

Hosting: Indoor Volleyball

Capacity: 15,000

About: Existing venue which during the year hosts hundreds of events as well as music concerts.

Fact: Britain's first supermarket opened in Earls Court in 1951.

Post Games: After the Games, Earls Court will go back to being an exhibition centre and music arena.

4) Venue: Eton Dorney

Location: Near Windsor Castle, 25 miles west of London

Hosting: Rowing, Canoe Sprint, Paralympic Rowing.

Capacity: Up to 30,000

About: Existing venue which hosts all types of races, including internationals, and is in the process of being enhanced. The lake came about as an idea by Eton College teachers in the 60s, who wanted a still-water course rather than the choppy waters of the Thames.

Fact: To minimise disruption to the local community extracted construction material was removed on a special conveyor belt to a point two miles away for collection by lorry there.

Post Games: The venue will continue to be a world class training and competition facility.

5) Venue: ExCeL

Location: Near London City Airport in East London.

Hosting: Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Boccia, Paralympic Table Tennis, Paralympic Judo, Paralympic Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Fencing.

Capacity: ExCeL will be divided into 4 sports halls with capacities ranging from 6,000 to 10,000.

About: It is an existing venue which is an exhibitions and conference centre and rivals Earls Court for being the best exhibition centre in London. No work will need to be done to the centre.

Fact: Since 2000, ExCeL has welcomed over 5 million visitors from over 200 different countries.

Post Games: The venue will revert to being one of Europe's largest exhibition spaces.

6) Venue: Greenwich Park

Location: In south-east London on the south bank of the river Thames.

Hosting: Equestrian- Jumping, Dressage, Eventing and Paralympic Equestrian. Also Modern Pentathlon.

Capacity: 23,000.

About: Existing venue, which is an enclosed royal park, with the Old Royal Naval College and the National Maritime Museum also within its grounds.

Fact: Henry VIII introduced deer to Greenwich Park in the 16th Century for him to be able to hunt them. He did not catch them all however, and some still remain in the park today.

Post Games: The temporary structures will be taken down and the park will return to the way it was.

7) Venue: Hadleigh Farm

Location: East of London in Essex

Hosting: Mountain Bike

Capacity: 3,000, not including standing around the course

About: It is a new, 550 acre venue, which is the alternative site to the original Weald County Park which was deemed not challenging enough.

Fact: Hadleigh Farm is owned by the Salvation Army.

Post Games: The temporary structures will be taken down.

8) Venue: Handball Arena

Location: In the west of the Olympic Park

Hosting: Handball, Goalball, Modern Pentathlon.

Capacity: 7,000

About: New, permanent venue which will host the handball games up to the quarter-final, but the semis and the finals will be played in the larger Basketball Arena.

Fact: Rainwater collected from the venue's roof will be used to flush lavatories and reduce water usage by 40%.

Post Games: It will be adapted to become a multi-use sports centre for the community to use, as well a training centre for athletes and a venue for small to medium sized competitions.

9) Venue: Hockey Centre

Location: Olympic Park

Hosting: Hockey, Paralympic 5-a-side Football, Paralympic 7-a-side Football.

Capacity: 15,000

About: New venue, composed of two pitches, the main pitch with a capacity of 15,000 and the second pitch with a capacity of 5,000.

Fact: The first Olympic Hockey final was played in 1908 in London, where England defeated Ireland 8-1.

Post Games: The hockey pitches will relocate to the north of the Olympic Park, joining a collection of facilities in a place known as Eton Manor.

10) Venue: Horse Guards Parade

Location: In Whitehall, in the heart of London next to Downing Street and Buckingham Palace

Hosting: Beach Volleyball

Capacity: 15,000

About: The venue will be new, however the Parade has a long history, hosting the Queen's official birthday celebration each year with the Trooping of the Colour.

Fact: At the 1996 Olympics, The USA men's side were so good that they had two teams playing each other in the final.

Post Games: The temporary facility will be taken down.

11) Venue: Hyde Park

Location: In the West End of London

Hosting: Triathlon, 10k Open Water Swim.

Capacity: 3,000

About: Hyde Park is the largest of London's Royal Parks and has been open to the public since 1637. The seating will be a new but temporary addition to the park.

Fact: Queen played a concert here in 1976 with an estimated audience of between 150-200,000 people turning up.

Post Games: The course and the grandstand will be removed.

12) Venue: Lee Valley White Water Centre

Location: 30km north of the Olympic Park

Hosting: Canoe Slalom

Capacity: Up to 12,000

About: The centre will be a new, permanent venue which is made up of two courses, one for training, one for competition.

Fact: 15 cubic metres of water per second will flow into the 300m competition course – enough to fill a 50m swimming pool every minute.

Post Games: The venue will remain a Canoe centre open to the public as well as elite athletes, but the temporary seats will all be removed.

13) Venue: Lord's Cricket Ground

Location: North-west London near Regent's Park

Hosting: Archery

Capacity: 6,500

About: Lord's is an existing venue and in sporting terms, is the 'home of cricket' and has been since 1814, hosting international matches on a regular basis.

Fact: The ground slopes 8ft 8in from one square boundary to the other.

Post Games: The ground will go back to being home for the Marylebone Cricket Club and Middlesex County Cricket Club. Archery equipment from the Games will be given to schools across the country.

14) Venue: North Greenwich Arena

Location: Right at the point of the Greenwich peninsular in East London near Canary Wharf

Hosting: Artistic Gymnastics, Trampoline, Basketball, Wheelchair Basketball

Capacity: 20,000

About: The Arena (also known as the O2 Arena), is an existing venue which currently hosts hundreds of concerts a year as well as sporting events such as tennis. It is widely regarded as one of the best venues in the world, attracting the biggest names in entertainment.

Fact: If the Eiffel Tower was laid on its side, it would still fit inside the arena.

Post Games: It will remain an entertainments venue, attracting people from all over the world.

15) Venue: Olympic Stadium

Location: In the south of the Olympic Park

Hosting: Athletics, Paralympic Athletics

Capacity: 80,000

About: The Stadium is being built from scratch and aims to be constructed by next year. 55,000 of the 80,000 capacity is removable, which apparently has never been attempted before.

Fact: 10,000 tonnes of steel are being used to build the venue, compared to the 42,000 used by Beijing for their 'Bird's Nest'.

Post Games: Negotiations are still ongoing as to what exactly will happen to the Stadium, with various sporting clubs in London all expressing interest in using or leasing it.

16) Venue: Olympic Village

Location: In the Olympic Park

Hosting: All athletes and officials.

Capacity: 17,000

About: As well as residential apartments, the village will comprise of shops, restaurants, medical, media and leisure facilities. There will also be a 'Plaza', where athletes can meet up with friends and families.

Fact: The plan of the village has been based around London's tradition of building homes around communal squares and courtyards.

Post Games: The village will become housing for new residents in east London, transforming into 2800 homes.

17) Venue: The Royal Artillery Barracks

Location: On the edge of Woolwich Common in south-east London.

Hosting: Shooting, Paralympic Shooting, Paralympic Archery

Capacity: 7,500

About: The artillery barracks were constructed in the 18th century and it only seems fitting that the shooting events take place here. Four temporary indoor ranges will be built for Pistol and Rifle shooting, with outdoor ranges for Trap and Skeet events.

Fact: Hungarian shooter Karoly Takac, taught himself to shoot left-handed after a grenade blew off his right arm in 1938. 10 years later, he won two gold medals at the London 1948 Games.

Post Games: There is still uncertainty as to where elements of the venue and sports equipment could be reused after the Games.

18) Venue: Velodrome

Location: In the North of the Olympic Park

Hosting: Track Cycling, BMX, Paralympic Track Cycling.

Capacity: 6000 in the Velodrome (permanent), 6000 at the BMX track (temporary)

About: Totally new venue with the velodrome having two tiers, with a glass window in between the tiers for a 360-degree view of the Olympic Park.

Fact: Sir Chris Hoy was involved in the design process of the Velodrome.

Post Games: The BMX seating will be removed and the track reconfigured. A new mountain bike course and road cycle circuit will be added to create one venue which will encompass all disciplines of the sport.

19) Venue: Wembley Arena

Location: Northwest London, 6 miles from the city centre.

Hosting: Badminton, Rhythmic Gymnastics

Capacity: 6,000

About: Wembley Arena is one of the most famous concert venues in the world and has been host to many of the biggest names in the music industry. It has also hosted sporting events such as boxing, ice hockey and darts, so very little preparation needs to be done for it to be ready.

Fact: Wembley Stadium was the primary venue the last time the Games were held in London, in 1948. Was built for the equivalent of the Commonwealth Games (The Empire Games) in 1934 by Sir Arthur Elvin, and originally was intended to be a swimming pool.

Post Games: It will return to being a world-class concert venue.

20) Venue: Weymouth and Portland

Location: In Dorset on England's South Coast

Hosting: Sailing, Paralympic Sailing

Capacity: No seating at venue

About: Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour provide some of the best natural sailing waters anywhere in the UK, along with facilities to match on land. It has already hosted the World Youth Championships which was attended by over 60 nations.

Fact: Great Britain has been the most successful sailing nation at the last three Olympics.

Post Games: The venue will be used predominantly by the National Sailing Academy after the Games, who will no doubt benefit from the improved facilities. Local community use will also be allowed.

21) Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club

Location: Wimbledon

Hosting: Tennis

Capacity: 30,000

About: Wimbledon is the home of the All England Tennis and Croquet Club and is the setting for arguably the best tennis tournament in the world which takes place every summer. It is famous for being the only major grass-court venue in the world.

Fact: 'Love' – the term for 'no points' in tennis – is thought to come from the French word 'l'oeuf', meaning 'egg' – the shape of a zero.

Post Games: Wimbledon will go back to being host of the major tennis tournament.

22) Venue: Water Polo Arena

Location: Olympic Park

Hosting: Water polo

Capacity: 5,000

About: designed to complement the look of the Aquatics Centre, the wedge-shaped arena will rise from 12 metres to 25 metres and feature a rippling roof made of recycled PVC cushions inflated with air to provide extra insulation.

Fact: the Aquatics Centre and Water Polo Arena will be adjacent to each other in one of the most tightly-packed areas of the Olympic Park.

Post Games: the arena will be taken down, although it is expected that materials will be reused or recycled.

23) Venue: Eton Manor

Location: Olympic Park

Hosting: Wheelchair tennis

Capacity: 10,500

About: the formerly disused sports club will house nine competition courts and four warm-up courts, as well as temporary training pools – three 50m pools for swimmers, and smaller pools for synchronised swimmers and Water Polo players.

Fact: Eton Manor acted as a temporary base for the Construction College East London, a training centre for people hoping to work in construction. When the college moved to its permanent base in 2009, many students stayed on to work on the Olympic project.

Post Games: the site will serve as a sports centre for the local and regional communities and will include a tennis centre with four indoor and six outdoor courts, a hockey centre with two competition pitches and five-a-side football pitches. The site will be able to accommodate elite hockey events with up to 15,000 spectators.

24) Venue: Brands Hatch

Location: In Kent, one hour away from the Olympic Park

Hosting: Paralympic road cycling

Capacity: TBC

About: The internationally-renowned motor racing circuit plays host to many British and international racing events throughout the year. The Paralympic course, which passes through Sevenoaks, will start and finish at Brands Hatch.

Fact: The venue was originally a mushroom field, before its potential as a racing track was spotted by a group of cyclists in 1926. The track was used for 12 runnings of the British Grand Prix between 1964 and 1986.

Post Games: The track will revert to its role as one of Europe's leading motor racing venues.

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