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The 2012 Olympic Games will be one of London's biggest events of the year. But the British capital is no stranger to the Olympic spotlight, and some of its landmark locations will provide a historic backdrop for the Games.
Historic landmarks retell London in Olympic spotlight
Whichever city in the UK any of us ever visit as tourists, its'heritage' is always part of its attraction. London is a city where Shakespeare wrote and performed his plays; where Monarchs have ruled and from where Empires have been run.
And, perhaps most importantly, London will soon be the only city to have hosted 3 Olympic Games. 2012 is Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne.
The homes the British Monarch still occupies in the capital and elsewhere will no doubt be huge tourist attractions throughout the Games; and one or two of them will even get a starring role.
Just 10 miles west of Buckingham Palace is another world.
Famously seized by Henry VIII from Cardinal Wolsey in 1529, Hampton Court will be the start and finish point in the men's and women's Cycle Time Trials. But there's one royal London attraction that's been entertaining guests for nearly 1, 000 years; and its distinctive band of guards are ready for many more of them during 2012.
John Keohane, chief yeoman warder in Tower of London, said, "Beef was not a common meat in the 13th and 14th centuries. People living outside the Tower of London were very jealous of those living in because the meat at the banqueting table would be distributed to the families living here inside the tower. So that name Beefeater is really is that name given to the body of Yeoman Warders in jealousy.
Travel eastwards down the Thames and you'll find Greenwich. Henry VIII was born here…and soon became a royal sporting playground.
Nicki Higgins, from Old Royal Naval College, said, "500 years ago when Greenwich Palace stood on this site which was one of Henry VIII favourite palaces among many sport he played here was jousting and he built his own Tilt Yard over towards where the park is now so it's really appropriate that the 2012 Equestrian games are happening here in Greenwich Park. "
But nearly 150 year's after Henry's death; his old palace became the site for something even grander; the Old Royal Naval College. And in 2011, the perfect place to announce Team GB's sailing squad.
Iain Percy with GB 2012 Olympic Sailing Team, said, "There's been so many great sailors over the years learning their trade here. Knowing that history and knowing the pressure on us; it was quite a special day. I'm going to find that so great that I'm going to have my foreign competitors that I've raced against for years being here and realizing how much the public are enjoying these Olympics; that party atmosphere is going to be fantastic. "
Christopher Wren's naval college now sits happily amongst more recent architecture a pattern visible right across London; and clearly visible from the Heron Tower.
Ed McCann with 2012 Velodrome Design Team, said, "London isn't like any other city actually; it's a composite city it's a city that comes out of many, many influences and that's because it was always a global trading place so styles and influences and technologies have come here from all over the world. "
For the engineers and architects involved in 2012, the challenge has been to create buildings that transcend their function.
Ed McCann said, "In doing the Velodrome was to honestly contain the function of cycling we've pulled the surface of the building so it literally does just contain it we've used material like timber all over the building because they're the materials we want to use today and lightweight steel to make a very light roof. It's a form-follows-function building but it's of now; it's of London in the 21st century. "
If architecture can sometimes become great art, one man's mission is to search more of it out amongst the rubble and mud of the Olympic site.
Neville Gabie, Artist in Residence of London 2012 Olympic Park, said, "When I was commissioned by the ODA to be their Artist in Residence my remit I guess was to make what was happening on the park visible to a wider audience off it; trying to tell something of the story of the people working on the park. "
Neville's work has captured a new chapter in London's life and as millions of visitors prepare to descend on the city next summer, each of them will be adding to the cultural, historical and sporting heritage of this great metropolis.
Neville Gabie said, "My role at the park is absolutely unique. I don't think there has ever been a park been built where they have had an artist in residence before. And I think it's a really different role because what it means is that I was given a remit to spend all that time on the park and respond to it over those 15 months. And as soon as you start, one of the things that comes across is people telling you "there's so many tonnes of concrete" and "so many thousand bricks or tiles". And everything seems to be around measurements. That really became my guiding principle. One of the people I met on the buses was an obsessive swimmer, as well as driving one of the buses. So one of the projects I decided to do was to get Sam to swim the length of one of these internal bus routes in the Olympic pool. There are so many things you'd like to do, you just don't physically have the time to do them. "
Iain Percy said, "The sailing for the Olympics is actually not held in London, it's in Weymouth on the south coast - a fantastic venue. One of the things I like about it, it's a little technical, but it challenges you on a lot of levels. There's a man-made harbour there called Portland Harbour and there's the open ocean. So we have half of our races inside and half of our races out, which tests you on a lot of different levels. One of the things I'm most proud about with Weymouth is that, for the last 5 years since the centre's been built, almost straight after the Olympic vote, I've been coming down seeing 600 children, every day, sailing out of the centre. I think we're the only facility having our legacy before we've even got there and that's really special. "