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32OLYMPIC REVIEWElsewhere in the Olympic Park, the new basketballand BMX venues have hosted some of the first testevents. The handball arena and the velodrome, also purpose-built for the 2012 Games, are ready for action as well. The IOC's Coordination Commission for London 2012 has now travelled to the city eight times to gauge progress. On the most recent visit in April, the group focused on the Olympic stadium,the velodrome and the Athletes' Village, and werethoroughly impressed. "The outcome of our last Coordination Commissionvisit was very positive and we said that London was ina good place to start its test event programme inearnest," says Commission Chairman Denis Oswald."During this period, they will be able to focus on thedetails of their planning and see how their assumptionsmatch up against the reality on the ground."State-of-the-art design and technology were usedto create new sites and develop existing ones. Theswift completion of the 12,000-seat basketball arenain June, after less than two years, is only oneexample. Based on a 1,000-tonne steel frame andwrapped in 20,000 square metres of recyclable whitePVC membrane, it will be one of the largest temporaryOlympic venues ever.Sebastian Coe, the London 2012 Chairman, isadamant that every element of the Games will beathlete-centred. "We are completely focused on getting it right forthe athletes, so that they can achieve peakperformance and deliver the sporting spectacle thatthe public wants to see," he says. This is why the Athletes' Village is within a stone'sthrow of the Olympic Park venues and a short walk to the shuttle service to central London.The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Athletes' Committee,chaired by former Olympic triple jump championJonathan Edwards, is also heavily involved inpreparations to ensure that the London 2012 Olympic Games provide the best possible athleteexperience. Its tasks even go so far as testing thefood and the beds in the Athletes' Village to ensurethey are up to scratch.At the same time as looking forward to seeing thenew venues come to life, organisers will have theluxury of using historic and cultural landmarks as thebackdrop for sports events.Iconic locations such as Horse Guards Parade,Hampton Court Palace or The Mall, will create "a visual spectacle" for the billions of viewers around the world, says President Rogge, and will "add to the magic and unique atmosphere that only theGames can create". East London, meanwhile, has undergone a majortransformation as it prepares to host the Games,creating many opportunities for the local community.The construction of the Olympic Park has generatedthousands of new jobs, and the Olympic Village willprovide nearly 3,000 homes post-2012."We want the Games to leave a social, economicand sporting legacy and I hope that young peoplefrom east London make the most of this," says Coe.With the inclusion of women's boxing, the LondonGames will also be the first to have both men andwomen competing in every sport, marking animportant milestone in gender equality. ?London 2012OVERVIEW

OLYMPIC REVIEW33OVERVIEWLondon 2012?6 new venues have already been built in the Olympic Park?34 venues will be used in total?There are 26 Olympic sports on the programme?Women's boxing will make its Olympic debut?Approximately 17,000 athletes and officials will feature in the Games?The Opening Ceremony will take place on 27 July?A potential worldwide audience of 4 billion people could tune in to the Opening Ceremony?In phase one of ticket sales in the UK, 1.9 millionpeople requested 22.5 million tickets?The Olympic Village will be converted into 2,800 new homes after the Games?The Olympic Park will incorporate 45 hectares of wildlife habitat, with a total of 525 bird boxes, and 150 bat boxes?The steel frame of the International Broadcast Centre is big enough to house five jumbo jets placed wing-tip to wing-tip?Earlier this year, 12,112 people were working on the Olympic Park and Athletes' VillageFACTS AND FIGURES2012IN NUMBERS