The Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London in 2012 are widely regarded as one of the most successful of modern times. They regenerated a largely wasteland area in East London and inspired a generation into sport.
On the track, Team GB’s sporting performance was the best this country had produced at an Olympics since 1908, and there was an equal emphasis on the Paralympics too, with over 4,000 athletes from 164 countries competing in front of packed crowds.
However, the initial resistance and negative reception to the bid when it began in 2003, was a world away from the euphoria and patriotism that London 2012 would inspire. By the time London had decided to bid, the UK hadn’t tried to host the Olympics for a decade. There had been three previous failed British bids, by Birmingham and Manchester, and many years of cynicism by those who felt that hosting an Olympics was nothing more than an elaborate and expensive exercise in national ego boosting.
Encompassing resignations, a TV investigation that nearly scuttled the team’s hopes, and a dramatic final push involving Prime Ministers and global superstars, the story of the bid for London 2012 contains almost as much drama as the Games themselves.
Kirsty Wark is joined by core members of the bid team:
Barbara Cassani was the first Chair of the bid and Sir Keith Mills was its Chief Executive.
Jonathan Edwards and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson sat on the Athletes Advisory Board.
Richard Caborn was the Minister for Sport and Sir Craig Reedie was a member of the International Olympic Committee
Lord Sebastian Coe became Bid Chair in its second stage.
Producer: Steve Hankey
Presenter: Kirsty Wark
Series Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
— Seb Coe (@sebcoe) July 6, 2020
🔊Sound on for MAJOR goosebumps!🔊#OnThisDay in 2005, London was awarded the 2012 Olympic games!
What. A, Moment! 🥇🎉❤😭
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 6, 2020
15 years ago today London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games! 🙌
In that time, the Park has undergone an incredible transformation 🤩
— Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (@noordinarypark) July 6, 2020
15 years ago today, London was awarded the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games! 🤝 pic.twitter.com/YIoCgVXa8S
— Team GB (@TeamGB) July 6, 2020
Read more: London 2012 Candidate File
From the publisher:
Images of the Past: Wembley: The History of the Iconic Twin Towers
It was the field of dreams, the birthplace of legends, the hallowed home of our sporting gods. Historic Wembley Stadium, with its iconic Twin Towers, was truly the most revered of venues.
Until the Millennium, when the world-renowned colossus was demolished to make way for its futuristic replacement, the famous old Stadium witnessed some of the most heroic events of the Twentieth Century. But its history, although always exciting, was also often uncertain– and not a little bizarre.
So, despite most eyes being on future fixtures as the sporting hub heads towards it centenary, it is the ancient edifice’s often forgotten past that is the subject of this book. And the uncomfortable truth is that Wembley’s original debut was anything but auspicious. In fact, it was once viewed as a debt-ridden disaster. So doomed was it deemed to be that the North London complex was about to be knocked down – and was rescued only at the last moment, in the most extraordinary circumstances. Happily, it recovered to become a success story, the memories of which are recorded here, hopefully to open the floodgates of nostalgia for followers of sport.
Wembley, it must be remembered, came to the rescue of the first post-War Olympics when no other nation on earth would accept the challenge. It gripped greyhound racing aficionados and it thrilled to the roar of speedway stars. The giants of American football also muscled in to display their skills there.
Great Britons like Frank Bruno and Henry Cooper stepped into the ring (and Cassius Clay was felled to the canvas) before stunned boxing fans. And, of course, Wembley crowds gasped in awe at the footwork of Stanley Matthews and wept in ecstasy at the triumph of Bobby Moore.
But the North London location is more than just the Holy Grail of sport. It has seen defining moments in pop music history, such as Live Aid. It has given platforms to the Pope and evangelist Billy Graham. It has staged breathtaking spectaculars no other venue could hope to accommodate, growing in stature over the course of an astonishing century.
This then, for both sports buffs and social historians, is historic Wembley’s story … an unfolding saga played out beneath those symbolically soaring Twin Towers.
By Maurice Crow
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Images of the Past
Published: 5th March 2018
Carpenters Land Bridge connecting East Bank to International Quarter London was installed on Christmas Day – a brand new pedestrian and cycle bridge on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Installation of the 66 metre-long, 7.2 metre-wide and 350-ton steel Carpenters Land Bridge began at 3.30am on Christmas morning and was completed by 3.30pm that afternoon.
The bridge is a key part of the infrastructure for East Bank, the new £1.1 billion culture and education district being created on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The new connection will link museums, theatres, music studios and UAL’s London College of Fashion with the new business district at International Quarter London.
GRAHAM’s team took advantage of the rail network Christmas shutdown to rotate the bridge into position and minimise disruption to three Network Rail lines, two DLR lines and Carpenters Road.
The bridge was manoeuvred into place using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) rather than a traditional crane to reduce the risk of cancellation caused by potential high winds.
The bridge deck was transported on the SPMTs along Carpenters Road in a jacked-up position circa 8-9 metres above ground level. It was supported on the SPMTs in a cantilever arrangement with a large counterweight of 450 tonnes to balance the bridge during installation. The bridge was finally rotated into position across the road and rail lines and lowered into position on top of a cill beam and portal frame, at either end of the bridge.
Rosanna Lawes, Executive Director of Development at London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “Our thanks go to all the hard-working construction staff who have made fantastic progress, especially those from GRAHAM and their contractors who were hard at work over the Christmas holidays to deliver this fantastic new bridge.”
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “The installation of the Carpenters Land Bridge is another key moment in the East Bank development. It will provide access to local people and visitors from around the globe to the world-leading institutions that are set to be based at the country’s new powerhouse of culture, education, innovation and growth.”
The bridge works are due to be completed in spring 2020.
Video by GRAHAM Group on YouTube
Video by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on YouTube.
Source: The London 2012 Games are coming to the DLR (leaflet by TFL & MOL)
You can download the map (pdf) here.
Source: Transport for London / the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Video by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on YouTube