- A GUIDE TO LONDON’S OLYMPIC PARK -
Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, this spectacular centre, with its distinctive wave-like roof and state-of-the-art facilities, is open to people of all ages and abilities. It can seat 2,500 spectators, but don’t let that put you off taking a dip. There is a wide range of fun and family-friendly activities, as well as lane swimming, diving lessons and professional training sessions. OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHT: When American swimmer Michael Phelps became the greatest Olympian in the history of the Games during a turbulent relay race in which he won his 19th Olympic medal.
THE COPPER BOX ARENA
Handball, fencing, badminton, gymnastics… this arena attracts lots of local sports clubs these days, while also hosting everything from heavyweight boxing matches to pop concerts. Later this year, you can watch the 2016 National Taekwondo Championships (24-25 Sep), Winmau World Darts Masters (24-27 Nov) and England Roses vs Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in the Vitality Netball International Series (29 Nov). OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHT: Dubbed the ‘box that rocks’, this venue hosted goalball events in the Paralympics. Invented in 1946 to rehabilitate World War II soldiers, it involves visually impaired athletes throwing a ball with a bell towards a defended goal.
The Park’s most recognisable venue is the only arena in the UK to host both world-class football and athletics events. When it’s not staging major international sports meetings, the stadium is used for entertainment, including a massive AC/DC concert earlier this summer. This month, it’s all about the beautiful game, though, as the stadium becomes the new home of West Ham United FC – the biggest and most successful British stadium move in the modern era. See the club take on Juventus in an international friendly on 7 Aug, and book your tickets now for next year’s World ParaAthletics Championships (14-23 Jul 2017) and the IAAF World Championships (4-13 Aug 2017). This will be the first time that both Championships are held in the same summer, in the same city! OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHT: When distance runner Mo Farah became the first Briton to win the 10,000m gold medal. Born in Somalia but raised in west London, Farah was seen as an image of modern Britain and hailed as a national treasure.
Whizz up the UK’s tallest sculpture in a lift and enjoy views across London’s famous skyline. On a clear day, you can see for 32km in a panorama that takes in iconic buildings, including The View from The Shard, the Houses of Parliament and the ‘Gherkin’. What goes up must come down, so if you’re a thrill-seeker then you’re in for a treat. Why not abseil down the sculpture, or zoom down the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide? Created by Belgian artist Carsten Höller, this is no ordinary helter-skelter ride. It stretches almost 590ft long and 249ft high; as you rush down, you can reach speeds of up to 24km per hour! OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHT: Designed by Turner Prize-winning sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, the Orbit became a powerful symbol of a neglected part of London suddenly transformed.
LEE VALLEY VELOPARK
Track cycling, road racing, BMX and mountain biking – this iconic venue has it all. Burn some rubber inside the awardwinning, 6,000-seat velodrome or head outside and feel the wind in your hair as you tackle dozens of bumps, jumps and berms on the remodelled Olympic BMX track. The 1.6km road circuit is floodlit and there’s 8km of traffic-free mountain bike trails if you prefer to get off the beaten track. OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHT: When married couple Sarah and Barney Storey won a staggering five gold medals and one silver between them for Team Great Britain in the Paralympic cycling events.
Clockwise from top: Top of the slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit; Mo Farah at the Olympic Stadium; Aquatics Centre