Paralympics: Park changes look ahead of Games
Published: 20th Aug 2012 11:07:58
Just five days after the last Olympic athletes departed, the first Paralympians are arriving at the Athletes' Village on the Olympic Park in east London.
There are 16 days between the Olympic Games closing ceremony and the opening of the Paralympic Games and workers have been busy making changes to the park.
Banners and signage are being changed, buses are being converted and new volunteers are being trained as only a third of those who helped to run the Olympics are moving on to the Paralympics.
London 2012 architects Populous integrated Paralympic thinking into their plans from the start of the London 2012 project. The Athletes' Village and the stadia were all designed with the Olympics and Paralympics in mind.
The park was built with accessible toilets, ramps and wheelchair spaces in the main venues.
The Athletes' Village housed 11,000 competitors during the Olympics and its lower floors will be used by 4,200 Paralympians from 165 nations, with rooms fitted out beforehand to cater for wheelchair access for wheelchair-using athletes.
"All of the venues were designed to be inclusive and accessible, which has meant a minimal transition in the two weeks between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, other than the changes to fields of play," Chris Jopson, associate principal at London 2012 architects Populous, told the BBC.
Some changes have been made however - for example about 300 buses have been converted to allow space for five or six wheelchairs.
Venues have increased their wheelchair seating capacity. The Olympic Stadium will have 568 spaces compared to 394 during the Olympics.
Sixteen venues - including the BMX circuit, the Water Polo Arena, Horse Guards Parade, Lee Valley, Hadleigh Farm, Wembley and six football stadiums - will not be used during the Paralympics.
Others will host different sports. The Copper Box, which staged handball and some modern pentathlon events at the Olympics, will be the venue for goalball.
The seven-a-side football competition will be played on the distinctive pink and blue surface of the Riverbank Arena which hosted the Olympics hockey competition.
Populous are also building a 3,000 seat five-a-side football venue on the Olympic hockey warm-up pitch.
There are new venues too.
Brands Hatch in Kent will be used for road cycling events while a specialist tennis venue has been created inside the Olympic Park. Eton Manor has four indoor and six outdoor wheelchair tennis courts, all designed in a striking blue.
Mr Jopson said: "It's a different Games with a different brand, and there's a been a big programme to change the look of the Park."
Venues and 2,000 fleet vehicles have been decorated with the Paralympic Agitos - red, green and blue swoops representing the Paralympic motto "spirit in motion" - which will also replace the giant Olympic rings on Tower Bridge and in Trafalgar Square.
So the Paralympic Games will look different, but from the success of ticket sales they might feel very much the same as the Olympics.
Previously, Paralympians have performed in front of half-empty crowds. With 2.2 million out of 2.5 million Paralympics tickets having sold so far, that will not be the case next week.
The Paralympic Games run from 29 August to 9 September.
At 06:58:11 in Northern IrelandSecretary of State Theresa Villiers will meet the new Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan later on Wednesday.
At 06:39:01 in Northern IrelandPlans for a huge new cemetery beside the south Antrim village of Dundrod are meeting strong opposition from a group of residents.
At 06:28:03 in WorldAt least 21 people were killed when their bus swerved off a mountain road and fell into a gorge in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
At 06:14:50 in EnglandMore than 50% of customers of telecom company JT said they were not satisfied with the home phone service they receive, a survey has found.
At 06:14:23 in EnglandA collection of more than 200 hidden photographs that chronicle the building of Cambridge University Library are to go on public display.
At 06:10:31 in EnglandPlans to build 750 homes on land owned by artist Damien Hirst in north Devon are to be considered by councillors.
At 06:07:30 in EnglandLeftover ash from Plymouth's new waste-to-energy incinerator is to be shipped to the Netherlands for recycling.
At 06:04:29 in EnglandA 'Shed of the Year' finalist who lets his garden shed out to holidaymakers has been told to remove it because it does not have planning permission.
At 05:55:07 in TechnologyThe UK government will shortly outline measures to permit driverless cars to use public roads by next year.
At 05:48:58 in HeadlinesSuggestions that the deadly virus Ebola could reach British shores lead to front-page headlines.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Paralympics: Park changes look ahead of Games [Online] (Updated 20th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1447079/Paralympics-Park-changes-look-ahead-of-Games [Accessed 30th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers will meet the new Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan later on Wednesday.
Everyone loves a winner but the crowds at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow appear to be just as keen on those who lose in style.
At least 21 people were killed when their bus swerved off a mountain road and fell into a gorge in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Welsh swimmer Georgia Davies says winning Commonwealth gold in the 50m backstroke has made all the hard work she has put in since taking up the sport worthwhile.
More than 50% of customers of telecom company JT said they were not satisfied with the home phone service they receive, a survey has found.