On the 27 July 2012 the London Olympics will commence. With one year to go the progress is impressive.
With the help of £2.2 billion from the British National Lottery, several of the essential venues are already completed. Construction of the main Olympic Stadium has been finished with the laying of the last square of turf and the construction of the Basketball Arena, the Handball Arena, the Velodrome, the Aquatics Centre and the Lee Valley White Water Centre has also been finished.
Also completed is the main railway station specific to the venues and the press and broadcast centres are also finished.
The development was designed with a view to long-term sustainability for the local community and, with this in mind, three quarters of the promised residential development on the area is structurally complete. Nearby the Chobham Academy school is almost structurally complete too.
About £5 billion of contracts related to the Olympic Games have been awarded to British businesses and 22,000 schools are involved in related initiatives. British companies built the entire Olympic stadium and the same can be said for 98% of the other facilities.
Over the months before the Olympic flame is lit, heralding the start of the 2012 Games, several test events will be held at the venues to ensure they are fit for their main purpose. Some have already happened with the streets of London closing on the 30 May for a successful trial of the marathon course. The white Basketball Arena will host the London International Basketball Invitational between the 16 and 21 August this year.
It has been decided not to hold the British athletics trials in the 80,000 seat Olympic stadium for logistic reasons but the venue has been busy already: the British Universities athletics championships were held there in May, as was the London Disability Grand Prix for paralympic athletes.
After much concern about the cost of the construction, it is at last good to see that everything is well on schedule. The British National Lottery money was obviously well spent.