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Oxford notes. Day 2

10.08.2012

It’s hard to say what impressed me the most about the Olympic Park, ‘cause every single thing affected me in one way or another. I was totally struck by its scale and attention to details. It’s one of those events that you have to see with your own eyes, though I’ll try to do my best to describe it. Observing how this complicated machine works, you start to understand why it’s no coincidence that London was chosen to host the Olympic Games for the third time. The Brits know how to surprise and know how to spend money. Just for the Olympic Games they’ve changed the image of industrial Stratford by turning it into a blossoming meadow with Olympic locations.

It is notable that many local constructions are temporary and will be dismantled after the games finish while the newly erected Westfield shopping center may become a new alternative of the Oxford Street.

For historical reasons, the Brits happen to be rather thrifty. Just think of their wash-basins with two separate taps, no mixer and a plug. This rational approach to using natural recourses could be seen everywhere: waste sorting and recycling bins, use of RES technologies — wind driven plants, as well as land recultivation and starting plants. The Olympic Park is huge; it is the size of the Hyde Park, but you can easily get to it from Central London using a special Olympic Javelin train that takes you to the destination in only 8 minutes. The Olympic Park consists of several locations including the Olympic Stadium seating 80 thousand people, the Aquatics Center, the Velodrome, meals and recreation centers, shopping centers with various commercial merchandize, 2 fan-zones with huge screens, service zones and various art objects.

Right at the entrance to the Olympic Stadium we saw an unusual construction — 115-meter tall ArcelorMittal Orbit steel sculpture looking like a DNA spiral, designed by internationally acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor. Anyone could get to the very top of it and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Park and London. It is the largest object of modern art installed in Britain and sponsored by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.

The Olympic Park has eight innovative show-windows from sponsors. I’d like to tell more about a few of them.

Coca-Cola Beatbox

Coca-Cola started The Coca-Cola Beatbox pavilion in 2012. Its bright design was combined with passion for sport and music — Mark Ronson composed a special anthem for Coca-Cola for that occasion. Anyone could literally «play» on Coca-Cola Beatbox, as if it was a musical instrument, making sounds by touching.

Panasonic Full HD 3D theatre

Panasonic helped to produce the first ever 3D Live Games in cooperation with the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS.) Panasonic Full HD 3D theatres provided live broadcast to the 152-inch screens.

National Lottery

«Nine flickering totems» were placed in a special venue with plasma screens, which broadcast the information on construction of the Olympic Park, preparation of athletes to the Olympic Games; besides there is an opportunity to take a pop-quiz and win a special prize. Apart from the scale and usability of the Olympic Park constructions it is worth mentioning those who created the atmosphere at the Olympic Games. Those are called «Games Makers».

7000 volunteers provided technical support at events, including: greeting visitors, logistics for athletes, «behind-the-scene» assistance, cooking and cleaning.

Volunteers come not only from Britain; there are many foreigners who set aside at least 10 days of their life to get involved in the Games voluntarily. And of course volunteers don’t get paid for their work. The Olympics’ organizing committee provides them with «human» working conditions only: meals, uniform and all the necessities to perform their «Olympic duties».

Everything in the park is about people. One can always find something to eat in any corner of the park. Besides the official sponsor — McDonald’s — there are locations with different cuisines: English, Indian, Chinese, Italian and others. McDonald’s got its best employees involved in working at one of the world’s largest restaurants, constructed especially for the Olympic Games, which made customer servicing much faster. The queues were huge but they moved very quickly. You could eat at little tables, on benches, or simply while sitting on the grass.

Senior people could make use of the internal transport — electric carts with drivers. Children could enjoy the animation zones. It was interesting to observe the Twister game right in the middle of a footway.

There was one more thing that I knew could never happen at a mass event in Ukraine — I was allowed to bring in an empty plastic bottle. You might ask me why I needed one. There are water refill-points all over the territory of the park. Everyone could fill their own bottles with drinking water for free.

There was also a super-mega-store with souvenirs there. Certainly, our team did not miss the chance to buy something to remember the Olympics: excellent commercial merchandize was provided by the London sponsor — Adidas. There were many flags representing each country that participated in the Olympic Games, however we couldn’t find the flag of Ukraine in that store.

Being EBA students we were privileged to get to watch the women’s team handball game. Students got the best seats in the second row, right behind the gates of the team.

So many impressions and ideas are tumbling in my head. I believe the Olympic Games to be the world-class event turned into reality. This is the level we, Ukrainians, should aspire to, particularly in comparison with the recent football championship.

To this end, a few unusual facts on the Olympics organization: 300,000 plants were set out in the park; you need 8,400 shuttlecocks for badminton competition; to feed athletes you need 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tons of potatoes, 100 tons of meat, 75,000 liters of milk, 19 tons of eggs, etc.; for the competition on rhythmic gymnastics one needs 6 irons and ironing boards.

I wonder if anyone has ever thought of such trifles to such extent!