Three London 2012 Venues Secure Future, Venues Renamed

January 9, 2012

With 200 days to go until the start of London 2012 Olympics, three more permanent venues at the Olympic Park have now secured their futures, according to organisers.

The Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) have confirmed post-Games operators for the £269m ($415m) aquatics centre, 7,000 seater multi-use arena and the Orbit – the 115 metre observational tower designed by Anish Kapoor.

Greenwich Leisure Limited will operate both the aquatics centre and multi-use arena, which will stage the handball and goalball competitions at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics.

Balfour Beatty WorkPlace will run the Orbit, which will be known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit after the Games, and manage the maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Legacy Company officials have been criticised for the manner they handled the future of the main stadium, which was originally awarded to a consortium of football club West Ham and Newham Council but was recently taken back into public ownership.

However, they claim its future plus that of the other permanent venue on the site – the main press and broadcast centre – will be sorted before the Games.

“These appointments are just another example of how London’s legacy plans are further ahead than any previous host Olympic City,” said OPLC chair Baroness Margaret Ford.

“By working closely with sporting bodies and our local communities now, we can ensure that these venues will have a full and compelling programme of activities for when they reopen after the Games.”

Also London 2012 organisers today have been officially been given reigns to the Olympic Park and have immediately changed the names of some of the venues and spectator areas to make it more games friendly.

Among the venues renamed is the Hockey Centre, which is also due to host the five-a-side and seven-a-side football during the Paralympics, which from now on will be known as the Riverbank Arena, reflecting the venue’s location next to the River Lea in the Olympic Park.

The Handball Arena, which is also due to host the fencing during the modern pentathlon and goalball during the Paralympics, will be now be known as the Copper Box, in recogntion of its boxed-shape and distnict copper cladding, which helps create a visual reference for spectators travelling to the venue. 

Also being given a new identity is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, which will now be called Orbit Circus to avoid falling foul of the International Olympic Committee’s strict rules on venues and landmarks being named after sponsors. 

Other changes announced include the Aquatics Centre Bridge, which forms a 250 metres “Gateway to the Games” from Westfield Shopping Centre, being renamed Stratford Walk and which will be joined by three other main spectator entrances – Greenway Walk in the south of the Olympic Park; Eton Manor Walk in the north; and Victoria Walk in the west.

The other significant change is that the main circulation route for spectators and central spine of the Olympic Park, running north-to-south through the middle of the site, will be known as London Way.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a special meeting of his Cabinet at Olympic Park today to mark 200 day milestone.

“As we kick off 2012, the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, this is the perfect time for the Cabinet to come together and ensure we are doing absolutely everything we can to make the most of this unique opportunity to showcase all the great things the UK has to offer to the rest of the world,” he said.

“As Ministers visit Olympic venues, businesses, schools and organisations associated with 2012 right across the UK, I want the message to go out loud and clear, from tourism to business, sport to investment, we are determined to maximise the benefits of 2012 for the whole country.

“As we mark 200 days to go, and six out of the eight Olympic venues having already secured their future, we are well on track to delivering a lasting legacy for the whole of Britain.”