Saturday, 17 September 2011

London 2012 Olympics

Some of my readers may know that I spent a good few years working on the London 2012 Olympics.

Back in 2004, I was asked to develop the strategy for how all of the venues, facilities and infrastructure needed for the London Games would be constructed. This was used as part of London’s bid to be the Host City for the Games and even though it played just a small part in convincing the International Olympic Committee to award the Games to London, I was immensely proud that my team and I helped bring the Games to my city.

I continued to work on the London 2012 Olympic Games and developed that previous strategy into the detailed plans that showed how everything would be done, at what time, the logistics needed, how the construction would take place, how and when the venues would be completed, how the test sports events would take place and all the other things needed to deliver the facilities in time.

When all the plans had been developed and the full construction team were clear about what needed to be done and how, it was time for me to leave the project in the hands of the delivery teams and I moved onto helping the Russian Government with their preparations for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi 2014.

I am a Londoner and very proud of my city. Working on the London 2012 Olympic Games was without a doubt the pinnacle of my career and made me even more proud. After I left the project I kept up-to-date with how the construction was progressing and occasionally went back to see how the construction was progressing.

One of these such visits back to the Olympic Park was very recently, I went to see all of the completed venues. It was very rewarding to see that the construction had followed the plans I had developed years earlier. I enjoyed seeing the venues and of course a few photos were taken....

My friend Paul and I in the new Velodrome.... at 42 degrees, the banking of the track is very steep....

The two of us standing on the 10m diving board in the iconic Aquatics Centre....

The two of us standing in one of the doorways of the basketball venue. The doors have to be this high to accommodate the very tall basketball players....

I loved seeing how well the venues have been constructed. I am looking forward to the evening of Friday 27th July 2012 when Jackie and I will be sitting in the Olympic Stadium waiting for the Opening Ceremony to start. Fantastic!


redlegsrides said...

I am sure Gary, that its definitely not in part a small measure but a great measure of you and your team's work that enabled things to be as well built as you saw them.

Must have been pretty cool to have the kind of access you were given, am also sure that things will get "locked down" quite a bit during the Olympics.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Geoff James said...

That's great Gary and you can be justifiably proud to have had a significant role in such an incredible project and Russia too! Not many people get to work on projects as big as that. I'm sure that both events will be superb.

That photo of you taken in the Velodrome is absolutely spectacular. It's the first time I've seen a photo which conveys the steepness of the banking so well!

Jean Nelson Paintings and Photography said...

Wow! Good for you. Thought you were retired, but I guess that is subjective. The venues look fantastic. Am looking forward to seeing the Olympics taking place in them and congratulations on your role in bringing them about in the lovely city of London.

Unknown said...


We are all proud of you and that you had a chance to display your planning skills. They picked the right man for the job.

did you have a chance to carve your initials somewhere prominent ? when no one was looking

Riding the Wet Coast

Gary France said...

Charlie6 / Dom – Thanks. It was great to be given that sort of access and to see a few of the colleagues I had previous worked with. You are right about it being locked down and this will happen well in advance of the Games.

Geoff – Both London 2012 and Sochi 2014 certainly are big projects and quite daunting at first. I can remember one day, soon after starting work on London 2012, standing at one end of the site where the Olympic Park would be and trying to see where the other end of the Park would be, some 2.5km / 1.5 miles away, and the size really struck me for the first time. It is very large indeed. The two sites (mountain for the snow venues and coastal for the ice venues) for Sochi are even bigger. Great fun!

Jean – I am retired. This wasn’t working, more an informal visit to see how the Olympic Park had developed from the early plans into the reality of today. It is difficult to work on something for so long and never go back to see how it all came out, so retired or not, I have often gone back to look at the projects I helped develop the plans for. Thanks for your kind words.

Bob – Planning is really what I enjoy doing, be that working out how to construct a building, an Olympic Games, or even planning a motorcycle tour. I get a kick out of working out what should happen in the future and then seeing it happen. I laughed about carving my initials somewhere – I think that may have been spotted!

biker baby said...

Definitely something to be proud of.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

What a thrill to be a part of such a huge, and enduring endeavor, that will not only have a huge cultural impact but a vast economic one as well. I lived for many yeaers in the little community of Lakle Placid, a Winter Olympic community. The town was never the same in so many great ways.

Yet London, a vast city I have visited on many occasions, will undoubtedly take these events in stride.

Fondest regards,
Twuisted Roads

Canajun said...

Now when I watch the games next year I'll be able to say, "I know the guy who...". Congratulations to you and the City of London.

Gary France said...

biker baby – I am certainly proud of my role within it.

Jack – I loved nearly every minute of working on London 2012 and I can look back with considerable pleasure at most, even the stressful times. On my trip across the USA last year, Lake Placid was one of the places I went to see. I am pleased that I did. Clearly the Winter Olympics of 1980 still has a large influence on Lake Placid and it was especially pleasing for me to see some of the venues where the Games took place. I remember LP well as it was not only a great place to see, but I also got totally soaked in the one the few times I got rained on during my trip. I am sure London will do a great job in 2012.

Canajun – LOL. That made me smile.

VStar Lady said...

Gary, I, like my fellow "Canajun" will be delighted to say, "I know the guy who..." But better than that, I'll be bragging, "Like, he's a biker friend of mine!"
Well done. You've earned your big smile!

Gary France said...

VStarLady - Thank you for your kind words!