With the Olympic Games just a fortnight away, we’ve rounded up five things you didn’t know about this great sporting event:
1. The Olympic Park is home to the world’s largest – and busiest – McDonalds. Seating 1,500 people and serving the broadest menu ever provided at an Olympic Games (Happy Meals will be available for the first time, for example), the principle of sustainability is at the heart of this enterprise.
About 75 percent (more than 5,500) of the items (furniture, kitchens, even the cooking oil!) are designed to be recyclable or reused after the Games, and will be moved to other McDonald’s outlets (vehicles in the case of the oil) in the UK. Once the Games are over, Moscow’s Pushkin Square branch will regain its crown as the biggest McDonald’s in the world.
2. Tickets are still available but you’ll need to move very, very quickly (and be flexible!). Tickets are being released day by day from now until July 27. You can still get lucky and end up with access to the Closing Ceremony, Athletics – Marathon, Football, Handball, Hockey, Sailing, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Water Polo, as well as for medal sessions in the men’s Beach Volleyball competition.
There are also a limited number of suite tickets available at North Greenwich Arena (also known as O2 Arena), where you can watch women’s basketball medal sessions, Gymnastics – Artistic and Gymnastics – Trampoline.
3. You can soak up all the atmosphere and excitement of the Olympic Park and visit the Orbit. Olympic Park tickets are still available (don’t hang around!) from the london2012 website for $15 (£10). Pay by Visa (debit, credit and prepaid cards) only. Tickets for the Orbit cost $23 (£15), but are only available with a ticket for the Olympic Park or for a sport session in the Olympic Park. Don’t forget to search the Paralympic events for these tickets too.
The Anish Kapoor-designed Orbit is the tallest art structure in the UK and from the viewing platform (at 85 meters high), London’s skyline is laid out in all its splendor. It will close after the Games, but re-open in late 2013, when it will no doubt vie with the Shard for view-hungry visitors.
4. For London 2012 the costume department is producing so many outfits you could wear something new every day for 63 years. Sixty-three also happens to be the age difference between the youngest performers (just seven) and the oldest (a sprightly 70). Some volunteers are delighting in the opportunity to don jeans!
5. The Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, were formed, it is said, from two blobs of steel in a Bolton steelworks.
Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, a town in Shropshire where the the Olympian Society Annual Games, a forerunner of the modern Olympics, were held.
Mandeville is named for Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which organized the Stoke Mandeville Games, the precursor of the Paralympics.
You’ll find the pair taking lots of forms in London’s shops! Chocolate, jelly, plush…
Read all our Olympic Games-themed pieces:
- Olympic mascots through the years [pictures]
- Scale an Olympic venue
- Follow Friday: Olympic must-follows on Twitter
- London’s new cable car
- Where to watch the Games in London (besides at the Games)
- Camping at the London Olympics
- Getting around the Games
(Featured image: Karen Roe)