July 28th, 2009
03:41 PM ET

Three years to go... much to be done

LONDON, England - It is hard to believe that all of the dirt, mud, and blocks of concrete at the "Olympic Park" will, in three years, be a fresh new space with gleaming buildings, green trees and grass fit to host the biggest carnival in World Sport. Are they really going to finish in time? Can they turn all of this into roadways and landscaping in time for 2012? It is a vast space, and it seems like there is just so much to do in such a short space of time. For the media invited to an open day, on the three-year anniversary before the start of the event, such questions of doubt would need some reassurance to not resurface in news reports over the coming days.

Dignitaries including London Mayor Boris Johnson and the chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Committee Seb Coe look at the stadium rising from the mud.
Dignitaries including London Mayor Boris Johnson and the chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Committee Seb Coe look at the stadium rising from the mud.

One shiny, gleaming promise that has already been delivered is the "Javelin" high-speed train which will take 25,000 visitors an hour from central London to the Olympic Park. Riding it is a treat - it is quick (225kph), modern, and clean - and the journey time of the 10km route was only seven minutes. It's door-to-door service from one brand new station to another.

Cranes and construction sounds welcome travelers who leave the train and head towards the Olympic Park - to the right are the unfinished, empty high-rise skeletons of the athletes' village, to the left random concrete pylons stick from the ground. Maybe it was the cold and rain that led to a pessimistic mindset but thoughts wandered again towards the mountainous task of meeting the Olympic deadline and whether tourists will have to pack winter clothes for a "summer" Games.

People measure progress in different ways on construction sites. Most of us see buildings popping out of the ground as a sign that things are moving along. But we don't think about all the preparation that's had to be done in the ground - the laying of electric cables, the dredging of rivers, the clean-up of waste and contamination - before they can even build those buildings.

In the final analysis the consensus was that progress was on track and within budget. The sun finally broke through by the end of the trip and the big white clouds seemed to carry away any doubts about whether this place will be ready by 2012. But then a thick drop of water fell on the top on my head from the unfinished stadium - a reminder that a lot more still needs to be done.

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Filed under:  Olympics
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Johan

    I can only say good luck to all that needs to be done for the Olympic site.
    But i know they will be able to complete it in time.

    Down here in South Africa for the 2010 soccer cup they are still struggling to complete the stadiums etc etc.
    Boycotts & strikes are at the order of the day.
    So what else is new!!!!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:56 am | Reply
  2. Fernando García

    I am pretty sure that they are going to finish on time, there is a lot of money over the table with this oportunity for the UK.

    July 29, 2009 at 6:31 am | Reply
  3. Garfield

    Yea...is the UK government going to update us with the photo from time to time on the progression? I believe people around the globe are eager to know the status of completion.

    July 29, 2009 at 8:21 am | Reply
  4. Alex

    Have to admire the eco-friendly construction and the intelligent planning that’s gone into the venue's use after the games. Finally an Olympics that’ll leave a genuine billion dollar legacy compared to the many empty monoliths that have gone before. Good luck to them and well done for bucking the trend of cities eager to showboat for only two weeks.

    July 29, 2009 at 9:25 am | Reply
  5. John

    Its in London – the government will throw money at it – not like the rest of the UK.

    July 29, 2009 at 10:04 am | Reply
  6. JackRogers

    It's good news that the weather in London is a bit unseasonal at the moment, because I have no doubt that in three years time the Games of the XXX Olympiad will start in a glorious heatwave. And if you believe that you'll believe anything.

    July 29, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  7. Terry

    Please do not pat yourself on the back so quickly. As you know, we messed up big time in footie, cricket, F1 etc...

    The world at large will focus the games venue and people in London leading up to 2012.

    July 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  8. Tony Brown

    I don't know If I said it already but ...Hey good stuff...keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I'm glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

    September 24, 2009 at 2:50 am | Reply
  9. Dana Fanning

    I just read Melissa Gray's article on Haitian orphans and it broke my heart. My husband and our 4 children want to know if and how we could adopt on of the children orphaned by the earthquake. I know this is a sports blog but I didn't know how to get a hold of Ms. Gray. We live in the kidwest and are a strong Catholic family.

    January 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  10. Aiden Thompson

    natural fibers like wool are still the best for winter clothes"';

    August 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply

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