London 2012: First look inside the Olympic village
OLYMPIC Village mayor Charles Allen believes athletes will never have experienced such superb Games-time living conditions than at London 2012.
Arrivals began at the Olympic Village last Monday, with the first team officials moving in before athletes follow suit from Monday.
The Village is the most compact in recent Games history yet is spread over 36 hectares, with 2,818 apartments across 11 residential blocks.
During the Olympics that accommodation will house 16,000 athletes and team officials, who Allen is confident will be suitably impressed with the facilities.
“The feedback has been amazing so far both from officials and athletes,” he told Press Association Sport. “The buzz you can feel already.
“They really love the accommodation, they love the areas, they love the Globe [recreation centre] and the dining facility, which is laid out quite differently to other facilities.
“I think it is the best Olympic village there has been because we have put athletes at the centre of it and we’ve listened to the things they want.
“Hopefully the proof will be in the pudding when they’re all here, 16,000 at peak, and we have an amazing time.”
The 2002 Commonwealth Games chairman highlighted the Athletes’ Committee, led by Jonathan Edwards and Tanni Grey-Thompson, as key to ensuring athletes’ needs were planned into the Village.
“They help with the simple things,” Allen added.
“From big issues, like wanting more space to themselves - whether that is balconies, sitting areas or outdoor areas - down to, if you’re a taller athlete, they want the beds to be longer.
“It seems pretty obvious but actually that is really important so that detail.
“Then there is the attention to detail on the type of food they want, when they want it, the ability to grab and go rather than a big meal.
“We’ve listened to that detail and that attention to detail I think is what people are responding to.”
As well as ensuring athletes and officials enjoy their stay in London, the long-term legacy of the Village has never been far from sight.
The Olympic Delivery Authority will fit all the apartments with new kitchens to create 2,818 new homes, while the Polyclinic will be re-opened by the NHS as a healthcare facility and the Village Service Centre will become a world-class education campus.
“Every aspect was designed for legacy as well as Games,” Allen said.
“We said the purpose was there were no white elephants created so basically you have got 2,818 apartments.
“You have got a hospital designed by the NHS, built by the NHS that goes back to the NHS.
“You’ve got a school and education facility, you’ve got recreational facilities, amazing shopping and hotel facilities.
“It simply wouldn’t have been here if we hadn’t of created this.
“We did this in Manchester in 2002 [for the Commonwealth Games] and we’ve done the same in east London.
“The facilities are fit for purpose and legacy mode.”
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