London 2012 athletes’ village unveiled

March 17, 2012

Athletics, International

London 2012 athletes’ village unveiled

Organizers hope proximity of village to West End will stop partying athletes disturbing sleep of those yet to compete

Owen Gibson, Olympics editor
The Guardian (UK)

London 2012 organizers are hoping the proximity of the athletes’ village to the bright lights of the West End will help reduce the possibility of partying participants disturbing the sleep of those yet to compete.

There have been complaints from some competitors at previous Olympics about the nocturnal habits of some fellow athletes.

But Tony Sainsbury, the London organizing committee athletes’ village manager, who on Thursday unveiled the rooms in which the athletes will stay, said he expected the atmosphere to be focused and low-key.

“The press sometimes portray it as a great big fest,” he said. “But I’ve walked these places at night time and [they are] dead.

“The beauty of this village is that it’s so close to London. Very few people will stay here in the evening after they’ve finished competing. If they’re looking for a good time, they’ll be going into London for the clubs, the restaurants.

“In seven minutes, you can be in the middle of the host city. It is going to be buzzing. They won’t be here partying, they’ll be going downtown. Once they get back, as soon as they get to the fence they just switch off because they know there are still athletes competing.”

Organizers have been working with the 204 chefs de mission from the competing nations on the arrangements for the village since the closing ceremony in Beijing. A total of 10,500 athletes will stay in the £1.1bn village, which will be converted into 2,800 three and four-bedroom apartments after the games.

Nigel Garfitt, the director of villages and games services at the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said the 11 tower blocks that will house 16,000 athletes and officials were within close walking distance of one another but still had plenty of green space.

Bed extensions for basketball players and other tall competitors have been sourced, blackout blinds requested by an athletes’ committee, headed by Jonathan Edwards, have been ordered, and 40 UPS staff have been working since October to assemble flatpack furniture including more than 16,000 beds, 9,000 wardrobes and 11,000 sofas.

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