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Velodrome set to steal the show in 2012

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Adrian Warner | 11:13 UK time, Tuesday, 22 February 2011

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A couple of years ago I stood in the middle of a big, muddy hole in the ground at the Olympic Park for a live broadcast and attempted to persuade viewers that it was exciting.

It wasn't really. The rain poured down and I'm not sure people watching appreciated that I was standing in the middle of the site where British cyclists will bid for medals in the 2012 Velodrome.

There's no need for imagination now. The Velodrome opened officially today and I think it is going to be the Olympic venue which the world remembers the most when the Games are over.

That's because of its curved roof outside and its fantastic design inside where spectators will be close to the action.

It's funny how the "Pringle" nickname for the building has stuck. People will start rewriting history and claiming they came up with it but this is how it really started.

It was the Press Association reporter Helen William who first said the roof was like a Pringle when the design was first unveiled at a news conference.

Sitting next to her - and ever keen to borrow a decent line for a story - I immediately stole it and mentioned it in a live broadcast an hour or so later. Helen also mentioned it in her report that day.

And now everybody talks about "The Pringle" and I gather the architects have even accepted it - reluctantly. But it all began with Helen's comments.

This is going to be a venue where Britain is hoping to win plenty of medals and I would advise you to get in the ballot for tickets for the action.

The seats go all around the track, which is unusual for cycing venues. And they are going to sell tickets so the fans (and not the media or VIPS) are really close to the action and able to cheer on the riders.

The atmosphere in the Beijing Velodrome wasn't great and London 2012 want to make their venue much better.

And what about the Aquatic Centre? Wasn't it supposed to be the iconic venue?

2012 Aquatics Centre

Well, with respect to the architect Zaha Hadid, I don't think the swimming venue looks as spectacular as the Velodrome because of the added seating stands on both sides.

It is supposed to look like a super-smooth stingray with its curved roof but, to me, it looks like a fish with blow-up armbands at the moment.

It may not be until after the Games, when the stands are removed, that we see the beauty of the Aquatics Centre.

My feeling is the Velodrome will grab all the glory in 2012.

More: BBC London 2012
Twitter: BBCLdnOlympics

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Thrilled to see this facility in our Nations Capital.
    I am sure after a superb Olympic games, this will enable the Team GB track starts to maintain their place as being amongst the best in the World.

    Go for it Chris, Vicky, Shanaze, Jason and all our World beating tracksters.

  • Comment number 2.

    It amazes me that not one Athlete or Commentator has thanked or praised those in the construction industry for making it happen. It doesn't magically appear you know.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can't wait.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well done to ISG who built the thing!!

    A great job, built on time, to budget by a British company!!!

    Credit where credit's due!

  • Comment number 5.

    Sorry to let the air out of your tyres, but, hyperbolic paraboloids, such as the velodrome roof, are frequently referred to as 'Pringles' within the architectural/engineering professions.
    You, or Helen for that matter, are not the first to realise the similarity.
    Great design though, and I agree that the velodrome stands out against the other arenas to date, particularly the disappointing Aquatics Centre.

  • Comment number 6.

    I just hope the Chris Hoy Velo in Glasgow meets the London one in terms of design and sustainability. It's quite awesome and hopefully it rides as fast as Manchester so we can see some records go.

  • Comment number 7.

    Call me a spoilsport, but I can't help thinking that we already have a perfectly good velodrome in Manchester, a legacy from the 2002 Commonwealth Games, which is fantastic...why did the UK need another? We're only 200 miles away, and competitors had to travel far greater distances between venues during the Beijing Olympics, for example. The $92 million could have been spent on something far more renuable in an area so socially and economically deprived.

  • Comment number 8.

    This looks brilliant, can't wait to see real action on the boards.
    If we want a real legacy let's see a velodrome in every largish British city. The youngsters that have such fun and gain such skills at Manchester could be duplicated in Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield, Nottingham,Newcastle, Leicester..............(fill in gaps accordingly). I don't think there'd be any problem getting the punters in if Manchester is anything to go by.

  • Comment number 9.

    OK, so the velodrome has now officially opened today - but opened in what respect?

    What's happening there between now and the start of the Games to make it 'open'? Are members of the public allowed to pitch up there and have a look, or something like that?

  • Comment number 10.

    Another great facility for London, at great expense. The vast majority of the UK will never see it, might as well be in Bejing. At a time when cutbacks are being forced on our public services why are we wasting tax payers money on yet another 'venue' for Londoners.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sadly not surprised to see a comment like #10 from 'Old Bob'. Bob, Londoners don't complain about the velodrome in Manchester or the one being built in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. I for one take pride in the excellent design and the efforts of all involved... a far cry from past disasters such as Wembley.

  • Comment number 12.

    JasonCrawley, take your point on that one and it will be used and tested by the British cycling team in the run-up to the Games. We are not expecting the first top-class event there this time next year, though, and the public won't get to use the track until after the Games, as far as I am aware. The problem for London 2012, who have now taken over control of the venue from the Olympic Delivery Authority (who built it), is that it is still in the middle of a working building site. That makes it tough for the public just to walk in and use it and for the Velodrome to operate as a venue. Everything gets easier as all the other venues are finished and the Park stops being an active building site. It is possible though to arrange visits to the Park.

  • Comment number 13.

    Up untill today, there is only one single indoor Velodrome for the South of England and only 3 in whole country. Yes only ! If any sport should perhaps 're-use' existing indoor facilities cycling is definitely not one of them.

  • Comment number 14.

    Following on from hockinsk's post we had far more success in the velodrome at Beijing than on the running track. Nearly every town has a running track and there are hardly any velodromes. So London's first indoor velodrome is to be applauded, as is the fact that it was finished under budget. Well done everyone.

  • Comment number 15.

    #2 Mad_Minty - Actually Chris Hoy did exactly that when interviewed on air today.

    #10 Old Bob - You ignore the fact that London residents have to pay a levy on their council tax for the Olympics.

  • Comment number 16.

    @Anon50KG, Yes Manchster does have a perfectly good velodrome - it's in constant use - the busiest in the world by some margin. The 2nd busiest is in Newport, Wales... Both are quite difficult to find spare slots in order to get some training on them. The UK is in dire need of more facilities like these and London will go some way towards helping that (as will the Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow when completed).
    Incidentially, Manchester velodrome was not specifically built for the Commonwealth Games of 2002 - the velodrome was opened some 8 years beforehand.
    Also of note is that the London Velodrome was going to be built even if we did not win the Olympic bid - it was a part of plans to redevelop the existing Eastway velo park and Lea Valley park. That we did win the bid for 2012 meant that the Velodrome and associated other cycling facilities were enhanced. All this is going to benefit Londoners and the public from the South East and further afield - including those already using the Manchester and Newport velodromes as it will relieve some of the pressures on them - for a while at least. Cycling is on the up, so more are needed like this.
    The Pringle will be as much in demand as any venue - probably more than most. I can't wait to get on it for training and racing myself - 2012 can't come soon enough.

  • Comment number 17.

    Velodrome looks awesome. Does this mean GB Cycling is moving to London too?

 

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