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Last updated at 18:11 GMT, Monday, 14 March 2011

London's Olympic Park is nearly finished


14 March 2011

On Tuesday, it's only 500 days until competition begins in the London 2012 Olympics. In preparation for the games, there has been huge redevelopment in East London. This includes building the largest urban park in Europe for 150 years.

Matthew Pinsent

London 2012 Olympic stadium construction site

The London 2012 Olympic stadium is still being built in Stratford


Click to hear the report:


If you go down to East London today, you’ll notice a transformation. Three years ago, this area of Stratford was an urban wasteland.

500 days to go, and London's Olympic Park is taking shape. The velodrome is finished, they're tiling the diving pool, and the stadium seats are in and covered up to protect them from the London weather.

At its heart are more than five miles of newly opened waterways. These used to be big, industrial canals, and then they fell into disrepair.

But they run almost like arteries across the whole Olympic site. The stadium there sits on an island, completely surrounded by water, and what's fantastic is to see them coming back to life. So often, water in London is used and abused, and this – it's being cherished.

When the diggers have gone, there'll be a new urban park here in Stratford – the biggest to be built in Europe for 150 years. A quarter of a million new wetland plants have gone in, and 4,000 new trees.

Matthew Pinsent, BBC News, London


Click to hear the vocabulary:


a transformation

a complete change

an urban wasteland

area of land (in a city or town) which is unused, and is not in a good condition

taking shape

here, starting to look almost complete or finished


sports arena where cyclists compete on a circular track


here, installing tiles on the floor and sides of

at its heart

at the centre of it


here, canals or man-made channels of water, which will be used for water sports

industrial canals

large channels of water used by businesses to transport goods by boat or barge


here, links or connections (arteries are tubes which carry blood from the heart to the rest of a person's body)


taken care of

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