London: The Queen today made her first visit to the east London Olympic Park site, centrepiece for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
Escorted by Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), The Queen inspected progress on the Olympic Park complex from a high-rise viewing platform overlooking the site where key Olympic venues will be co-located for the Games, including the Olympic Village, Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Hockey Centre and Velopark.
Inflated colour blimps were used for the Royal visit to identify the locations and early construction and clearance work already underway for several of the sports venues planned in the new Olympic park.
The Queen also met with residents of the Holden Point community centre where the viewing platform used by The Queen was installed earlier this year for the IOC’s Evaluation Commission visit to London which included an official dinner at Buckingham Place.
“The Queen’s visit to the Olympic Park today marks another early milestone in planning and preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games,” said Coe, the dual Olympic gold medallist who led the successful London Bid.
“The Queen and Royal Family were strong supporters of London’s Bid and it was a delight to show Her Majesty how the Olympic Park site has continued to develop since winning the Bid,” he said.
The Queen also met with workers at the nearby construction site for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), which will provide the framework for a dedicated high speed shuttle service to the Park for the 2012 Olympic Games.
“The Channel Tunnel Rail Link will provide the infrastructure for the Olympic Javelin service which will transport Olympic spectators from central London to the Olympic Park in less than 7 minutes, making this one of the most accessible Olympic Park sites ever designed for Olympic host city residents and visitors,” said Keith Mills, deputy Chairman of the London Olympic Organising Committee, who greeted Her Majesty at the rail site.
The Queen’s visit to the east London Lower Lea Valley Olympic host neighbourhood also included sports demonstrations by students at the local Langdon School, several of whom were in the Bid delegation to Singapore, where the IOC selected London as the 2012 Olympic host city on 6 July.
“The venues in the Olympic Park will provide much needed new sporting facilities for young people in London as well as for elite athletes and help grow participation in Olympic sport for future generations,” said Coe, who also accompanied the Queen on the school visit.
The delegation that welcomed and accompanied The Queen included Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, who said:
“I am delighted the Queen has been able to see for herself the Olympic Park site, pictures of which will be beamed into billions of homes around the world in 2012 – and which will provide a wonderful legacy for London.”
“There may be almost seven years to go but we’ve no time to lose. We have got of to a flying start – our Olympics Bill is being debated by MPs tomorrow; key contracts have been let and top-drawer staff will be picked soon to run the Olympic Delivery Authority and London’s Organising Committee. And we are working hard to make sure the benefits of the Games spread right across the country.”
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who also participated in the Royal Visit, said:
“Over the next seven years the views and sites we have seen today will be transformed as the regeneration of east London and lasting legacy of sporting venues, homes and jobs move forward at full speed. The work is already underway to create the greatest Games ever.”
The delegation also included new British Olympic Association chairman, Colin Moynihan, who said: “The new Olympic Park will provide some of the best sporting conditions and facilities in the world for athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games, with an Olympic Village for athletes and team and technical officials inside the Park, close to all the key venues. The new Olympic Park venues will also help to train and showcase the skills of British athletes for decades to come and will leave an enduring legacy from the Games.”
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of the Newham, one of the Olympic Park boroughs, said:
“It was an honour to be able to show The Queen Newham’s ambitions for the London 2012 Games and beyond, and just how much it means for the area. She was very impressed with the level of progress in Newham and our commitment to deliver benefits from the Games to local people.”
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0) 20 7093 5100 or visit http://www.london2012.com/