On your marks, get set …..


27th July marks the 2 years to go milestone, with the Olympic Games scheduled to begin in London on 27 July 2012 ! On this historic day, London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.

From the wonder of the Opening Ceremony to the thrills of the sporting action, the eyes of the world will be on Britain when London hosts the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

Preparation for the Games are well under way all over Britain, with all major venues either ahead of or on schedule. Not only is the city undertaking the largest regeneration project in Europe with the development of East London, it is also following a very ambitious green agenda with the Olympic Park destined to be a blueprint for sustainable living.

The British think they host the greatest sporting tournaments – and much of the world agrees. Three million foreign visitors spent a phenomenal £2.3 billion in the UK in 2008 watching and playing sport, according to a new survey by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency. Be among the millions who come to explore this destination and get a glimpse of what the Olympics will have on offer come 2012.

Head to Badminton’s Spiritual Home in Bath, South West England
While the sport of Badminton has been around for over 2000 years, it wasn’t until a small group of men came together in 1887 in the beautiful city of Bath to form the Bath Spa Badminton Club that a set of standard rules and regulations was applied.  Made an Olympic sport in 1992, Badminton still follows the blueprint drawn up by those Bath Spa Club members.

The Club is still in existence today and it’s still possible to head to their headquarters at the Royal High School in Bath and enjoy a game – with the emphasis on having fun. The club states that its “…intention is to provide a venue in which players can not only improve their badminton skills and general fitness but also as a place to socialise with other likeminded people.”

Experience Britain’s most popular sport in an Olympic arena
Football is Britain’s most popular sport and has been played in the country for centuries, dating back to 1300’s.  Britain is home to the world famous Barclays Premier League, arguably the best football league in the world. With great goals, smooth skills, and tough tackles on display, it is no wonder millions follow this great game!  Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford (Home of Manchester United), Millennium Stadium, St James’ Park (Home of Newcastle United) and Hampden Park will all play host to football on an Olympic scale during the 2012 Olympic Games.  Why not experience the excitement of the game first-hand at an Olympic venue? Let the games begin (before the Games begin!)

Enjoy athletics in the heart of London’s Olympic district
Just a few miles from the new 2012 London Olympic Stadium, the Newham and Essex Beagles Athletics club in the Terence McMillan Stadium has been hosting all forms of athletics since 1887. Over the years the Beagles – as they are known – have produced a number of world champions and Olympic Gold medalists including world-famous British decathlete Daley Thompson.

But the club is open to all and actively encourages people to enjoy its facilities, be it running, jumping or hurling hammers or the discus. Athletes of all standards are invited to join regardless of age, gender and ability. What better way to start your athletics career than in a venue that has lived and breathed athletics for over 120 years?

Sail the High Seas in Weymouth, 2012 Olympic Games sailing venue
There aren’t many opportunities for ordinary folk to tackle an Olympic sport at the actual venue, but at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy – located on the Dorset coast in south England – it can be done.  The Academy provides courses and access to boats for everybody from complete beginners to aspiring (and actual) Olympic medallists. The aim is to get more people out onto the water to feel the wind in their hair and the salt on their lips.

Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour are widely recognised as the finest sailing waters in the UK, and this, together with the development of the new purpose built, on-shore facilities, resulted in this site being selected as the 2012 Olympic sailing venue. There’s great accommodation only a short walk from the Academy. And who knows? Your first Royal Yachting Association (RYA) course or race training session might be the start of a gold-medal sailing career.

Take a rowing taster course on the River Thames with Walton Rowing Club

From April through to the end of the summer each year, the Walton-on-Thames-based Walton Rowing Club runs taster sessions, giving those who wish to indulge in this quintessentially British sport the chance to do so in a spectacular and historic setting. The Saturday and Sunday morning sessions are the most popular, when the river is alive with other rowers and the post-exercise pub stop is as much fun as the jaunt down the river dubbed ‘Old Man’ by its patrons.
Source = VisitBritain
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