So, I've never really been an Olympics watcher, except for Atlanta 1996, when nine-year-old me obsessively clipped out all the swimming articles from the newspaper and made a cardboard collage out of them. Touring the sites where London's 2012 Olympics will be held next summer in Newham, London was exciting. The Olympics require new buildings, such as a 80,000 person stadium, a basketball building, extreme sports center, aquatic center, and housing for the athletes. The area around it, in east London, is undergoing a revitalization. In the Canary Wharf area, they're putting up parks and picnic tables and a walkway along the river. Closer to the Olympic buildings, a 1.2 million square foot mall is being constructed called the Westfield (I think I saw that name on a mall when I was in France). The Westfield will be the largest shopping center in Europe when it opens this fall.
Walking around the Olympic sites, halfway between the past and the future, reminded me a lot of the revitalization in Eau Claire's Phoenix Park as well as re-building the streets downtown. During the five years I lived there, watching the land and the culture go from flat to successful was thrilling. On a much larger scale, I hope the East Londoners who have lived near Canary Wharf and Newham are able to handle all of the changes that will happen due to the Olympics.
|Cassie and Beth playing hand table tennis!|