The equestrian sporting events are being held at Greenwich Park. This is a 180 acre park in the south east of London. It has a number of historic buildings including the Royal Navy Museum and the National Maritime Museum.The photographs look amazing as you can see the city in the background which is very unusual for a 2 day event.
Photograph of the test event at Greenwich (Image from london2012.com)
There has been a number of problems overcome before Greenwich got the go ahead for the Olympics. There were concerns about whether the park would be big enough to host the cross country phase of the eventing. There were also a lot of complaints when it was announced that the equestrian events would be held here. There were complaints that it would ruin the rare and protected grasslands and one man appeared in court charged with criminal damage after removing over 100 white markers that laid out the cross country path. The campaigners also found a law that caused the planning permission to be unlawful. The law dated from 1871 and meant that no fence or structure could be built on that land. Another regulation was found banning horses from Greenwich park but both have been overcome in order to gain permission for the Olympics to be held here.
Artists impression of what the arena will look like (Not sure what that horse is doing?!)
(Image from hoof-in-town.com)
We have just had the 3 day event test event at Greenwich. The cross country course was a 2 star event and half the distance that the original course will be. It will have given the course builders a good level of information about what changed need to be made to perfect the course. One of the main issues riders had was that the ground was too soft so drainage alterations will have to be made. Piggy French claimed the overall victory in this test event.
The test even was host to 9,000 spectators whereas the arena events in the Olympics with have 23,000 and the cross country will have 55,000 making it a lot more busy. They are said to currently be discussing crowd modelling and traffic work and more tickets may become available.
Artists impression of the show jumping (Image from mirror.co.uk)
I will be following the progress of the Olympics and I am very excited to be going to watch it! I think Greenwich will be the perfect venue for the Olympics. We are lucky to be able to hold it so close to the centre of London and I can't see there being any long term damage from the equestrian events taking place here.