View from the (Olympic) Compound

Olympic Park BMX TrackSo, with 342 days to go, what can we make of Olympic Park after a visit down to the BMX Supercross? Well, from the broadcast angle not too much to be honest – OBS is playing its cards very close to its chest still and while there were vehicles from CTV working at the BMX and Arena trucks parked outside the basketball stadium, nobody was talking. There are some points worth making about the general experience, however.

First, they’re going to have to speed up the security checks. Imagine the slowest airport scanning you’ve ever been subject to, and then move it to a tent in London’s East End. Once the throughout of visitors ramps up, that’s going to have to be a much more efficient process. The Millennium Dome never recovered from glitches on opening night (partly because they affected every newspaper owner and editor in the country who were all queueing up to get in, and they all subsequently put the boot in to the project). Presumably that was a lesson very firmly learned.

BMX Supercross rocks. Truly, it’s a great spectator sport and with a course considered much gnarlier than normal (the 8m start tower leading into a couple of tricky double jumps caused particular comment) it could be one of the key non-mainstream events of the Games. Though I still can’t make up my mind whether the playing of the Theme from Mash whenever the medical team are carting another broken body off the track is genius or extremely harsh.

Stratford International is about five minutes from St Pancras by train and on the Eurostar line. Anyone popping in for a quick visit from the continent, the train’s very much the way to go.

Olympic Park still resembles a giant building site with isolated outbreaks of architecture springing up. The venues themselves look astonishing, but it’s difficult to visualise what the completed, landscaped 2.5sqkm will look like while your bus is waved between rows of security fencing and growling diggers by bored construction staff. Still, there are 342 days to go after all…

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