London Spy

  • Venue guide: Wimbledon

    Where is it?: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Church Road, Wimbledon, South-West London.

    Find it on the map: Here

    How do you get there?: Public transport is definitely recommended, as there is no park-and-ride service and public parking is limited in the area. Tube, rail and tram are the options followed by the 493 bus, with Wimbledon or Southfields the nearest London Undergound stops on the District line and Wimbledon the closest National Rail and Tramlink station.

    Capacity: 30,000.

    What events will be held there and when?: Tennis (July 28-August 5).

    Public facilities: Existing All

    Read More »from Venue guide: Wimbledon
  • Old MacDonald had an… Olympic opening ceremony?

    The Olympics in Los Angeles had a guy flying around with a jet pack; in Beijing there was a firework display that was the closest mankind has come to recreating a supernova; but the London 2012 opening ceremony looks like it was designed by Old MacDonald.

    A model of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremonyA wide range of farm animals will star in part of Danny Boyle's vision for the 'Isles of Wonder' show which will kick off the Games on July 27: with the new Olympic stadium turned into a miniature recreation of Britain, 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs will be called upon to do

    Read More »from Old MacDonald had an… Olympic opening ceremony?
  • Sport guide: Tennis


    The story goes that John Pius Boland was only in Athens in 1896 to visit a friend. But he was persuaded to enter the Olympic tennis tournament and duly won both the singles and doubles. Although Boland was from Dublin, the political landscape was such that he represented Great Britain.

    Boland's double has helped Britain to the top of the overall Olympic tennis medal list with 44, although that has much to do with past glories, this year's hosts having won only one medal since 1924. The United States have claimed the most gold medals with 17.

    Tennis was a fixture at the

    Read More »from Sport guide: Tennis
  • Where are they now? The college boy on the ‘Dream Team’

    We take a look at how college basketball player Christian Laettner ended up rubbing shoulders with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson at the 1992 Olympics, and how his career has floundered ever since.

    11 legends plus Laettner (circled): The Dream Team collect their gold medals

    As the curtain went down on the closing ceremony of the Seoul Olympics in 1988, the curtain came up on a new era for the Games: professionalism had arrived.

    Once upon a time the original Draconian rules about athletes accepting money were ruthlessly enforced, with American all-round legend Jim Thorpe being stripped of his decathlon and pentathlon gold medals in 1912 after it emerged that he'd

    Read More »from Where are they now? The college boy on the ‘Dream Team’
  • Olympic history: Atlanta 1996

    Michael Johnson's gold shoes took him to 200m and 400m gold

    Terrorism scarred the Atlanta Games as the United States hosted the summer Olympics for a fourth time.

    Sheer good fortune prevented large scale loss of life when pipe bombs exploded in Centennial Park, a venue built as part of the Olympic entertainment programme. The blast occurred close to the sound tower at the end of a performance by a rock band. Two people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

    Prior to the Games the biggest talking point had been the selection of Atlanta over Athens for the centenary of the modern Olympics. There were also concerns about commercialism and about the

    Read More »from Olympic history: Atlanta 1996
  • Ainslie at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta

    Having won one silver and then three straight gold medals in the four Games in which he has participated, Ben Ainslie is already Britain's greatest ever Olympic sailor and one of the most decorated British Olympians of all time.

    However, Ainslie, who will be 35 by the start of the Olympics, is far from finished. A fourth consecutive Olympic title in London would equal sailing's gold-medal record of four set by Denmark's Paul Elvstrom from the 1948 to 1960 Games.

    The son of a sailor, Ainslie started out in the sport at the age of eight and won the first of his nine world titles at the age of

    Read More »from British medal hopes: Ben Ainslie (sailing)
  • Venue guide: Weymouth and Portland

    Where is it?: Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, and Portland Marina, Osprey Quay, Portland, Dorset.

    Find it on the map: Here

    How do you get there?: At more than 140 miles from London and nearly three hours by train from the capital's Waterloo station, Games organisers for once advise driving to the area and then using the park-and-ride service to reach the WPNSA. Coaches will also be organised and there is a good local bus network.

    Capacity: There is no seated ticketing.

    What events will be held there and when?: Sailing (July 29-August 11).

    Public facilities: There are

    Read More »from Venue guide: Weymouth and Portland
  • Sport guide: Taekwondo


    A demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, taekwondo became a medal sport in 2000 and will be making its fourth full appearance at the Games.

    Contestants do battle over three rounds of two minutes each in a combat zone known as 'the court' and measuring eight metres square.

    The aim is to accumulate points by landing kicks and punches (the leading part of their closed hands) on your opponent's scoring zones, with one point for a valid kick or punch to the torso, two for a valid spinning kick, three for a kick to the face or side of the head and four for a turning kick to the head.

    Read More »from Sport guide: Taekwondo
  • Olympic history: Barcelona 1992

    The diving offered spectacular views of the Barcelona skyline

    In 1924 Barcelona missed out on hosting the Games because Baron de Coubertin selected Paris. In 1936 the city was again overlooked because, fearful of Spain's descent into civil war, the decision-makers opted for Berlin. If only gold medals were awarded for bitter ironies...

    Barcelona again stepped forward in 1992 and this time made the most of the advantages it held over all the previous hosts — a modern Olympic Games free of boycotts and other major controversies.

    There were a few unfamiliar flags fluttering above the various venues, but these were symbols of the new world order, of Baltic

    Read More »from Olympic history: Barcelona 1992
  • London 2012 organisers have prompted yet another outcry in the papers after the details of the Olympic food menus was revealed.

    But nobody can quite decide what is the biggest scandal: the pricing, or the ludicrous descriptions used for the simple fare on offer.

    Sandwich? No. This is Red Leicester British cheese with British apple chutney and Farm assured lettuce on Oxfordshire …

    The Daily Mail is furious at the pricing policy, getting worked up that the £4.20 charge for a bottle of Heineken beer is "the equivalent of £7.23 a pint", which along with a £5.80 jacket potato makes up their £13 headline-grabbing combo.

    The Sun is equally outraged by the beer price, suggesting that it's an outrageous amount to ask

    Read More »from £13 for a jacket potato and a pint… and what on earth is ‘Red Tractor pork’?