London Spy

  • Venue guide: Hadleigh Farm

    Where is it?: Castle Lane, Benfleet, Essex.

    Find it on the map: Here

    How do you get there?: By National Rail or road. The closest railway station to Hadleigh Farm is Leigh-on-Sea, which is around a 45-minute trip east from London's Fenchurch Street station. You are then faced either with a 30-minute uphill walk on rough farm tracks to get to the venue or a shuttle-bus journey. If you wish to drive to Hadleigh Farm, it is about 35 miles east of London and can be reached via the A13. You then follow the signs for Hadleigh Castle and the park-and-ride service.

    Capacity: 3,000.

    What events will

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  • Olympic history: Los Angeles 1932

    US sporting legend Babe Didrikson winning the 80m hurdles

    The Great Depression provided the backdrop as the Games returned to the United States for the first time since the unbalanced activities of St Louis 1904.

    1932 Games posterThe number of competing nations held up quite strongly but with lack of funds and great distances to travel, they sent smaller teams. The total of participants dropped well below 2,000, whereas in Amsterdam it had exceeded 3,000.

    Whether or not the economics around the Games dictated the format is not clear, but for the first time outside Athens the schedule was compact rather than spread out over months on end. In that sense, Los Angeles

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  • Venue guide: Water polo arena

    Where is it?: Olympic Park, Stratford, East London.

    How do you get there?: The Water Polo Arena can be found in the south-east corner of the Olympic Park, adjacent to the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre. The park is accessible by rail, underground, Docklands Light Railway, bus or coach. National Rail, London Underground and DLR all serve Stratford station to the east of the park and West Ham station to the south, while Transport for London has bus stops in the area and there will also be coach services to the park.

    Capacity: 5,000.

    What events will be held there and when?: Water polo

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  • Olympic history: Amsterdam 1928

    Ethel Catherwood competes for CanadaThe Amsterdam Olympics wrote new chapters in the history of the Games and continued a few enthralling stories which had begun at previous celebrations.

    They are remembered as probably the last Olympic Games to take place free of issues ranging from economic hardship to political posturing, drugs cheats and terrorism.

    The monument to the success of the event was the stadium in Amsterdam, designed by Jan Wils and considered worthy of a gold medal for architecture in the art competitions which were still part of the schedule.

    Of greater significance were the three medals — a gold and two silvers

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  • British medal hopes: Aaron Cook

    Cook fighting at 2008 Olympics

    Aaron Cook is an athlete in a hurry, and he has refused to rest on his laurels since making his debut at the Olympics in Beijing four years ago.

    The Dorset athlete narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2008 Games after a controversial loss to Zhu Guo of China, who was competing in front of his home crowd.

    Driven on by the frustration of his Beijing experience, Cook, who had won gold medals at the European Junior Championships in 2007 and then the World Junior Championships in 2008, defeated former Olympic champion Steven Lopez to win the 80kg gold at the inaugural World Taekwondo Tour event in

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  • Security costs risk ballooning Olympic budget

    It is the second time this week organisers have been sharply rebuked by lawmakers. On Wednesday, London politicians accused the body responsible for staging the Games, LOCOG, of being "obsessed with secrecy" over its ticketing process.

    Last December, the government announced the number of venue security guards needed as part of Britain's biggest peacetime security operation had risen to 23,700, from 10,000, with a doubling in cost to £553 million.

    LOCOG and the Interior Ministry said detailed security planning had only been possible once the venues had been built and competition schedules put

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  • Venue guide: North Greenwich

    Where is it?: Peninsular Square, Greenwich, London.

    How do you get there?: London Underground provides the most convenient transport to the venue, as the Jubilee line's North Greenwich station is adjacent to the arena. However, it can also be accessed by bus, with Transport for London having various routes and stops in the area, and boat, since the arena is situated on the Greenwich peninsular and is one of the stops on an express River Thames service from central London.

    Capacity: 16,500-20,000.

    What events will be held there and when?: Artistic gymnastics (July 28-August 7), trampoline

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  • Sport guide: Cycling


    Cycling is one of only five sports to have featured at every Olympics, but the modern contests bear little resemblance to the first.

    In 1896 the six events ranged from a time trial over 333 and a third metres to a 12-hour race in which the only two cyclists to finish completed more than 300km. The sole cycling event at the 1912 Games in Stockholm was a time trial over 315km, which remains the longest race in the sport's history at the Olympics.

    New events have been introduced, including the Madison, Keirin, and BMX, and some have been discarded, including tandem races and

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  • Olympic history: Paris 1924

    Poster for the 1924 GamesBaron de Coubertin succeeded in his efforts to give Paris the chance to atone for the failings of the 1900 Olympics, and the French capital responded with a successful event.

    In fact the French delivered two Olympics in the same year, having already held the inaugural Winter Games at Chamonix. The significance was that such events as skating and ice hockey, which had occasionally appeared in the summer schedule, now had a home of their own.

    Germany was again absent. Ireland, Romania and Poland all appeared in their own right for the first time and the Olympic motto 'Citius, Altius, Fortius' —

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