Anniversary games – Enjoy the run up to the Rio Olympics in London

Monday 13th June 2016 9:06 am posted in What's On, Places to go, Events, Families

ArcelorMittal Orbit and Pixel Wall (c) LLDC

Looking for some fun Olympic-inspired activities in London this summer? Get into the Rio 2016 mood with some great sporting events and superb amusements with the London Anniversary Games in the run up to the Rio Olympics.

You can watch some of the world’s top athletes limbering up for the Rio Olympics 2016 right here in London at the Anniversary Games. This prestigious event celebrates London’s Olympian credentials, as the name might suggest, and encompasses two great sporting championships – the IAAF Diamond League and the IPC Grand Prix Final (the paralympian event).

The Anniversary Games is a prelude to the Rio Olympics, and more critically, will qualify winning athletes to compete at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Top stars of track and field will be there to delight the London crowds from 22 – 23 July 2016, with the charismatic super-hero of 100 and 200 metres, Usain Bolt, making an appearance on the first night. Paralympic sporting heroes David Weir (“The Weirwolf”)) in addition to Jonnie Peacock (gold medal winner, 100m T44 final) and Hannah Cockroft (wheelchair gold medallist and record breaker) will also be there.

The London Anniversary Games are being held at the site of London’s  2012 Olympic venue – the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Doors open on Friday 22 July at 17:00 with the first event at 20:00 (Usain Bolt is making his appearance that evening), and on Saturday 23 July from 11:00 to 17:00. Please check the website for confirmed timings.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is worth a visit in itself and is only a short trip from central London. The venue is enormous and is home to an impressive array of sports and leisure facilities, including the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit – Europe’s tallest sculpture at 178m, created by artist Sir Anish Kapoor. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson says the sculpture is for the thrill seekers and art lovers now encircled (somewhat controversially) by an enormous super-fast slide. The tunnel slide, where you sit on a mat inside a curly-whirly tube and rocket towards the ground at speeds of up to 15mph, is the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide, and is designed by Belgian artist Carsten Holler. Opening daily from 24 June 2016, you can buy your tickets now or if you’re feeling even braver (over 18s only) you can also abseil off the structure….

If that all seems too much, how you can always take some time out for  a drink or snack at The Podium Bar and Kitchen right next to the ArcelorMittal Orbit and enjoy the spectacle.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park also boasts the beautiful Aquatics Centre which hosted London 2012 Olympic swimming events (now offering international grade swimming facilities for all types of swimmers at local pool prices), the Copper Box Arena, where you can watch Londonǯs only professional basketball team the London Lions, and “Beach East” the UK’s largest urban beach complete with sand (of course), kid’s paddling pool, funfair rides and two beach bars (running from 23 July to 4 September).