Friday, December 18

2012 Aquatics

This amazing structure, designed by the extraordinary Zaha Hadid, will be the site of the 2012 swimming competition.  As profiled in the New Yorker magazine, Hadid a Baghdad-born, London based architect whose modern designs change their surroundings - and wow.  Yet despite this and her celebrity, Hadid's output small: thirteen structures including the Vitra Fire Station, in Weil am Rehin (1994); a train station in Strasbourg (2001); a ski jump+restaurant in Innsbruck (2002); the Lois and Richared Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, in Cincinnati (2003); the Phaeno Science Center, in Wolfsburg, Germany (2005); the BMW Plant Central Building, in Leipzig (2005); and the MAXXI museum in Rome.  And now the pool.

While Hadid's structure spares no cost, London's Olympics won by suggesting the construction of a world class sports center and the regeneration of the city's East End possible without bankrupting the country.  The initial cost-estimate was £2.4 billion.  Fat chance. Anybody who followed the Millenium Dome knows what a good budget in England means: about twice that.  Ken Livingstone famously informed us that the costs of a London Olympics would be 38p per week "the same price as a walnut whip" (whatever that is). The Olympics now stand at £12 billion. Still, this is doggone cheap compared to Beijing which came in at £20 billion, according to The Guardian, though others conservatively suggest $65 billion when the new airport and transportation lines included.  London will be less splashy, accepting the Aquatics Center which becomes the center piece of the show - like the Bird's Nest stadium for China. And to pay for the honour, Londoners incur various surcharges and taxes .. it all adds up.  Closer to home, Livingstone shifted a substantial burden of the Olympics cost on us, Richmond, who - he said - "can afford it." Rat bastard.

I am delighted we are hosting the games. Britain will shine. London will shine. It will be an extravagant month and wholly appropriate for the world's Greatest City.

"I swam my brains out."
--Mark Spitz