University College London has marked the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games with a series of events and exhibitions.
The UCL Quad boasted a big screen for the duration of the Games, with around 2000 people watching Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony on July 27. Crowds were also able to watch UCL alumni Christine Ohuruogu (BA Linguistics, 2005) win silver in the women’s 400m, and Rob Williams (BSc Biotechnology, 2005) win silver in the men’s lightweight four rowing final.
Many UCL students took part in the Olympics and Paralympics as volunteers. Second year Russian and History student Tiffany Shircliff, who volunteered in the athletes’ village during the Paralympics, said, “At our training in August we were told it would be a life-changing experience, and everyone’s heard the ‘inspire a generation’ quip, but being involved in this has truly changed my life.”
There was further student involvement with Tom Trail and James Xu who both carried the Olympic torch through the east London boroughs of Havering and Redbridge on Sunday July 22.
As part of the celebrations UCL hosted an Art of the Olympians exhibition in the Wilkins building showcasing the art of 20 Olympic medal winning artists. Nine-time USA gold medal winning track and field athlete Carl Lewis gifted a statue to the event and made an appearance in the Quad.
The legacy of the Olympics is closely linked to UCL, with talks to launch a new campus east of the Olympic park in Newham, in conjunction with the Olympic Planning Legacy Committee.
Speaking in The Guardian, Head of UCL Estates Andrew Grainger said “The scale of the site we are looking at – over 20 acres – in central London terms is incredible, and the fact that it will be adjacent to the Olympic Park is a significant attraction. The government has invested hugely in the area, and the Olympic Park will be fabulous.”
The project is still in its early stages. Local residents oppose the plan, which would result in homes being demolished. A decision on the site’s future is expected in June 2013.