The equestrian events in London’s 2012 Olympic Games will take place in a Royal park after Olympic chiefs this week gave the green light to a temporary Cross Country course in Greenwich Park despite strong opposition. Dressage and Show Jumping are set to take place in front of the Queen’s House, and are expected to draw crowds of over 20,000.
According to the Bexley Times:
Michael Goldman, a Greenwich resident who has campaigned against the event and collected 2,720 signatures on a petition against the use of the park, said: “The choice was made largely because this World Heritage Site would look good on television. The fact that it is a World Heritage Site is a compelling reason not to choose it.”
A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) claimed Greenwich Park would suffer only three weeks of closure, and only lower branches of relatively few trees would require removal.
Many people have voiced concerns over the choice of these locations, due to the potential for damage to the beautiful surroundings, but few can deny the glorious backdrop this choice will provide for the 2012 equestrian events.
Organising a cross country event in a city is difficult at the best of times, and it would seem sensible to use the open spaces the Royal Parks provide, or to relocate the equestrian events away from the City, as many Olympic cities have in the past. However, what is certain is that it will be great for the equestrian competitors to be involved with the throng of the Olympic community for 2012 rather than the situation we saw in Beijing, where events took place far removed from the rest of their compatriots in other sports.
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