Athletes Village: Organizers show off apartments
LONDON (AP) — The beds can handle both the very tall and the very small, the sofas are electric aqua with hot pink cushions and every suite gets a balcony.
Olympic organizers unveiled the first furnished apartments in London's Athletes Village on Thursday, featuring beds that can be extended and mattresses that were tested by former athletes to make sure they were neither too hard nor too soft.
The beds also had duvets decorated with squares featuring all the Olympic sports.
"A track is a track and a swimming pool is a swimming pool but this is where the athletes will spend most of their time," said Jonathan Edwards, the 2000 Olympic triple-jump champion and chair of London 2012's athletes committee.
Edwards said the committee focused on "nitty-gritty detail" to make the 2,818 apartments on the northeast edge of Olympic Park homey and comfortable. They made sure suitcases could fit under the bed, hooks were around to hang things on, bedside lamps actually worked.
"Little things like that are things that matter to athletes," said Edwards. "We are not looking for a five-star resort experience. We are actually looking for the basics to be taken care of to make sure they can do their very best."
That includes blackout curtains in every room so competitors can get a good night's sleep.
Outside, workers were busy rolling out grass turf. Trees with big bags around their roots were ready to be planted.
Beyond the home decor tour, which featured dozens of journalists packed into a very small space, the village's general manager Tom Sainsbury tried to answer anything and everything about the whole Olympic Village experience.
Holiday Inn personnel from around the world will help athletes who lose keys. There will be a bank, cash machines, a hairdresser and a general store. There will be no curfews. No alcohol will be sold. The swimmers have promised to behave (good luck with that one!).
"The athletes will respect each other," Sainsbury repeated.
And if they don't want to behave, London and all its loud, often obnoxious charms lies just outside the village's doorstep.
Organizers say blocs of rooms have been awarded to national Olympic committees who get to decide who rooms with whom. No effort will be made to separate athletes from countries in conflict.
At the village, there will be peace, organizers declared — and if that doesn't work, there is fiber-optic broadband to keep athletes busy and out of trouble.