London 2012 Olympics: the big numbers

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To commemorate 100 days to go until the London Olympic Games begin, Steven Perryman crunches the numbers of the self-proclaimed biggest show on earth

Today marks 100 days until the London Olympics begin. Dubbed ‘the biggest show on earth’, it is effectively 26 world championships over 19 days. All in one place. Since winning the bid in 2007 we have had celebration, excitement – and that ticket fiasco. What continues to amaze is the sheer size and scale of the event, as these number show

The Olympics

3. The number of times London has hosted the modern Olympics – more than any other city.

26. The number of sports that will be contested. It’s not all athletics, you know. Anyone up for Beach Volleyball or the Modern Pentathlon?

205. The number of countries represented this Summer. Who will be this year’s Eric Moussambani?

20,000. The amount of media and broadcasters that will be covering the Games. That’s a lot of coffee.

7.6 million. The number of tickets (yes, really) that are available. Although you wouldn’t believe it if you had gone through the much-maligned ticket ballot.

The Olympic Park

357. The number of football pitches you could fit onto the park. If you wanted to, that is.

4,000. The number of newts that were relocated from the park to the Waterworks Nature reserve.

500,000. The number of plants in the park’s wetlands areas. Who’s counting?

The venues

53m. The height of the Olympic Stadium: three metres taller than Nelson’s Column.

17,500. The number of seats at the Aquatics Centre during Games time. Dare I say it, but that’s a lot of tickets.

35m. The height of the Basketball Arena, the same as the Tate Modern. Has the British crowd got more chance of understanding the Damien Hirst exhibition at the gallery, than it has the rules of basketball?

76. The number of lifts in the Olympic and Paralympic Village to ensure the buildings are fully accessible.

1.3m. Amount of soil (in tonnes) that has been washed to get rid of contamination.


68%. The percentage of companies that won contracts for the Games that are small- or medium-sized (SME).

98%. The percentage of these SMEs that are UK-based. Scandalously, this doesn’t include the company printing those sought-after tickets.

75,000. The amount of business opportunities that are expected to be created.

During the 2012 Games

800,000. The number of people expected to use public transport to travel to the Games on the busiest day: more than the entire population of Leeds. You’re thinking what I’m thinking, right?

25,000. The number of people that could be transported to and from Stratford International Station each hour on the Javelin train from St Pancras International station, in less than seven minutes. Note: you can’t use your Oyster on this service – you need a separate ticket. Damn!

1m. The number of people who will visit the Olympic Stadium – again, if they have a ticket.

Sports equipment

900,000. The number of items of sports equipment that will be needed, including:

  • 3 metal detectors for Beach Volleyball. What for? To stop men bringing their cameras in, I’m guessing.
  • 92 ball pumps for Water Polo, Basketball, Handball, Football (insert your own ‘hot air’ joke here)
  • 2,700 footballs. Is Andy Carroll doing shooting practice?
  • 2,200 dozen Tennis balls. Is Andy Murray doing serving practice?
  • 8 trampolines.
  • 65,000 towels. Who’s doing the laundry?

Finally, one last number. In case you missed it, it is 100 days until Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony is unleashed on the world. For so many different reasons, we can’t wait for that.

Steven Perryman is AAT Comment's former Content Editor.

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