Rio 2016

How Rio will Create the Venues for the Summer Olympics!

The Rio 2016 Olympics master plan includes the construction of the Olympic village, numerous stadiums and sports venues, a high performance light rail train, and several connecting highways. This ambitious plan calls for major infrastructure additions and improvements all over the city, clustered around the four main Olympics venues of Deodoro, Maracanã , Copacabana, and Barra da Tijuca. These venues will be linked by the train and new highways.

More than half of Rio 2016’s venues are already built. They include state-of-the-art facilities constructed for the 2007 Pan and Parapan American Games: the magnificent João Havelange Stadium (the proposed 2016 venue for Athletics), the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, the Rio Olympic Arena (which will host Gymnastics and Wheelchair Basketball), the Rio Olympic Velodrome, the National Equestrian Center and its close neighbor, the National Shooting Center.

The Olympic village in Barra da Tijuca will be part of Rio’s long term development plan. Athletes will enjoy modern living facilities and a private beach! The Barra cluster will hold 50% of the 2016 Olympic competitions and there will be plenty of entertainment for spectators.

The lush Deodoro section of Rio will host equestrian, pentathlon, shooting, fencing, and other competitions. This is also where the Extreme Sports Park will be built, as well as the BMX Mountain Biking Center and the canoe-kayak slalom.

The Maracanã area of the city will host the opening and closing ceremonies, soccer, track and field, and volleyball. These events will occur in the recently built João Havelange Stadium, the world famous Maracanã Stadium, and in Maracanãzinho Arena.

Near Copacabana, sailing competitions will take place in Marina da Gloria. Running and biking races will be held beneath Sugarloaf Mountain along beautiful Guanabara Bay, which is adjacent to the lovely Urca neighborhood. A little further down the coast, in the sands of famous Copacabana Beach, a stadium will be constructed for Beach Volleyball competitions. Triathlon and Marathon swimming will occur near Posto 6 on Copacabana Beach, near Arpoador.

Although no competitive events will occur in the upscale Ipanema Beachneighborhood, this is where many tourists and visitors will want to find lodging. Just behind the Ipanema neighborhood, rowing and canoe-kayak racing will take place in the beautiful Rodrigo Freitas salt water lagoon (The Lagoa).

Check back with us often, as we update the site with the latest information and developments for the Rio 2016 Olympics!

See below, the Rio de Janeiro Master Plan Olympic games video presentation and conceptual images of the various Olympic venues. (Courtesy of the Rio 2016 Olympics Committee).

Rio de Janeiro Brazil 2016 Olympic Village

Rio de Janeiro Brazil 2016 Olympic Village Beach!

The 2016 Olympics BMX Mountain Bike Center

Maracanã Stadium and Maracanãzinho Arena complex

Marina da Gloria – site of 2016 Olympic sailing competitions

Beach Volleyball Stadium on Copacabana Beach

Pin Trading London 2012

My close friends already know how crazy I am about mug, I collect them, all kinds of mugs. And there is another thing I enjoy (not as much as mugs off course) and there is pins.

And it was only recently that I found out how big PIN trading is during the Olympic Games.

Beyond the actual athletic competitions, perhaps no other activity draws as much fan interest at the Olympic Games than the fascinating pastime of Olympic pin trading. Both a leisurely diversion and an adventurous pursuit, pin trading has become an enjoyable way to meet others from around the world and take home a reminder of the Olympic Games.


Pin trading also has taken on near-monolithic proportions at the Olympic Games. From the moment they arrive, countless neophyte fans and seasoned collectors get caught up in the frenzy of buying and exchanging Olympic lapel pins. One of the first things noticed by travelers to the Games is virtually everyone in the host city is sporting pins on their shirts, jackets, caps, scarves or vests. Some people even wear special sashes or carry pocketed towels or soft, customized cases adorned with pins, which they can lay out at a moment’s notice for the inquisitive tourist.


The sight of athletes, officials, media, residents and even local shopkeepers and delivery crews all wearing and trading various pins in the host city has become so prevalent that the hobby has unofficially become “the No. 1 spectator sport of the Olympic Games.” And, since 1988, the hotbeds for this hottest of fan amusements have been the Coca-Cola Official Olympic Pin Trading Centers, characteristically situated in the heart of the most-popular gathering spots in the host cities of the Games.

And we from “More Than Gold” will also be there with our pins.


How to get from Heathrow to Central London

There are many ways to get into and around London. Choose your method of transport from out helpful information below:

Coaches to London

National Express

National Express operate services from London Heathrow Airport to London Victoria, and many destinations around the UK. The buses run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station. The bus station is located between terminals 1,2 and 3, and is well signposted within the terminals. From terminals 4 and 5 catch Heathrow Connect to the central bus station.

Buses Around London

Most buses around London are low floor, meaning that they lower to pavement level, making it easier to board the bus. You are now able to use Oyster cards on bus routes.

For more information on what buses to get and timetables for the buses, visit Transport for London.


Heathrow Connect operates between Heathrow airport terminals 1,2 and 3 and Paddington, via five stations in west London. This service takes 25 minutes, and operates every 30 minutes. Passengers travelling at terminal 5 should use the free inter-terminal service. Oyster pay as you go cards are not accepted on this service.

Heathrow Express runs four trains an hour, non stop between the airport and Paddington station. This journey takes 15 – 20 minutes and oyster cards and travelcards are not valid on this service.


The Piccadilly Line connects all Heathrow terminals with frequent services to London. There are three stations at Heathrow on Piccadilly Line, one for Terminals 1, 2 & 3 located between the terminals, one for Terminal 4 and the newly opened Terminal 5, both situated in the basements of the terminal buildings. The journey to central London takes about 50 minutes and services run between 05:00 and 23:40.

You are able to use your oyster card for the underground or you can buy an all day travelcard for unlimited travel on the tube all day. Buying a travelcard is suitable for commuters who are planning on using the tube and the train as the tickets can be bought together. Visit to find out more about how travelcards work and how much they cost.


The journey time to central London is approximately 45-60 minutes and should cost between £45 and £70.

Getting a taxi can take the hassle out of your journey. Choose a taxi to suit you and your passengers. From executive travel to minibus, and coach taxis. You can just sit back and relax, knowing you will be at the airport soon.

However, you could get a better price by booking your transfer in advance. Find a taxi company on our Heathrow Airport Taxis and Transfers page. Alternatively, follow the signs from each terminal for taxi ranks.

Oyster Cards

Getting an oyster card is generally the cheapest way to get around using public transport in London. You can get a pay as you go oyster car, meaning you don’t have to worry about having the right change in your pocket.

You can use an oyster card on tubes, buses, DLR, trams, London overground and some National rail trains. For more information on where you can use your oyster card, visit TFL.

Just make sure you touch in with your card before boarding tubes and buses and Oyster will work out they cost of your journey at the end of the day. By doing this it means they can charge you less than the price of a day travelcard.

Olympic Flame goes out

At least the Olympic flame burned brightly and strongly for the first two days. But on day three of the relay the flame went out as it was being carried through the Devon town of Great Torrington.

The torch was attached to the side of para-badminton star David Follett’s wheelchair when the flame went out shortly before 10am.

It was not a complete disaster: the torch was re-lit using a backup flame that is transported around with the torchbearers. A spokesperson for the London 2012 organising committee blamed a malfunction within the burner and said it was not uncommon for flames to be extinguished.

The spokesman said: “The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner. It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons, for example, in extreme winds. We keep the mother flame alight in specially designed miners’ lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason we re-light it from the source of the flame.”

The committee was also facing questions after it emerged that a woman taking part in the relay may have made up to £150,000 by selling her torch on eBay.

Sarah Milner Simonds, from Somerset, says she will pass the money on to charity but has received abusive emails and could be in for a frosty reception when her turn to carry the flame comes on Monday afternoon.

She is one of a number of runners who are selling their torches, which they can buy for £199 on the internet auction site. By Monday morning one torch bearer from Cornwall, where the relay began on Saturday, had received a bid of almost £40,000 for a torch.

Olympic Spirit

The Olympic Spirit is expressed by TRIUMPH and EXCELLENCE .

Going beyond your limits, overcoming challenges with joy, drive, motivation and energy. The Rio 2016 brand is a living example of transformation through sports. Its energy is contagious, mobilizing people and expanding opportunities and horizons. It promotes and fosters Olympic values – respect, friendship and excellence – in our daily lives.

Rio 2016 is a brand that balances leisure and commitment with quality, lightness and attention to detail. It knows that all that is truly unique requires a combination of inspiration and refinement. A creative, yet careful approach, capable of writing an unprecedented and exciting story.

Big cerimony taking place at 2012 hours before the opening day

A special one-off event on Saturday 5 May will give 40,000 people the chance to join famous faces, celebrities and sports stars at London’s new Olympic Stadium.

Starting at 7pm, the event will include the final hour of the BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships’ evening session, where competitors will join the ranks of previous BUCS champions including Perri Shakes-Drayton, Dai Greene and Hannah England. The evening session will also include a series of UK Athletics Invitational events featuring some of Britain’s best athletes, all aiming for a place in Team GB this summer.

After the athletics, a celebrity host will be joined by famous faces, including Olympians and Paralympians, for a series of stunts, games, challenges and prizes.  The 40,000 strong-audience will be narrowed down to one lucky winner, who will be brought into the middle of the Stadium to officially open the venue.

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said: ‘This is a great opportunity for people to experience the venue that will take centre stage this summer. As well as a great evening of entertainment, this will be an invaluable test and another warm-up event for the Olympic Stadium.’

Information on the event’s host, featured celebrities, schedule and prizes for the evening will be released in the coming weeks.

Giant Olympic Rings launched on the River Thames…

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today launched a set of giant Olympic Rings onto the River Thames as he announced a programme of cultural events to celebrate London 2012.

Measuring 11 metres high by 25 metres wide, the Rings are travelling on a barge and will pass London landmarks including Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf.

From 21 July – 9 September, live music, outdoor arts and ‘pop up’ events will take place throughout London. Ranging from an original fusion of ballet and film to a floating opera, the programme will provide extra opportunities to get involved with theLondon 2012 Festival

Boris Johnson was joined by Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the London 2012 Festival, to make the announcement.

He said: ‘We’re creating the biggest festival of outdoor arts ever to be seen in the capital, as well as fantastic new work that will throw new light on some of our city’s lesser-known landmarks and hidden gems.

‘Wherever you are you will feel a part of the 2012 celebrations and experience a summer like no other in one of the most exciting cities on earth.’

The 2012 games in numbers

-Londoners will contribute £625m to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. (London Councils 2012 Team)

-The five host boroughs are Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich.

-An estimated global audience of 4bn people are expected to watch the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012. (London Councils 2012 Team)

-Pundits predict a peak in labour demand in 2011. There will be a need for 2.8m people who work in the construction industry across the UK. (Construction Skills Network) 

-The London Olympics will generate £10bn in revenue for the British economy as a whole. (Lloyds TSB) 

-Revenue from tourists attracted by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are forecast to add up to an additional £2.1bn. (London Councils 2012 Team) 

-Costs for the 80,000-seat Olympic stadium have been revised from £280m to £496 because of inflation and VAT. (Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)

-The 22,500-seater aquatics centre’s cost has been revised from £74m to £215m.(Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell) 

East London will see a massive upgrade in facilities. As many as 5,000 new homes could be available there after the Olympics. (London2012)

-There are proposals for a 45% increase in capacity on the London Underground’s Jubilee line, along with plans to create a transport hub in Stratford only, which is 7 minutes by train from Kings Cross station. It would be designed to carry at least 320,000 people per hour. (London2012) 

-Over 200 buildings had to be demolished at the 2.5sqkm Olympic Park, the majority of the site, including the main five Venues. (Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) 

-This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Paralympics. The wheelchair games, involving injured World War II soldiers, were staged on the opening day of the London 1948 Olympics. (London Councils 2012 Team).

List of Olympic Games City

1896 – Athens
1900 – Paris
1904 – St. Louis
1906 – Athens (“Unoffficial”)
1908 – London
1912 – Stockholm
1916 – Not held*
1920 – Antwerp
1924 – Paris
1928 – Amsterdam
1932 – Los Angeles
1936 – Berlin
1940 – Not held*
1944 – Not held*
1948 – London
1952 – Helsinki

1956 – Melbourne
1960 – Rome
1964 – Tokyo
1968 – Mexico City
1972 – Munich
1976 – Montreal
1980 – Moscow
1984 – Los Angeles
1988 – Seoul
1992 – Barcelona
1996 – Atlanta
2000 – Sydney
2004 – Athens
2008 – Beijing
2012 – London

What time is it?

What is Big Ben?

Big Ben is a huge clock tower, known by the name of its largest bell that dominates the northern end of the building. The height of Big Ben towers is 316 feet.

There are two unproven theories about the name Big Ben. One plausible story is that the name is drawn from Sir Benjamin Hall, chief commissioner of works at the time Big Ben’s was hung in 1858.

Big Ben is the largest clock in Britain, with four dials that are each twenty-four feet in diameter; the minute hands are fourteen feet long. Big Ben is actually the second 13-ton bell made for the clock; the first cracked during testing.

Big Ben’s clock is lit at night. A second lamp above the face is illuminated anytime Parliament is in session

Why is the clock called Big Ben?

Most visitors and many Londoners call St. Stephen’s Tower of the Houses of Parliament “Big Ben”, but the title is actually specifically applied to the largest of five bells hung within the 320-foot-tall tower that rises over the Houses of Parliament: it chimes on the hour, while four smaller ones sound on the quarter hour.

The History of Big Ben

The next 114 years of the clock’s history were relatively serene and Big Ben soon developed a reputation for great accuracy. In 1906, the Big Ben’s gas lighting of the dials was replaced by electric lighting. Electric winding of Big Ben was introduced in 1912.

Londoners set their watches by the chimes of Big Ben, which are broadcast around the globe by the BBC World Service.

The first radio broadcast of Big Ben was made by the BBC at midnight on the 31st December 1923 to welcome in the New Year. Shortly afterwards, a permanent microphone installation enabled regular broadcasts of the chimes and the bell of Big Ben to function effectively as a time signal. The broadcasting of the bells of Big Ben on the BBC World Service assumed particular importance during the Second World War, when the sounds were a source of comfort and hope to those hoping that Britain would not be overcome.

Big Ben today

Big Ben is still broadcast today on BBC Radio 4 at certain times.

The sounds of Big Ben have traditionally been the focus of the entry of the New Year. In December 1999 they were of particular significance, marking the beginning of the new Millennium. The sounds of the chimes of Big Ben were relayed on television and radio broadcasts and to the crowd assembled in the Millennium Dome. For the first time also, cameras were located in the belfry of Big Ben, so that viewers could see as well as hear the chimes and twelve o’clock being struck on bells.

Accommodation near Big Ben

If you like to see, how all these mechanisms work, to hear the chiming and the beautiful lights at night, please come to visit Big Ben.

The Georgian House Hotel makes a great place to stay when you plan a trip to see Big Ben. The hotel is relatively close, easy to reach by bus or underground and offers a variety of rooms, facilities and prices. Many people enjoy our Full English breakfast and recommend it to friends.