2012 Olympic Venue Preview: Greenwich Park

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Aerial view of Greenwich Park which will host equestrian events during the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 26, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

Greenwich Park, site of the prime meridian and a park that dates back to 1433, will welcome the Equestrian and Modern Pentathlon competitions to its grounds during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Location: Greenwich World Heritage Site, some 20 minutes outside of central London

Events: Equestrian and the horse riding portion of Modern Pentathlon

Construction: Turned over to the Crown in 1427, so, a long time ago

Acres: 180

Temporary Jumps Installed: 42

Greenwich Park is one of the largest areas of green in London, covering some 180 acres at the World Heritage Site, and site of the Royal Observatory, which marks the location of the prime meridian. It is one of the Royal Parks of London, and was the first such park to be enclosed, in 1433, by James I. So, yes: London has a park 343 years older than America.

Originally given to the Crown in 1427, it has served as the site of the Tudor Palace of Placentia, the Queen's House and Greenwich Hospital, an area for hawking and, in the 16th century, a site for Henry VIII to hunt deer. In present day, the park is open to the public from six in the morning until dusk, year round.

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Oli Scarff/Getty Images

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Greenwich Park is hosting the riding portion of Modern Pentathlon, as well as all the events of Equestrian (Dressage, Jumping and Eventing). For the Games, organizers developed temporary structures to host the competitions.

A temporary course has been designed for the cross-country element of the Eventing competition, while a temporary main arena is also being built in front of the Queen's House within the grounds of the National Maritime Museum.

Work began on the temporary main arena in April 2012. The arena features an innovative purpose-made platform made from plywood, aluminium and steel which is held above ground by over 2,000 pillars.

After the Games, the park will resort back to its original state and will continue to be used as a public place.

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