2012 Olympic Venue Preview: Horse Guards Parade

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Denise Johns of Great Britain in action during a practice session prior to the VISA FIVB Beach Volleyball International at Horse Guards Parade on August 8, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The Horse Guards Parade will stage beach volleyball in front of one of London's oldest buildings at the 2012 Olympics.

Location: Central London, off Whitehall, in front of the Admiralty complex

Events: Beach Volleyball

Construction: 1745

Actual Number Of Horse Guards Parading During Olympics: Zero

The Horse Guards Parade, despite its odd name, is not a literal parade; instead, it is the parade grounds where British mounted Horse Guards have paraded, making it a parade grounds. It will also be one of the most visually distinct venues for the 2012 London Olympics, with beach volleyball taking place in front of one of London's many old government buildings.

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Clive Rose/Getty Images

A temporary court has been erected in front of the Old Admiralty, which was built in 1726 and served as the government building of the Royal Navy. The venue has seats for about as many spectators as Wimbledon's Centre Court, and 5,000 tons of sand for its playing surface.

As you might expect, that sand will be moved away, and the facility torn down, after the Olympics; it wasn't even installed until recently, after Horse Guards Parade served as the location for the Trooping of the Colour in June for Queen Elizabeth's birthday.

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