For three weeks during the summer games, more than 16,000 athletes from around the world call the Olympic Village their home away from home.
“The village is a sanctuary that allows piece of mind and allows these guys to do what they do in the most extraordinary ways,” said Sebastian Coe, President of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Whether it’s coming back from a competition or a hard day at practice, for centuries the Olympic village has provided many athletes with a place to unwind and relax their bodies.
This year the LOCOG took the planning and construction of the Olympic Village to the next level to ensure that the competing athletes are not only comfortable but have everything that they need and want at their fingertips.
The village in East Stratford, London alongside the Olympic park not only features everything from a hair salon and grocery store, but also the largest dining hall in the world seating 5,000 athletes and athletic staff. From protein drinks to made to order burgers, the culinary staff at the village is prepared to cater to a variety of tastes providing cuisines from various countries.
‘The Olympic village is amazing,” said U.S. gymnast and gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas. “They have great food and different varieties to pick from.”
Serving more than 60,000 meals daily the staff keeps busy planning a new menu every day for each meal.
Athlete have their own dorm style space complete with bedding and furnishings. It provides them with some privacy and a place to relax away from the excitement of the games.
“The dorm rooms are really nice a decent size and you get to kind of have your own space,” Douglas said. “I think that they are comfortable, and I love the sheeting so that’s always a good thing.”
Despite speculation about what goes on behind the scenes in the Olympic Village the athletes find it to be a hangout for them to mix and mingle with one another. There are many spaces for them to kick back and have fun including a game room and lounge.
“We’ve gotten to meet a lot of great athletes,” said Douglas. “It’s like were getting to hang out with the popular kids and we try to learn each others sports.”
Some heads of National Olympic Committee’s including Gunilla Lindberg, Secretary-General of the Swedish Olympic Committee have also made the Olympic Village their home.
“LOCOG you will have problems with us moving out because it is a very nice place to live,” said Lindberg. “I would say that they Olympic village is the heart of the Olympic games,” said Lindberg.