The Beijing Olympics were a resounding success with an impressive medal tally by British athletes. What was less well publicised, though no less noteworthy, was the contribution of UK engineers in terms of the infrastructure, stadiums and equipment used by the competitors.

John Armitt CBE FREng, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, chaired a seminar last week at the Academy highlighting the crucial role that engineering will again play in delivering the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The event covered the challenges in constructing world-class venues and settings for the Games, sustainable development and ethical issues surrounding sports technology.

Mike McNicholas, Project Director London 2012 at Atkins, spoke about the complexities of building at Olympic Park, the importance of building legacy into the projects from the very early stages of planning and the engineering challenges of completing the project in a limited time frame. Bill Grose, Project Director at Arup, gave an overview of creating a strong infrastructure for the Games. Mike King, Associate Director at Arup and Stuart Fraser, Project Director at Balfour Beatty, gave a case study on the Aquatics Centre whilst Hugh Sumner, Director of Transport at the Olympic Delivery Authority, showed the detailed planning behind an Olympic Games that will rely almost solely on public transport. Dr David James, Senior Sports Engineer at Sheffield Hallam University, spoke about ethical issues behind sports technology, such as prosthetic blades for Paralympic runners, and Duncan Innes, Executive Director of Real Estate at the Olympic Park Legacy Company, showed how Olympic Park will be used post-Games.

Film of the talks given at this event will be available from 5 July onwards at

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton, Manager, Communications, t: 020 7766 0636, e:  Jane Sutton