London Olympic chiefs unveiled the first furnished apartments at the athletes’ village on Thursday, including extendable beds for taller sportsmen and boldly colored sports-themed duvets.
Up to 16,000 athletes and team officials from more than 200 countries will eat and sleep in the village at the Olympic Park in east London during the Games, and about 7,000 during the Paralympics.
The apartments will be sold after the athletes have gone home but their interests have been catered for during Games time, with former Olympic triple jump gold medalist Jonathan Edwards on the advisory panel.
The 11 residential blocks will have an internet lounge, a bank, and beauty salon and spa, but no kitchens.
John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), responsible for building the venues, dismissed barbs that they resembled a student hall of residence.
“We built them for legacy, the village in that sense is relatively straightforward, you know that you are building homes for people for the next 100 years,” he told Reuters.
“How do you adapt it for use by an athlete? You don’t have to do a lot... and what you are giving them are things that they would recognize as an environment that probably reflects what they are used to at home.”
He described the apartments as “very light, airy, very nice spaces”.
As organizers showed off the 1.1 billion pound ($1.72 billion) village, the Duchess of Cambridge, an ambassador for the London 2012 Olympics, met Team GB hockey teams on the other side of the Park.
The wife of Prince William, heir to the British throne, was captain of her school team, and donned some trainers to take aim with her hockey stick.
In the village, no more than two athletes will share a bedroom in the 2,800 apartments.
A good night’s sleep is vital ahead of competition, and organizers have installed full length black-out curtains to aid sleep.
Rabble rousers will also be told to be quiet while organizers hope the proximity of the West End, with its theatres and nightlife, will help athletes let off steam without disturbing their fellow competitors.
The blocks have courtyards and green spaces where athletes can relax. The village will be the first to provide each apartment with its own lounge, television and high-speed broadband.
Instead of kitchens, athletes will dine in a 5,000-seat main hall where they are expected to munch their way through 25,000 loaves of bread and drink 75,000 liters of milk.
They will also have access to a McDonald’s restaurant, several “grab and go” stations and a barbecue.
Kitchens will be installed after the Games when the apartments will be sold and the Olympic Park will be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Park.
About half the village has been sold to Triathlon Homes for affordable housing, and the other half to a Delancey and Qatari Diar joint venture.