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Photos of London's Olympic Park, Four Years Since the Games

What has happened to London's Olympic legacy?

by Chris Bethell
17 August 2016, 9:49am

It's been four years since the London Olympics, as you probably know, because the Rio Olympics are happening right now, and they happen every four years. You can literally set your watch to the Olympics; they're as regular as All-Bran.

Anyway, while all eyes are on Rio, what has happened to London's Olympic legacy? How is the Stratford Olympic Park – now supposed to be some kind of great vibes leisure hub – working out?

The Olympic Park sits in a weird dead zone. Out to the south are waves of top-down New Labour "developments" stretching to Westfield, the Stratford tower blocks and the Millennium Dome. To the west lies the bottom-up hipster gentrification of Hackney and Shoreditch. And to the north, the city disintegrates into the suburbs, industrial estates and Lands of Leather.

The Olympic Park sits in the eye of the storm, surrounded by canals, parks and marshes the size of Hampstead Heath. It is almost disturbingly quiet. There's not so much as a Tesco Metro for miles.

On the weekends, crowds descend to the nearby street food market and drink Aperol Spritzs at the newly opened branch of The Breakfast Club. Every second Saturday it is also besieged by West Ham fans, who have now made home in the Olympic stadium. But in the week it's basically just London's quietest park, full of builders, joggers and cyclists.

Chris Bethell went to see what it looks like now: