The 2012 Olympics in London are only some 142 days away, and years of construction are finally coming to a head. The insane spectacle of Beijing's 2008 Olympics seems to have put added pressure on the London crew, which has tapped Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle to plan the Opening Ceremony. The venues themselves are also pretty much done, so we're getting our first good looks at where the marquee events will be held. The basketball arena, aquatics center, and handball arena, as well as Olympic Stadium, will all be attention-grabbing at times. Even the look of the pumping station was thought out. And don't forget the temporary McDonald's, which will be the busiest and largest in the world while it's open.
However, the Olympic Velodrome figures to be the most popular venue. From up close, it looks like the backside of a lawn chair fit for any O-lineman. From above, it resembles a wavy, futuristic potato chip designed by Robert Heinlein. (The British press has already started casually referring to it as the Pringle.) The track inside features 35 miles of Siberian pine held together by 350,000 nails. With seats for 6,000 spectators, it's already hosting cycling events, which helped cause a bit of ruckus over the apparent lack of loos. In all, the facility cost just a hair under $150 million to build and will feature a "mountain bike course and road-cycle circuit" after the Games are completed later this summer.
Most importantly, it will still resemble a ginormous potato chip or wicker chair, depending on your view.