Friday 13 July saw three civil engineers take part in a special media briefing, raising the profile of our profession.
The briefing showcased to national journalists the role engineers have played in delivering the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
ICE and the media
ICE Fellow Simon Wright, ODA director of venues and infrastructure, Fellow Andrew Comer, Partner at Buro Happold, and ODA Head of Sustainability Holly Knight, civil and environmental engineer, joined a panel of other engineers for the ‘Engineering the Olympics’ briefing.
Facing the press: engineers and the games
Journalists from newspapers including the Daily Mirror and online news service Reuters were at the briefing, run by the Science Media Centre. ICE Fellow Simon gave an overview of how engineers have contributed to the Olympic Games, including the designing and building the venues and facilities, building 30 new bridges, restoring 8.35km of waterways, and building 1.8km of sewer tunnels underneath the site.
Holly talked about how London is thefirst summer host city to embed sustainability in its planning from the start, creating a positive lasting change for the environment and communities. While Andrew focused on his team’s work on the design of the Olympic Park and the legacy plans, in particular how the games has delivered a regeneration development platform from one of Europe’s most deprived and polluted sites.
A ‘great platform’ to share our achievements
Simon told ICE how the briefing provided a “great platform” to explain in more detail the work done by engineers, and to “share our achievements in building London 2012”.
The media have played a vital role in creating a buzz around the games and generating support for the athletes. But considering everything that’s been done, Simon pointed out how we have actually heard “little about the incredible engineering that has gone into delivering the biggest sporting event in decades”.
It was great to see the journalists amazement at the involvement of engineers, Simon noted, and by “what the ODA has achieved - both on time and on budget”. The briefing was an excellent opportunity to showcase the importance of civil engineers, and their Olympic achievements, to the media.