London's Olympic Park "has taken on the air of a construction site again," with work under way on a £292M ($468M) transformation before Britons can use facilities like the swimming pool and cycle trails, according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Builders "in hard hats were on Tuesday dismantling temporary seats towering above the pool" where Michael Phelps won a record 18th Olympic Gold in August. Workers on the site "on a bleak November day were focused on getting it ready to reopen to the public next July" -- a year after the Games. The reconstructed site will don a new name: the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Contractors Balfour Beatty and BAM Nuttall "are expected to employ up 1,000 workers on the conversion." The pool is scheduled to be used "as a public leisure centre" from '14, although London has also bid to stage the European Swimming Championships at the venue in '16 (REUTERS, 11/27). In London, Owen Gibson wrote London 2012's Aquatic Centre "has begun its transformation from the ugly duckling to the white swan of the Olympic Park." The London Legacy Development Corp. "formally took control" and started removing the huge outer "water wings" on the sides of the £251M ($401.9M) venue. The last outer strip of the two boxy temporary wings, which expanded the capacity from 2,500 to 17,500 during the Games, was pulled away, and between now and next spring "will be replaced by huge glass windows" on Zaha Hadid's wave-like design (GUARDIAN, 11/27).
After two failed bids to get squash into the Olympics, world No. 1 Nicol David and her fellow players have "embarked on a campaign to raise the sport's global profile in an attempt to win over IOC chiefs in Hong Kong this week," according to Peter Rutherford of REUTERS. The 2020 Games will allow one sport to "be added to the program," with squash up against karate, the Chinese martial art of wushu, baseball, softball, roller sports, wakeboarding and sport climbing. IOC observers "are inspecting the Hong Kong Open as part of their squash evaluation," and David said that the tournament "was the ideal setting to show the sport deserved a place at the Games." Now "frustrated" and "determined to avoid rejection for a third time, squash examined how to make the game more fan-friendly and appealing to television." Players have also been "trying to raise its profile by staging flash mob dances in Malaysia and N.Y." (REUTERS, 11/27). In Hong Kong, Alvin Sallay noted David "wouldn't mind putting on her dancing shoes again" if it would help squash "grab the attention it needs to convince IOC observers that it is worthy" of the 2020 Games. David said, "Yes, we have done everything, the players even dancing on the streets of Brooklyn and Kuala Lumpur this year to raise the sport's profile." Hong Kong's premier squash tournament "will have to share the limelight with the bid to get into the Olympics." Hong Kong Squash Chair David Mui Ying-yuen said, "We are determined to put on a grand show" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 11/27).
WUSHU ON THE MOVE: THE STAR reported Malaysian Wushu Federation President Martin Lim "is optimistic the country will see a gold medalist if wushu becomes an Olympic sport." Next year's 12th World Wushu Championships at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium on Oct. 28-Nov. 6 "will be the best platform to showcase the sport." The event will mark the second time Malaysia will host the world meet, the first time being in '93, "which saw entries from 50 countries" (THE STAR, 11/27).