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Olympic Village to Open for 16,000 Competitors, Officials

Olympic organizers are making final preparations for the July 16 opening of residential areas in London’s East End, which are expected to accommodate as many as 16,000 people during the games.

Competitors and officials from more than 200 countries will be housed in the athletes’ village in the Olympic Park, which has a total of 2,818 apartments. About 28,000 duvets featuring Olympic sports motifs have been provided, along with 22,000 pillows and 9,000 wardrobes.

“Things are infinitely better today than they were when we last invited the world to London in 1948,” Mayor Boris Johnson said at a press conference yesterday. “We didn’t even have a village in 1948. They had to bring their own towels and they had to bunk up in school classrooms in West London.”

The games start in two weeks with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle unveiling his William Shakespeare-inspired “Isles of Wonder” curtain-raiser at the 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium. Olympians and officials will live around Victory Park on tree-lined streets called Celebration Avenue, Champions Walk and Medals Way.

Apartments range from one to five bedrooms and some athletes will share a room, according to the London Organizing Committee of the Games. The athletes will sleep in single beds, some of which are extendable for taller Olympians, the organizer said.

U.K. developer Delancey Estates Plc and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., a unit of the Middle East country’s sovereign wealth fund, agreed to buy the athlete’s village in August for 557 million pounds ($860 million) for conversion into private homes following the games. As part of the deal, the buyers can build an additional 2,000 residential units on the site.

Olympians and officials will live around Victory Park on tree-lined streets called Celebration Avenue, Champions Walk and Medals Way. Procter & Gamble Co. has opened a beauty salon nearby, where athletes can get free treatments such as a “three-point microsculpting facial” and flags of competing nations painted on their fingernails.

London Mayor Johnson was offered a haircut, which he declined in favor of a manicure. The salon shares the street with a newsstand, dry cleaner and postal service. The bar, called The Globe, only serves non-alcoholic drinks.

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