Wales will stage Olympic football at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. It will also play host to six Olympic and eight Paralympic committees who have outlined their intention to train in Wales.
These include the Australian, South African, New Zealand and Mexican Paralympic teams, along with Trinidad and Tobago and Botwana national Olympic Teams. The British Olympic and Paralympic cycling teams will also have their training base on Welsh soil – at the Velodrome in Newport.
UK medal hopefuls from Wales include rower Tom James who won gold with the coxless four at Beijing 2008, swimmer David Davies who won bronze in the 1,500 metres in Athens 2004, and flyweight boxer Andrew Selby.
Around £38 million worth of Games-related contracts have been won by businesses based in Wales, with benefits cascading down the supply chain. Several local businesses have played a role in the construction of the Olympic Park, including supplying:
- reinforcement for the Olympic Stadium,
- external cladding for the Olympic Stadium, and
- prefabricated steel bridges for the Olympic Park.
Wales’ Cultural Olympiad has developed into a richly layered programme of activities with some 30 events taking place in Wales in 2012, including Mzansi Cymru, a major arts project spearheaded by Valleys Kids, a charity based in South Wales working with disadvantaged children and families. This project links the people and communities of the South Wales Valleys and the township of Langa in Cape Town, South Africa, culminating in a large-scale theatre performance at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.
A number of events are also being held as part of the London 2012 Festival such as:
- Marc Rees – Adain Avion - a mobile mobile art space, social sculpture and travelling time capsule made from the recycled fuselage of a DC-9 airplane that migrates across Wales, including the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea;
- Big Dance 2012 at Cardiff Mela – a multicultural celebration of dance and music including a world-record attempt for the largest Bollywood dance performance; and
- Y Storm - Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest taking place at the National Esiteddfod of Wales.
The Olympic Torch will be in the region for six days taking in iconic landmarks. The Torch Relay will visit a number of towns, villages and cities, including evening celebrations in Cardiff (25 May), Swansea (26 May), Aberystwyth (27 May) and Bangor (28 May).
The Torch Relay is helping to shine a light on the tourism opportunities of different parts of the country. Attractions in Wales include:
- History and heritage – there are over 600 castles in Wales, including Cardiff Castle and Caerphilly Castle, one of Great Britain’s largest medieval fortresses, as well as Offa’s Dyke, an 80-mile stretch created by the legendary medieval King Offa which still sketches out parts of the Welsh and English borders to this day.
- Culture – Hay-on-Wye is world-renowned for books and bookshops, and hosts the world famous Hay Festival each year, while the National Eisteddfod celebrates the Welsh passion for poetry and performance. Swansea in South Wales is the home town of Dylan Thomas, one of Wales’s most celebrated literary figures.
- Nature and landscape – Exemplified by the Snowdonia National Park, the Welsh landscape of moors, wetlands, lakes and mountains is breathtaking. It is also home to over 1,200 kilometres of coastline, with Gower, Camathenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay featuring clean beaches and a range of wildlife from dolphins and basking sharks to seals and leatherback turtles. The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the UK to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956.
- Food – Traditional Welsh dishes include Welsh stew (Cawl) and fruit loaf (Bara Brith), while the area is also famous for its local produce such as Welsh cheese, lamb and cider, much of it celebrated at major food festivals such as the Abergavenny Food Festival in September.
Find more information on Wales as a place to visit.