MVP editor Greg Tanner became the first member of the media to sit on the seats at the Olympic basketball arena in London this week.

Whilst the building is still very much a work in progress, it is possible to get a sense of what the atmosphere will be like when the world’s finest basketball stars battle here in a year and a half’s time when it hosts the initial stages of the competition.

Mud instead of hardwood and JCBs instead of players...but you can just about get a feel for how this is all going to come together

Only a few hundred of the eventual 12,000 seats have been installed – but it’s clear to see an orange and black pattern starting to emerge (it will be what our hosts described as a “shattered” version of the 2012 logo). The seats are supported by a 1,000-tonne steel frame – and the whole arena will eventually be dismantled after the Games, and possibly used elsewhere in the world.

Hallowed ground - parts of the flooring, stacked high

It was crazy seeing the thousands of pieces of this jigsaw, stacked in various piles across the arena interior. MVP’s creative director Jake Green summed it up best when he described it as an “Ikea arena”!

The whole building should be completed some time in March or April, and the Olympic Delivery Authority Chairman, John Armitt, is certainly pleased with how it’s all coming along.

“As the fourth largest sports venue on the Olympic Park by capacity, it is encouraging that work is continuing at an excellent rate,” he said.

“And it is on track to complete next year in time for test events.”

The venue – which will also stage the handball finals in 2012 – is in line to host next summer’s invitational tournament which will include Great Britain, Australia and four other teams.

We’ll have more from our visit to the Olympic site in MVP issue 2 – out in January.

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