Page last updated at 19:08 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Queen walks in Olympic footsteps


The Queen helped plant the first of 4,000 trees to be put on the park site

The Queen has visited the Olympic Park in east London to inspect preparations for the 2012 Games.

She walked along a section of what will be the 100-metre track and went to the top of the stands to view the work on the main Olympic Stadium.

It is the second visit she has made since the city was awarded the Olympics in 2005.

Lord Coe, who showed her around, said: "She was very pleased to be standing on the finishing straight."

Her Majesty planted the first tree on the park site and met workers involved in the project.

A temporary concrete surface was laid where the running track will be to provide firmer footing for the royal guest.

Peter Hunt
Peter Hunt, BBC News

It's not her normal mode of transport, but to get to the top of the Olympic Stadium, the Head of State of the UK and 15 Commonwealth realms had to travel in a builder's lift. One official called it a "shabby cage".

Back on terra firma, the Queen was shown what will become the 100-metre track. She, of course, has a passion for races involving four-legged creatures.

This was the Queen's second visit but she's bound to return, and may forever be linked with this once industrial part of east London. After the Games the area will become an urban park and there's talk of it being called Elizabeth Park.

2012 will be a significant year for London and the monarch. At 86 she'll be celebrating 60 years on the throne.

The Queen was shown around the site by Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, who joked she was just paces away from winning the 100-metre final.

He said later: "She was very impressed with the progress and with the idea of how it's been designed for use afterwards.

"She was very pleased to be standing on the finishing straight."

The Queen was shown where the royal box will eventually be created and also viewed the towering lighting stretchers which will illuminate the 80,000-capacity stadium.

The monarch was not required to wear a hard hat or safety footwear because workers had put down their tools overhead.

She last toured the area in 2005, a few months after London won the bid to host the Games.

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