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BP, the Royal Opera House and the Olympic Museum to bring a unique exhibition to London in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Release date:
10 May 2011

The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games

BP and the Royal Opera House today announced together in the presence of Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards that they are collaborating with The Olympic Museum to create a free and unique exhibition telling the Olympic story through the endeavours of ancient and modern Olympians.


Called The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games , the exhibition will be created and staged at the Royal Opera House for the duration of the Olympic Games next summer from 27th July to 12th August 2012. It will include unique artefacts, graphics, film and audio from The Olympic Museum in Lausanne being shown in London for the very first time, and promises to be a highlight of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.


The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games will include a display of all the Olympic Medals since 1896 and all the Olympic Torches since 1936. There will also be a ‘Hall of Champions’ featuring the stories and inspirational achievements of great Olympians from the modern Games.


Visitors will be taken on a journey from ancient Greece, the original home of the Olympic Games, through the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the man behind the revival of the Games many centuries later. The experience will continue with the stories of some of the iconic Olympic athletes and moments of the last hundred years of Olympic history.


The exhibition is being curated by The Olympic Museum in partnership with leading exhibition designers Metaphor.


“BP is a longstanding supporter of arts and culture in the UK, partnering with leading institutions for over 30 years,” said Peter Mather, BP’s Regional Vice President for Europe and Head of Country UK. “As an Official Partner of the London 2012 Games and a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, it is fitting for BP to build upon our strong relationship with the Royal Opera House to bring this new exhibition to London for the Games.


“Behind the great spectacle of the Olympic Games lie powerful human stories. The purpose of this exhibition is to inspire visitors by highlighting some of the remarkable athletes and tales from the rich history of the Games. It will be a free, fun and popular destination and we are delighted to be collaborating with The Olympic Museum to put on a once in a lifetime experience for visitors from all over the world at the London 2012 Olympic Games next year.”


“Arts and culture have an important role to play alongside the magnificent sporting competition next summer. The London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, is already shaping up to be one of the finest of any Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Royal Opera House is delighted to be playing its part. We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of new visitors to the Royal Opera House in 2012,” added Tony Hall, Chair of the Cultural Olympiad Board and Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House.


Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House, commented “We are delighted to be working with The Olympic Museum and BP to create this unique Olympic experience. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are an example of the best of human spirit and physical endeavour. The Games in our city offer a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the inspirational talent of the world’s greatest athletes, reminding us – like the artists who more usually perform on our stages – of the extraordinary achievements of which human beings are capable."


"Exhibits from The Olympic Museum have been displayed in different Olympic host cities before, but this exhibition is particularly exciting; it is much more ambitious and will truly bring the Olympic spirit to London," said Francis Gabet, Director of The Olympic Museum.


"By hosting this exhibition in one of the world's leading arts and culture institutions we hope that our collaboration for London 2012 will set a new benchmark for future Olympic host cities."

Further information



Rowland Jack, Hill & Knowlton, +44 (0)207 973 4469, +44 (0)7824 529 222, rjack@hillandknowlton.com

Francis Gabet, The Olympic Museum, +41 (0)21 621 6511, francis.gabet@olympic.org

Mark Salt, BP Group Press Office, +44 (0)207 496 4358, mark.salt@uk.bp.com

Elizabeth Bell, Royal Opera House, Head of Corporate Communications, +44 (0)20 7212 9717, elizabeth.bell@roh.org.uk

Notes to editors


The Olympic Museum


The Olympic Museum, a world class museum based in Lausanne, provides to the Olympic movement a unique multichannel platform to spread the Olympic soul throughout the world. Its mission is to produce cultural and educational programmes where visitors – from all nations and cultures, young and old, Olympic fans or not – feel, experience and understand the complex and enthralling story of the people – individuals or groups, sportsmen and entrepreneurs, heroes and ordinary people – who come together to make Olympism contribute to a better world through sport.




BP and London 2012


BP is the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. London has been the home of BP’s headquarters for over a century. So for BP, welcoming the Olympic and Paralympic Games to London is an exciting opportunity – one that BP believes can make a difference for London and the UK for many years to come. Through the partnership with London 2012, BP is fuelling the Games in ways that are intended to inspire millions of people to think about the mobility choices they make every day. With its arts, cultural and educational partners, BP is creating exciting opportunities for young people. And BP is supporting some extraordinary athletes as they prepare for the London 2012 Games.




BP and Arts & Culture


BP has supported arts and culture in the UK for over 30 years and currently focuses its support on long-term partnerships with four world class institutions; The British Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Opera House and Tate Britain. More than 2.4 million people across the UK engaged with BP supported activity in 2010. A Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad, BP’s support of the London 2012 Open Weekend and other London 2012 Festival projects is helping to showcase the UK’s cultural excellence and diversity to an even wider audience.


BP: Arts & Culture


Royal Opera House and London 2012


The Royal Opera House is an iconic building in the heart of London’s theatreland. Each year, almost 700 performances are given on our stages by the world class artists of The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, as well as international guest singers and, through ROH2, the contemporary arm of the Opera House, a wide and diverse range of artists and small companies.


It’s a place where the art forms of ballet, dance, opera and music are nurtured and developed, and where boundaries are pushed. Partnerships with other innovative companies and artists are central to this work, and our education and community outreach programmes encourage and inspire thousands of people of all ages to explore their own creativity and potential.


The Royal Opera House is a resource for the nation and, with the developments in digital technology, is increasingly become a global resource through cinema screenings, our interactive website and iTunes U.


The Royal Opera House is proud to be playing its part in celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Season with a variety of special events through the 2011/12 Royal Opera House Season, culminating in this extraordinary exhibition in partnership with The Olympic Museum and BP. 




The Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival


The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. Since the Cultural Olympiad started in 2008 11.2 million people from across the UK have participated in or attended over 5,400 public performances as part of the Cultural Olympiad and programmes inspired by 2012 and funded by our principle funders and sponsors. Over 67,000 people have attended 6,800 workshops as part of Cultural Olympiad programmes. The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation and leave a lasting legacy for the arts in this country. For more details visit:






Metaphor are masterplanners, exhibition designers, architects and content developers for museums, galleries and heritage sites worldwide. We work in museums, palaces, historic houses and landscapes, creating memorable visitor experiences at every scale from the display of a single object to the masterplan of a city quarter.


Current projects include The Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, The Holburne Museum in Bath and the redisplay of the Cast Courts at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum. Recent projects include the Museum of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell, The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, a strategic vision for the Topkapi Palace Peninsula in Istanbul, and major exhibitions such as the First Emperor at the British Museum and Surreal Things at the V&A and the Guggenheim Bilbao.