Has Lon­don 2012 de­liv­ered on its legacy prom­ises?


The Lon­don 2012 bid team’s five-point plan, put to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee be­fore it was awarded the games in Sin­ga­pore seven years ago, has, more or less, been met, Sir Keith Mills, deputy chair­man of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, told Jonathan Rest.

1. Make the UK a world-lead­ing sport­ing na­tion

The Lon­don bid promised to get more peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in sport and help at least 2 mil­lion more peo­ple in Eng­land be more ac­tive by 2012, al­though Mills claims the sport­ing legacy will only re­ally be mea­sured in three or four years’ time.

He said: “His­tor­i­cally it is very chal­leng­ing to mea­sure what sport par­tic­i­pa­tion ac­tu­ally means. The chal­lenge is how you use the games to un­lock that and get it mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion. A lot of it is about in­vest­ing in fa­cil­i­ties. It will be a while to see if it pays div­i­dends.

“Cer­tainly there is no di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween host­ing the Olympics and in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion un­less you do some­thing about it. Big events do stim­u­late in­ter­est and de­mand, but the chal­lenge is cap­tur­ing it and turn­ing it into a per­ma­nent way of life.”

2. Trans­form the heart of east Lon­don

“It was an obli­ga­tion to the IOC to use the games to re­gen­er­ate a run-down part of Lon­don that ranked sec­ond in the de­pri­va­tion ta­ble in the UK at the time. What we have achieved there has been out­stand­ing.

“This part of east Lon­don was not well-con­nected be­fore, but now it has com­pletely opened up. It will be the cat­a­lyst for large-scale change across the re­gion and I have no doubts that over the next 10 years this will continue.”

3. In­spire a gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple

“We have made a big im­pact here. For the last four years we have been as­so­ci­ated with Sported, a foun­da­tion set up to help around 10,000 clubs in the UK that use sport for so­cial change.

“His­tor­i­cally these clubs have had to fend for them­selves fi­nan­cially, so we’ve been work­ing to pro­vide them with money and as­sis­tance, and to date 1,200 clubs are get­ting sup­port from Sported.

“Our In­ter­na­tional In­spi­ra­tion pro­gramme has en­riched the lives of more than 13 mil­lion chil­dren and young peo­ple in 20 coun­tries, en­abling them to par­tic­i­pate in high-qual­ity and in­clu­sive phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, sport and play. The pro­gramme is dif­fer­ent in ev­ery coun­try, ad­dress­ing spe­cific needs.”

4. Make the Olympic Park a blue­print for sus­tain­able liv­ing

“The Olympic Park it­self will be very suc­cess­ful: the fu­tures of eight of the 10 venues are sorted be­fore the games start, and af­ter the games it will have a real thriv­ing community feel, with a school, a med­i­cal cen­tre and of course West­field [shop­ping cen­tre] on the doorstep.

“The park will trans­form one of the poor­est ar­eas in the UK into an ur­ban and en­vi­ron­men­tal show­piece, cre­at­ing one of the big­gest community park­lands in Europe along with thou­sands of new jobs and af­ford­able hous­ing as a model for sus­tain­able in­ner city re­newal.”

5. Demon­strate that the coun­try is a wel­com­ing place to live, visit and con­duct busi­ness

“Like par­tic­i­pa­tion lev­els, the eco­nomic im­pact and legacy from the games is so dif­fi­cult to mea­sure. But from the con­ver­sa­tions I’ve had with UK Trade & In­vest­ment [the gov­ern­ment body pro­mot­ing UK busi­ness abroad and en­cour­ag­ing in­ward in­vest­ment], they are very op­ti­mistic that there will be a real eco­nomic ben­e­fit for British ex­port com­pa­nies and for en­cour­ag­ing in­ter­na­tional firms to come and set up here.”

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