The issue of Olympic Games Legacies is immense and greatly articulated in details in published material. Olympic Games as mega-events are widely accepted to cost host cities enormous investments and founding. Although International Olympic Committee (IOC) is nowadays controlling the financing of the Games (since examples of previous Olympics Games proved that host cities are in need of extensive expertise and knowledge) financing the infrastructure still becomes problematic. Games in Montreal 1876 left a city in depths for 20 years due to lack of appropriate planning which is a legacy IOC and any bidding city urge to avoid. Vast amount of money invested in Olympics Games force cities to justify their spending by planning, implementing and monitoring Games legacies. Not only positive one has to be regarded but also negative one.
This essay doesn’t attempt to find the best answer, as this would require greater secondary and primary researches. The goal is modest, to provide an overview of existing Olympics legacies definitions. Then it attempt to critically review two previous legacies, London 2012’s legacy plans, subsequently moving to evaluation for the London Development Agency of the fulfillment of their Olympic legacy plans in two chosen areas. Finally the paper concludes significant efforts which are made by IOC, host cities and Games organizers to make sure that host cities and their citizens are left with long term positive legacies.
Definition of Legacy
Coe (2006) as cited by Culf (2006) suggests that: “Legacy is absolutely epicentral to the plans for 2012. Legacy is probably nine-tenths of what this process is about, not just 16 days of Olympic sport.”
Olympic Legacies become a prominent issue in last decade. World focused their attention on not only providing commercially successful Games also long-term positive and negative impacts for host cities or even host countries. Poynter& MacRury (2009:314) stated that: “(Olympic) Games are not longer seen as an ends in themselves. They become a means – a means for good. That ‘Good’ is legacy”. Legacies became part of the Olympic Games, used to describe post-events benefits to local community. As mega events often brought disbenefits, term is often modify and term such as ‘sustainable legacy and ‘legacy momentum’ are used instead (Gronostowa 2011:7). Recognizing need for comprehensive research the IOC, in 2000 launched ‘Olympic Games Global Impact’ project (which measure triple-bottom impacts: social, environmental and economic, in period of 11years – from the moment of bidding stage through 2years after the Olympics, which is too soon to measure long term legacies), followed by a congress on ‘The Legacy of the Olympic Games: 1984-2000’ in 2002. However finding definition of legacy still proved problematic (Gratton & Preuss, 2011:1923). While used by IOC, ‘legacy’ seems to be entirely positive expression, re-naming negative ‘legacies’ as unforeseen (and unpredictable) consequences. Gratton & Preuss (2011:1924) are raising another two issues: while legacy definition is used by IOC, there is consensus that legacies benefit the host community and there isn’t a need for precise definition as ‘legacy’ term is self-evident thus their definition provide broader perspective: “Legacy is planned and unplanned, positive and negative, intangible and tangible structures created through sport event that remind after event”. Cashman (2005) identifies six fields of legacies: economics; infrastructure; information and education; public life, politics and culture; sport; symbol, memory and history. Legacies can be also confined as ‘soft’ (civic pride, community reunion, etc.) and ‘hard’ (e.g. steel and concrete infrastructure of new sport facilities). The assurance of ‘legacy’ along with the cost is the eye of organizing committees as a measurement of the Olympics credibility. Over last 20 years IOC developed social, economic, cultural and...