Has Hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games Been Successful in Fulfilling The Olympic legacy? Has Hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games Been Successful in Fulfilling The Olympic legacy?
London was placed on the shortlist for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics host city back in May 2004. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) eventually announced that London had been successful in July 2005 following a large campaign backing the bid. The bid for the games was led by London 2012; ‘a multi-agency stakeholder group, setting the vision and strategic direction for the games’ (Department of Culture, Media and Sport 2012). 204 competing nations, more than 10,000 athletes, two weeks of sports, and the games were over. But was it a success? This is a topic of discussion largely argued. Team GB certainly outperformed anybody’s expectations winning 29 gold medal and 64 total medals, which made it the greatest British performance since 1904. A particularly striking quote from a report in the Melbourne Age describes the success as, “The only conclusion heading out of the stadium for the final time was that the most beautiful opening ceremony launched the best Olympics which were brought to a close by a smash hit epitaph” (Wilson 2012). However, not everyone sees the games as a success story and within this essay I shall be exploring not only the benefits, but also the negative impacts which hosting the Olympics brought to East London. The focal question, which this essay will answer, is whether the Olympics will leave a lasting legacy or will the benefits go elsewhere and not reach the local community. The assessment of the Olympic Legacy will be split into three separate sections; economic, sporting, and regeneration.
Stratford, East London was the location of the games. An area previously deprived following the close of one of the world’s largest docks back in the 1970s. Unemployment reached nearly 20% shortly after the close and the local community became ran down and forgotten, being described as ‘a dusty wasteland’ (Oliver 2012). The London 2012 games brought hope and potential to a region in desperate need. Now, following the games a number of costs and benefits can identified but the real questions are, what is the lasting effect? Has the Olympic 2012 promise of a lasting legacy been fulfilled? The Olympic Legacy is defined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2012) as “the longer-term benefits and effects of the planning, funding, building and staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in summer 2012”.
Firstly, we can look at the economic legacy of the games. The office for national statistics showed that during August 2012, tourism levels rose to 3 million, up from 2 million on the previous year. Of this, the games were said to bring in just over 590,000 visitors, whom of which spent an average of £1,290 during their stay (Telegraph staff & agencies 2012). The economic boost in terms of consumption during the games is clearly identifiable but the success of the legacy is still being valued. However Wells (2012) believes that “As a result of the city’s raised media exposure, the 2012-2017 legacy phase is expected to see an additional 1.1 million visitors a year, worth £900 million.” As well as tourism influx, we can look at the economic legacy in terms of infrastructure investment. An ‘Inspired Facilities Olympic Legacy Fund’ has been set up following the games, with an example of investment being £1.4 million into thirty sports centres around the East Midlands to rejuvenate and build facilities, such as a new clubhouse at Houghton Tennis Club, and waterfront development at Hykenham Sailing Club (Sport England 2012). This is not only an economic legacy through funding, but also contributes to the social legacy of the games through attempts to increase participation and encouragement in sports. The legacy benefits are therefore shown in increased tourism from the...
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