London 2012 Olympic Games legacy ‘non-existent’, says medalist Liz McColgan

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic medalist Liz McColgan has said she fears that a generation of aspiring athletes will see no benefit from any “legacy” from the London Games.

The former long-distance runner, from Dundee, directed her concern to politicians during an event in the Scottish Parliament.

She said little has changed since she was young.

“I still coach kids who are paying £3 to get into a track that has very bad lighting. I can’t see them in the winter time. There’s only one toilet. There’s no drinks available,” she pointed out.

“It’s quite sad that we’ve had so much success at the Olympics, and we’ve got 112 kids who all want to be like Mo Farah, and I can see that the cycle track that’s just 100m along across the park is exactly the same, the swimming clubs are exactly the same.

Were we prepared? No we weren’t.

We are probably going to let down a lot kids who are so enthused from the success that we had. Kids nowadays have got a great access to television. I didn’t have that in my day. They see it and they want it.

I feel the Government, the associations have let us down because we are not prepared to deal with all these kids that want to be the next Chris Hoy or Kat Grainger.”

Ms McColgan, who won silver in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and two golds in Commonwealth competitions, said it was lucky that the 2012 Games were a success.

Speaking as a panellist at the Festival of Politics in Holyrood, she said: “I believe there’s no legacy that I can see left in my neck of the woods. We’re left to our own devices.”

In a direct plea, she said: “I’ve sat on many, many panels like this and nothing happens. Everyone’s got great ideas but nothing happens. Why not just listen for once and take action?”

She was joined on the panel by former Scotland rugby player John Beattie who also complained about a lack of action to stimulate investment in sport for children.

He suggested private funding for state school sport, adding that he feels guilty about the high standards he enjoyed at private school.

“I don’t think it’s a Government thing alone. There’s a whole corporate world that should be getting into this because there’s no way you’re getting more money,” he said.

“The next step to make it work would be corporate money coming into the school system to sponsor leagues, to pay teachers extra.”

The panel also included sports journalist Alison Walker and Scottish Sports Association policy director Kim Atkinson, and was chaired by Labour MSP John Park.

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Stratford Olympic Legacy in Housing Gloom?

Olympic Village Proposal released by The Olympic Delivery Authority

When London secured the bid to host the Olympics a tad more than half a decade ago, estate agents who invested much time in marketing the East End, (foreseeing a future of high profit sales) as a result of the surging interest were bitterly disappointed when reports released by Hometrack (13 Mar 2012) confirmed that property in the area had depreciated in value despite the generous investments to build the Olympic stadium, the Village and surrounding contemporary homes.

An analysis of the relative performance of London’s housing markets shows that the area around the Olympic site has under-performed despite high expectations and new investment. There has been surprisingly little impact on house prices across the area.”  states Richard Donnell, Director of Research at Hometrack.

To date, the regeneration has cost more than half a billion pounds, whilst – mind you – the nation is still in debt, with a second recession reportedly to follow. The confidence of the young, wealthy professionals with a desire to migrate from the west to invest in more space and in favor of smaller mortgages has begun to waver with concerns about the interest and legacy of Stratford once the Olympics comes to an end. This essentially deters any potential buyer of property to part with their hard earned cash in this dire economy.

However, not all faith or sense of optimism is lost for the home sector of the market, as Yolande Barnes of Savills Residential Research explains: “I don’t think there has been an ‘Olympic boom’ in the Stratford property market. Transactions in the London Borough of Newham are running among the lowest in the country. It is difficult to discern any price rises above and beyond the background rises in London as a whole – the real legacy will start after the Olympics.

With plans to build a further 2,000 new homes in the area and with a beneficiary yet to take the stadium off our hands we are for now left to wonder whether the East will have earned its stripes, as the new West or recoil to a midway state, as just another once poorly reputed area of London that didn’t quite match the epitome of the Olympics.

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Plans to reveal yet another statue.

The Camden New Journal yesterday uncovered plans to erect a statue of Christ the Redeemer on Primrose Hill. The statue will be a tribute to the one overlooking Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate passing on the torch (pun begrudgingly intended) to Brazil for 2016.

The Brazilian government would fund the project, and a planning consultancy based in London has been employed by Brazil’s tourist agency to hold a public meeting to display the designs before applications for planning permission are submitted.

The Camden-based design company See Me, Hear Me, Feel Me did not want to discuss the plans, and the Brazilian government was unavailable for comment, but Primrose Hill Lib Dem councillor Chris Naylor said he wasn’t sure a 30ft statue of Christ with his arms outstretched was quite what the area needed.

Other statues to celebrate the Olympics have been erected around Britain, often to the displeasure of residents. The ‘Jurassic Stones’ statue, by Richard Harris, has been greeted with horror by residents of Weymouth, Dorset. The Stones’ £335,000 bill pales in comparison to the £19m spent on Anish Kapoor’s ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’, on site in Stratford.

 

Many people question why so much money is being spent on statues to celebrate the Olympics, and whether it is appropriate in the current economic climate. The term ‘Legacy’ has always been used to describe the impact of mega-events like the Games: urban development, social, economic and cultural changes are words often thrown around in relation to the Legacy. However, the term has been re-appropriated by critics of the Games and become somewhat of a joke. The Legacy that does seem to be taking shape is symbolised in the statues cropping up around the country – abstracted, distorted, and expensive.

The real Olympic Legacy will be towering debt.

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Westfield Stratford bottleneck forces reduction in Olympic day tickets

The new Westfield shopping centre at Stratford has already seen millions of people walk through its doors. As the only way to get in to the Olympic 2012 site those numbers are only likely to increase. Good for business, bad for sports fans.

In what seems like a rather large oversight in planning, it has recently been reported that crowd flow analysis at the centre has shown that the ‘Olympic gateway’ has already produced a potentially dangerous bottleneck. This is even before the Olympics has started. It’s only going to get worse.

For those sports fans that were unable to get tickets to the actual events, day or “Rover” tickets will be available. These tickets will allow general access to the Olympic park where events can be seen on large screens. Due to concerns over the bottleneck, the number of day tickets have now been reduced.

Controlling access to the Olympics in this way, forced “footfall”, obviously felt like a good business plan for Westfield and their Olympic friends and too good to miss, unlike the Olympics for all those without tickets.

Westfield wins Olympic Gold

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The true Olympic legacy: the debt starts here

The Olympic village has been sold to the property arm of Qatar’s Royal family at a loss of £275m.

In alliance with British developer Delancey Estates, the two companies will be responsible for just over half of the existing 2,818 homes and for the development of a further 2,000 units on new land.

The partnership “creates the first private-sector residential fund of more than 1,000 homes to be owned and directly managed as an investment.”

For more on this story click here

 

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Olympic legacy – a potential disaster?

Richard Caborn, the sports minister at the time London won the Olympic bid, will speak today raising his concerns over the potential failure of the Olympics’ sporting legacy.

In his keynote speech at the annual meeting of the Sports and Recreation Trust Association in Birmingham, Caborn will elaborate on his comments, quoted in the Guardian today, that there was a “danger of failing completely,” adding that there needed to be a “major change of direction in the strategy on this if the disastrous decline experienced by many of the sports is to be reversed.”

The latest quarterly figures from Sport England show that the target to increase the number of people playing sport three or more time a week by one million by 2013 is a long way off the mark with a more modest increase of just under 110 thousand from 2007-08.

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UK’s Olympic win could leave London tourism a major loser

The official agency behind promoting tourism for London has admitted that the 2012 Olympic Games could lead to a lull in visitors to the capital next year, which may have a damaging impact on the UK’s stuttering economic recovery.

London & Partners has acknowledged there “could be a problem” with people not wanting to come to London over fears, such as over-crowded transport, a lack of, or high prices for, hotel rooms, and the capital resembling a building site, from 1 January until the Olympics end on 27 August.

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New Olympic legacy website: London-Rio: Olympic Cities

Mega Event Cities

London-Rio: Olympic Cities

“Cities across the globe are using mega events to catalyse urban development and social, economic and cultural change. Here we present insights and analysis of these events, examining their impact upon city-building and exploring their contribution to the design and shaping of place.

Our research is policy focused and practical. Our approach is focused upon the social impacts and legacies of mega events. We use interdisciplinary analysis to discover new ways of comparing and thinking about the mega event city.

We are interested in receiving comments on the site and suggestions for relevant material or links to be placed on it. The site will be dedicated primarily to housing academic work on the social legacies of mega events, particularly those referring to London 2012 or Rio 2016. We would also welcome links to our site being placed in sites addressing similar themes.”

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Olympics could have negative effects on sports participation

After London was announced as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games, Labour made a number of promises about using the Olympics as a way of inspiring people to be more healthy and get involved with sport and exercise. They planned to get a million more people playing sport three or more times a week and to get a million more people doing more general physical activity. Whether it is actually possible for mega events such as the Olympics to have this kind of impact is something which has been contested by a number of studies.

The BMJ set out to find any study that had ever been conducted looking at the real-world health and socioeconomic impacts on places which have hosted major sporting events. From the 54 studies they found,  there seemed to be no evidence to support the idea that events like Olympics have a positive effect on health or socioeconomic outcomes.

One of the studies looked at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and found that sports participation fell after the games, and there became in an increased gap in participation between the rich and the poor areas of Manchester.

Another study in Manchester suggested problems arose because voluntary groups were being excluded from using Commonwealth branding and the new facilities built for the event tended to only benefit professional athletes rather than the general population.

The government now seems to be dropping any focus it had on its original plan to use the Olympics to get people involved with healthy activity and sport, probably having come to the realisation that they will never meet the large targets that they originally proposed. This goes to show that the government can make big claims when they are bidding to get these events but when it comes down to it, they don’t actually have to follow these claims through.

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LOCOG to ban cameras from the Olympics

Amateur Photographer has reported that the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is putting restrictions on the type of photographic equipment that the public will be allowed to bring to the Games, and are banning cameras from certain events altogether.

A photography enthusiast wrote to LOCOG asking if he would be allowed to bring his DSLR lens to the Stadium, and was told in an email that ‘LOCOG has yet to finalise the spectator filming and photography guidelines. As with other large sporting events there may be restrictions for spectators on the size of lenses permitted into venues.’

It is believed that certain kinds of equipment will be banned from the Games altogether, whilst no flash photography will be allowed at all in the public stands during certain events, such as shooting.

LOCOG is set to discuss its final photography guidelines at talks in the summer and in September. Once they have been finalised, the guidelines will be published on their website.

Read the full article here.

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