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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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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Financial Times Reveals Welfare-to-Work Programme Chaos


The Welfare-to-Work Programme has been described as “set to fail” by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham – the host borough for the 2012 London Olympics. In a fortnight, the winners of contracts are due to be announced, putting the unemployed and people on disability benefits back to work. However, Sir Robin believes that there is “a serious risk that some of the best prime providers may walk away”. Out of 11 bidders for the East and South London contract, 3 will be appointed in order to provide competition. Sir Robin said that he is yet to be convinced that ‘three prime contractors each delivering across 17 boroughs will do anything other than lead to confusion amongst job seekers and contractors’.

The rules the work programme has in place could themselves prevent people from taking one of the 100,000 jobs that the Olympics are meant to create. This is because providers will be paid the majority of their fee once they have managed to provide individuals with sustained work for a period of up to 2 years. However, given the short-term nature of most of the Olympic jobs on offer, the possibility of people taking jobs, becoming unemployed again and having to re-start the work programme a year later may prove discouraging.

Sir Robin believes that the government needs to ‘ensure that working in an Olympic job does not disadvantage the indivdual’ to avoid losing out on ‘the single greatest opportunity in Newham’s history to get our residents into work’.

To see the full article click Olympic jobless drive heads for ‘Chaos’

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50,000 promised Olympic Jobs becomes 70,000 unpaid McVolunteers

No Jobs only McVolunteers

No Jobs only McVolunteers

Countless employers are now facing the problem of dealing with twenty three working days without key employees come 2012.  The deadline to volunteer for the Olympics is the 27th of October, 2010. The London 2012 Olympics Organising Committee (LOCOG) have stated that 70,000 voluntary positions need to be filled, but more than 100,000  people have already applied. The voluntary roles consist of general and specialised positions, from desk staff, events stewards and drivers. Volunteers must work for a minimum of 10 days for the Games, and 20 for the Paralympic Games. Training is also mandatory for all participants.

There are also a further 8000 positions to be filled for the role of “London Ambassadors”, which would involve helping the vastly overstated and questionable increase of tourists and visitors in 2012 find their way around the city.

For more information visit.

These voluntary positions have been the source of much controversy. Back in 2007 London’s Employment and Skills Taskforce and the London Development Agency (LDA) were talking of the Olympics creating up to 50,000 new jobs in the Lower Lea Valley. Dee Doocey, chair of the Committee for Economic Development, Culture, Sport, and Tourism, the leading committee on the London Assembly for scrutinising the Olympics, commented on the announcement of a new ‘Living Wage’ for London of £7.20 an hour:

“The Mayor and Seb Coe signed an ‘Ethical contract’ with London Citizens before winning the Olympics, promising a Living Wage for everyone involved. Yet to date, no Living Wage has been included in the contracts allocated and Seb Coe told the London Assembly that ‘any of the issues about a living wage is a consideration, not a condition’. This is of great concern because LOCOG will be letting contracts for all the traditionally low paid jobs such as catering and cleaning. As for local businesses exploiting the games, as Coe had suggested, it is more likely that existing businesses will be endangered.”

The “workers” will be given Macdonalds meals and bus travel for the day, but are not even allowed free tickets for the events. To read more on this click here, here, and here.

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ETOA claims Olympics are bad for tourism

The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) has warned that the 2012 Olympic games would be harmful to Britain’s tourism industry. The ETOA has published research from cities who previously hosted the Olympic Games, which shows it has a “profoundly disruptive” effect on local tourism. They describe the official estimates for the number of visitors as “exaggerated”. The association warned: “Normal tourist businesses suffer during the Games period . . . The region around the Games can suffer more than the host city . . . The impression that everything will be overcrowded and overpriced blights a region . . . [and] these difficulties are exacerbated by exaggerated claims of the benefits derived from the Games.”

Meanwhile Boris Johnson is drumming up a further 8000 voluntary positions for the role of “London Ambassadors”, which would involve helping the vast increase of tourists and visitors in 2012 to find their way around the city. So no paid tourism jobs there.

They can perhaps help shepherd the 70,000 unpaid volunteers in McDonald’s regalia.

Job anyone?

For more information click here

For more information on 2012 controversy click here

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‘Refusing to Accept One’s Place’ is a discussion event held by This Is Not a Gateway exploring urban poverty and social exclusion.

Among the speakers will be Mark Saunders who will be talking on Poverty as a Media Event and Olympic Social Cleansing, based on Spectacle’s ongoing Poverty and the Media and London Olympics 2012 projects.



FRIDAY 07 MAY 2010, 6:30PM

TATE BRITAIN {Turner’s Italian Odyessy T7}

* The salon is free but registration is necessary: *

As part of European Alternative’s Transeuropa Festival and Tate Britain’s Late at Tate event East is East, This Is Not A Gateway are organising a salon ‘Resistance and Spatial Reformers: Refusing To Accept One’s Place’.

The EA Festival is tackling the European Commission‘s 2010 theme ‘Poverty & Social Exclusion’- their specific interest is exploring the return of slums to European cities. Tate Britain‘s Cross Cultural Contemporary Art Team are looking at contested spaces and notions of London’s East End for their event ‘East is East’. TINAG’s interest in both these areas is the potential to explore the psycho/social idea of ‘refusing to accept one’s place’.

The salon will explore how notions of poverty are constructed, the return of slums in Europe, understandings of democracy, the links between land ownership and social exclusion and the psycho/social condition of Refusing To Accept One’s Place that may have motivated social and spatial reformers – past & present.


.       Ruhana Ali, Community Organising Foundation

.       David Rosenberg, teacher and guide of radical history walks in East London

.       Andrea Luka Zimmerman & Lasse Johansson, Fugitive Images

.       Kevin Cahill, investigative journalist and author of ‘Who Own’s Britain’

.       Oliver Ressler, artist and filmmaker

.       Andrea Gibbons, Right to the City, JustSpace and PM Press.

.       Mark Saunders, Spectacle Documentaries

.       Paul Trevor, photographer ‘Eastender Archive’

* Salons are free and there are always beer and bagels *

Information on previous salons (press releases and post-salon essays) can be found here.

This Is Not A Gateway hold a year long series of salon discussions focused on urban citizenship and cross-cultural exchanges with speakers from a range of fields and backgrounds. The salons are integral to developing a participant-led programme – a testing ground to see what questions and work are being produced in and on cities, and what formats might be possible.