A Positive Olympic Legacy: Fantasy or Achievable?
On Sunday August 12 the 30th Olympiad in London came to a close. As the host nation both Team GB and LOCOG (the organizing committee) can be well pleased. The Games have been superb; the use of iconic London landscapes and landmarks inspired: Horse Guards for beach volleyball, The Mall with Buckingham Palace as the backdrop for the long distance walking and running, Hyde Park for the triathlon and open water swims and Greenwich Park for the equestrian events all contributed to a vision of London as a City that is beautiful, picturesque and above all, reachable.
What’s the legacy?
However, the concept of the games was sold to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seven years ago on the promise of its legacy. Michael Johnson, commentator for the BBC and a gold medalist himself, when asked what legacy was left from the Atlanta games, said that the focus there had been on breaking even, and that London had been the first venue to actually have a vision for its legacy.
After spending £9.3 billion of taxpayers’ money, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is expecting that the aftermath of the Olympics will generate £13.5 billion of extra revenue for the country, but it is difficult to see where this will come from. Part of this vision entails the Government spending £125m on Britain's biggest tourist campaign to date targeting 14 of the world's great cities with the aim of bringing an additional 4.6 million visitors to the UK and creating 70,000 jobs, but this certainly won’t generate that extra £13.5 Billion of revenues.
According to research into the past 10 Olympics by Citibank, the major economic benefits of holding the Games are realized before they begin, largely due to the massive spending on infrastructure such as building sporting venues. Would this have been better spent on railways and roads which would bring a much longer lasting benefit to the nation?Continued on the next page