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Beyond 2012: The London Legacy Story

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In 2005, the UK’s bid team made a bold pledge: choose London and we will create an extraordinary legacy for the UK and the world.

Over the last seven years, the Government, Games organisers, public authorities and other partners have worked to make good on that promise. This is the story of the first ever ‘Legacy Games’, and of the many lives being transformed by it.

Core to the original bid, sport remains the heartbeat of the Games legacy. From grassroots to elite level, across schools, sports centres and community venues throughout the country, London 2012 has laid foundations that will help transform people’s relationship with sport, whatever their age, background or ability.

When we embarked on this challenge, the backdrop could hardly have been tougher. Sports participation rates in the UK had been stagnant for many years, aggravated by a decline in competitive sport within our schools, and by high post school drop-out rates which were particularly marked amongst girls.

On the eve of the Games, the sporting legacy is far from complete. But the foundations are now in place: from competitive sport reborn in our schools and major lottery reforms revitalising sporting infrastructure, to the best sporting events coming to Britain and elite funding secured to make sure our teams can compete for top honours.None of this would have happened without the inspirational opportunity of London 2012 and the renewed confidence it has given British sport to deliver what it promises. However, London 2012 is not the end of the story, but the start of a new chapter.

Over the next decade, we need to make sure the investment and enthusiasm unlocked by the Games translate into a clear legacy of more sport being played by more people of all ages and abilities for many years to come.



 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [  This ‘eve of the games’ document delivers a legacy story in an upbeat positive manner; almost the promises of the original 2005 bid book for the games, without the failures along the way…. those of the abandoning of the participation and sustainability legacies so central to the original bid and the ‘social inclusion’ ambition (connecting people with wider social structures) that was central to all government policy in 2005 under New Labour. As New Labour moved politically right in 2008 and were defeated in 2010 by what became the Coalition government the policy driver of ‘sport for social good’ regressed to a traditional conservative one of ‘sport as individualism’…. and the re-emergence of competitive sport in schools, anchored in the striving for national success in questionable ‘Olympic ideals’ ( amongst others......cheating, sexism, racism and corruption for many sport academics & commentators), pointed children toward the spectacle of the Olympic games and were excused by the excitement of London 2012.

Beset with conflicts and contradictions (girls PE drop off and 2012 research that suggests that girls are put off by (amongst other things) competitive sports at school for instance, reveal the principal and some would argue only legacy of a games, that of the reputation and undoubted skill of UK business in delivering a major construction and economic project that is any Olympic Games with the economic benefits that come with such skills of course.

The participation legacy (sports & physical activity at 1% increase year on year since 2005) failed miserably some time ago and was abandoned from both London 2012 rhetoric and action (Collins, 2012) and what is left of the national wider social legacy is arguably further undermined by PE and School sport policy under the Coalition government.

Ambitions in this document may well remain as just those hopes. 9.35bn pounds may have availed free access to all UK sports & leisure facilities in Local authorities for about 8 years; what impact to health and sports participation might that have had; we will never know. 

The pride and prestige of hosting a third Olympic Games for London cannot be under estimated, there is no question and the meta-analysis will reveal that the economic and regeneration impact will significantly affect British business in a positive way. The games provide a shop window for British construction (and delivery on cost and on time), security both private and nationally and possibly most importantly, the ability to deliver a promise in changing (and severe) circumstances given the World-wide economic crisis.

Regeneration in East London so long overdue, will and has attracted commercial investment, new facilities will increase performance sport as in Sheffield in 1992 (world student games) without which Jessica Ennis would not have been nurtured or indeed Tom Daley since Sheffield solidified the professional basis of Diving coaching; and indeed the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 which to a lesser extent than Sheffield perhaps attracted business, but the Velodrome and Sport City benefits performance sport in the form of Cycling, Squash and Manchester City Football Club particularly. There is no question that major events benefit those host areas in these ways. Glasgow in 2014 with the commonwealth games will, we suspect, benefit similarly, performance legacy takes time but new venues attract other events and businesses benefit.

We are supporters of major games, our critique of London 2012 is based on the following; not all of LOCOG’s making it has to be said;

  • LOCOG being incorporated as a private company and whilst posting website pages alluding to ‘Freedom of information’ were actually not and resisted such requests; despite spending over 9bn of public monies.
  • The 2005 bid book claim ‘A lasting sporting legacy’ centred around sport and physical activity participation were fanciful and were despite contrary evidence from Sydney 2000; academic inquiry would have revealed this as a non-starter since there is no robust evidence that mega events nor sporting role models significantly affect sport and physical activity participation. (evidence - or lack of it - for both of these are here on the website)
  • The performance nature of a Games focus on individual achievement; the potential of (non-competitive) sport to have a wider significant impact in society in communities has been side-lined when since 2002 it attracted government investment dealing with childhood obesity, marginalised youth, multicultural cohesion, equality of opportunity for women and engagement with education (to name but a few); sport as a social tool replaced by sport as a tool for individualism.

Prior to the awarding of the Games to London, Sport and physical activity was perceived by policy makers as a legitimate social structure to connect people in the UK with wider social structures; improved health; educational attainment; less juvenile crime; qualifications to enter the workplace; citizenship, volunteering and social capital. The Policies developed (Game Plan) were constructed by academics and practitioners that understood the potential of sport and physical activity to potentially combat inequalities in society. All this appears now lost. The Games, the new government and austerity appear to us at least, to have put us back so far when we know that properly delivered that sport can be a positive social instrument.]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


APA reference for this document


Reference :   LOCOG (2012). Beyond 2012: The London Legacy Story: London: DCMS


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Download this file (DCMS_Beyond_2012_Legacy_Story.pdf)DCMS_Beyond_2012_Legacy_Story.pdfLOCOG (2012). Beyond 2012: The London Legacy Story: London: DCMS.1
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:53  

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