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Olympic legacy undeniable – but fat chance we’ll become sportaholics!

Olympic legacy undeniable – but fat chance we’ll become sportaholics!

26th July 2013

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 12.08.39The first Great Newham London Run marked the re-opening of the Olympic Stadium a year after the Games.

Last week we were told that the London Games paid for themselves in a report published by the government and Mayor of London called ‘Inspired by 2012: the legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London2012InspiredLogoThis report describes the activities since the Games to build a lasting legacy across several commitments, including sport and healthy living, the regeneration of east London, bringing communities together, the Paralympic legacy and economic growth.

In addition, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published an independent meta-evaluation of the impact of the Games, and UKTI has published a report on the delivery of the economic legacy. These forecasts that the Games will generate £13 billion for the UK economy over four years.

Inspired by 2012 includes a foreword by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, an assessment of progress and next steps by Lord Sebastian Coe, the Prime Minister’s Olympic & Paralympic Legacy Ambassador, and a comment from Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, who said:

“The London 2012 Games have definitively catalyzed development and improvements, both tangible and intangible, which would otherwise have taken decades to achieve. There is no doubt that the citizens of London and Great Britain will benefit from the Games for a long time to come.”

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 12.23.27Furthermore, a PR Week OnePoll survey found that sponsors of London 2012 are still widely recognised 12 months on from those heady few weeks last year and a huge majority agree that the UK, London and British sport have enjoyed a sustained reputation boost.

But London sold itself as a Games host to the Olympic Movement on the long-term impact on communities and sporting participation. On these aspects, the poll made for a much more sober reading – with 55% of respondents not trusting the Government to ensure a lasting legacy from London 2012. This compared with 43% a week before the Games and 30% in August 2012.

Only 32% believed the Olympics would have a long-term impact on encouraging participation in sport, against 48% immediately after the Games.

Legacy has a 10-year horizon – and I am already confident that our Olympic legacy at Zaun in business is undeniable.

But on the participation in sport and ensuing health benefits, it is still very early days to gauge success. The cynic in me fears we are doomed to fail this measure. And the proliferation of stories on the UK’s obesity epidemic, like this one from The Telegraph earlier this month, do little to convince me otherwise!