Almost two years to the day from the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games (27 July 2012), a new report from the British Government shows that the Olympic Games continue to provide significant legacies for the city of London – and Britain as a whole.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach commented, “Ensuring a positive legacy from the Olympic Games for a host city and country is very important for the IOC. This is why I am delighted to see that our British partners have succeeded in maximising the legacy of London 2012 across a number of different areas.”
He continued, “As an Olympian, I saw that London 2012 was a Games built around the athletes. As IOC President, I see that London and Britain have also understood that the Games can be a catalyst for positive long-term economic, social and sustainable legacies. These figures confirm that the Olympic Games can provide tangible benefits for a lot more than just 16 days of competition.”
The report on the successful legacies from London 2012 reveals that the British economy has seen a trade and industry boost in excess of £14 billion (USD 23.8 billion) following the Games – beating the four-year target of £11 billion (USD 18.7 billion) in half the time – with British businesses securing contract wins, additional sales and new foreign investment in the two years since the Games were held.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Part of our long-term economic plan is about promoting every part of our country to the world and Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games will give us another fantastic platform to do this. It follows on from London 2012, which was not just an amazing sporting event, but also a great opportunity to secure a lasting economic and sporting legacy for the whole UK.”
The report also highlighted many other Olympic legacies, including an increase in international visitors to Britain since the Games (up 6 per cent to 33 million in 2013) and the transformation of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
More than one million people have visited Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since it reopened to the public, while 2,800 homes have been created after the Athletes’ Village was converted into residential housing.
According to the report, more Britons are also playing sport than ever before, with 15.6 million people aged 16 and over taking part in sport at least once a week – 1.7 million more than in 2005 when London won the bid to host the Games.
London 2012 also created a strong volunteering legacy, with the ‘Join In’ initiative supporting 10,000 local events across the country in summer 2013, further demonstrating how hosting major sports events can bring about benefits to society.
Former London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe was impressed by the report’s findings.
“This report shows just how much is happening across the country to keep the spirit of London 2012 alive two years on from the Games,” he said. “The country has taken the inspirational performances of our athletes and the uplifting public spirit seen during those few weeks in 2012, and built on it, whether through community projects, volunteering, and new sporting facilities, or through new ways of working together and improved trade relationships.
“This report celebrates some of those achievements, but there are many more examples happening all across the country. I look forward to the next 12 months of this legacy journey.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “By common consent, London wowed the world when it staged the 2012 Olympic Games. Two years on from that golden summer we are accelerating the transformation of Stratford and beyond.
“Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now reopened and ambitious plans are in place to develop a constellation of educational, artistic, technology and cultural institutions on the site to strengthen our lead as a global force in these sectors and deliver tens of thousands of jobs. This is a living legacy that is reaping economic and social dividends not just here in London but across the UK.”
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