London Olympics continue to contribute to Games’ economic legacy

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When the economy of several Olympic hosts in the 21st century continue to reel under the financial burden of organising the Games, the London Olympic Games 2012 even after six years continue to add to its economic legacy.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has applauded the efforts of UK Sport for making a positive impact with the legacy plans following London 2012 edition of Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over $170 million has been contributed to national treasury from the sports events organised after the London edition of the multi-sport quadrennial event.

Six years to the day when The Queen, James Bond, David Beckham and Mr. Bean took part in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, UK Sport has announced that more than $170.4 million (GBP 130 million) has been generated in the British capital by national lottery and taxpayer-funded events following the Olympic and Paralympic games, IOC has reported on its official website.

The figures also show that more than 1.3 million people attended 25 National Lottery-funded events in London. This number does not include the many uses and events held at 2012 legacy venues that were not directly supported by UK Sport or those held in other parts of the country, IOC has stated in its official release.

Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Olympic Games Executive Director, said, “We congratulate London and UK Sport on continuing to deliver an impactful Games legacy that is adding value to the city and its citizens six years on from hosting the Games. This is a great example of how the Olympic Games can transform lives and provide diverse long-term benefits for a city for years and decades to come.”

Esther Britten, who heads UK Sport’s Major Events team, said, “Every London 2012 venue has hosted world-class competition since the Games, while they have also been open to the general public, allowing people of all ages to use the same arenas as their inspirational Olympic and Paralympic heroes.”

The Olympic Stadium that saw Jessica Ennis win the heptathlon and Usain Bolt cemented his place in Olympic sprint history in 2012 hosted the 2017 IAAF World Championships, which created an economic impact for London of GBP 79 million alone.

The Olympic Stadium was not the only venue from 2012 to provide a major impact. Hyde Park, which saw Nicola Spirig and Lisa Norden cross the line neck and neck in 2012, hosted the 2013 Triathlon World Grand Final in 2013, which generated an impact of GBP 8 million.

The 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships saw a GBP 3 million economic benefit when they were held at the Lee Valley VeloPark, which is where Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy won his sixth gold medal – making him Britain’s most successful Olympian and joint holder of the most medals won by any British athlete at the Olympic Games.

The 2016 European Aquatics Championships had generated GBP 5 million at the London Aquatics Centre, in the same pool that saw Chad Le Clos win the 200m butterfly and show his continued progression since the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore two years prior, while Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte won gold in the 100m breaststroke at just 15 years of age.

The FIH Hockey World Cup, which is currently underway at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, has sold over 100,000 seats to fans travelling from all over the world and is expected to have a global TV audience of 1 billion. The venue saw the Dutch women and German men winning gold in London 2012.

Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Lyn Garner, added, “So much has changed at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the last six years. Since London 2012, homes have been built, thousands of jobs have been created and millions of people have visited the venues and events at the Park. And there’s even more to come; from world-class universities and museums to new schools and businesses.”

London 2012 has set an unprecedented benchmark in the history of the Modern Olympics Games, ever since 1896 in Athens, by transforming lives and providing diverse long-term benefits for a city for years and decades to come. The subsequent edition of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, however, failed to emulate the economic legacy success brought forth by the London 2012. The organisers of Rio Olympics, this year, have asked federal and municipal governments to help them pay back a deficit of 117 million reais (₹240 Crore) incurred in the hosting of the Olympics and the Paralympics.

The main venues of Rio 2016, including the aquatics centre, have failed to live with their legacy plans. The multi-million dollar properties are now lying abandoned in serious dilapidated conditions. Landmark projects such as a new metro line stopped miles short of the main Olympic Park, and much of the building for the games has come under investigation in a sweeping corruption probe.

Athens 2004 saw the worst aftermaths of organising the Olympic Games after the total costs incurred was attributed to the part cause of the Greek government debt crisis leading the country to a crippling economic state, the horrors of which are still faced by the country to date.

The legacy plans after Athens 2004 went haywire after many of the govt-led conversion schemes stalled owing to the debt crisis. The annual cost to maintain the sites has been estimated at £500 million, a sum which has been politically controversial in Greece. Many of the venues lie vacant, unused and rotting. Some of these facilities are now under the control of domestic sporting clubs and organizations or the private sector.