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Londoners feeling the 'slow burn' for 2012

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Adrian Warner | 23:39 UK time, Monday, 26 July 2010

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London 2012 chairman Lord Coe talked about the "slow burn" when Britain was bidding for the Olympics. He meant that people would take time to start loving the Games.

He was absolutely right. After years of scepticism during the campaign, we saw real public enthusiasm for the event when it came to the final week before the International Olympic Committee decision in July 2005.

And on the day London won, many people enjoyed the party.

A BBC London poll is showing the same kind of trend with two years to go before the opening ceremony.

I spend my days highlighting the challenges of the Olympics and the public is more aware now that the Games won't be easy for London.

But what is interesting is that our Ipsos Mori poll of 1,000 Londoners shows increasing support for the Olympics in the last four years from 69% to 73%.

In fact 30% of people are more positive about the Games than they were when London won the bid.

Many see transport as the biggest headache with more than half of the people thinking the city's transport system will not cope well with the hundreds of thousands of extra passengers every day.

But the most striking result for me is that, despite the £9.3 billion price tag and the Governments cuts we are living through, most people don't want to see less money being spend on the Games. In fact 13% want more cash thrown at the Olympics.

It's almost as though they want the Games to be special, treasured and protected from these days of austerity -- an Olympic oasis.

What do you think?


  • Comment number 1.

    Think that those who want more money to be spent on the Olympics should be identified and have THEIR taxes increased to cover it.

    The Olympics are a waste of money as only one city has benefited in the long term from hosting the event, all of the others are still paying. Those who pedal a different line have vested interests in getting the Olympics here for either financial or egotistical gain.

    Meanwhile the elderly will go uncared for; the ill will get no succor; minimu wage will fail to cover the cost of lviing; and the kids will be 40 to a class not being able to learn the rudimentary basics ... but hey at least we'll have had a nice little sporting event for 21 days in 2012.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think that the Olympics are a great idea for this city. The influx of business and housing will really help the east end of London.
    I do agree with quicksesh above in that there are a lot of other considerations when thinking about it, however the these can be handled if (and yes that's a big IF) this current alliance can handle it.

    As for the transport links in London, there is not even a chance that they will be able to handle it. Reports from TfL suggest massive station level cuts: Less ticket sellers to help these tourists to purchase tickets and fewer staff on the gatelines who will have to do both their own job and that of those who have gone.
    The reserve staff that TfL have will probably be all focused on Stratford and the surrounding area leaving the rest of London to shoulder the burden.
    The next few months should be interesting with likely strike action taking place more frequently, and over-worked staff feeling more and more unable to cope.

  • Comment number 3.

    I am really unhappy with having the Olympics in London. Despite their protestations to the contrary, there is no way that LT can create extra capacity on the tube system. Trains are already as full as cattle trucks at peak hours and the system simply doesn't permit more trains on a finite amount of track. The Olympics should have gone to the NEC in Birmingham where there is more space to create all of the right infrastructure.
    Londoners are already paying over the odds to stage games that most of them won't see. They are a national event and should be paid for by the nation as a whole.
    Personally I'm dreading it. I intend to take my holidays then and get as far from London as I can.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm deeply sceptical of this poll that claims to show the majority of Londoners are in favour of the games. Have you read the responses on the main HYS topic on the Olympics? Overwhelmingly negative.

    I don't think I've ever actually met anyone who thinks the Olympics are a good idea for London.

    It's very telling that the sampling strategy, the precise questions asked, and indeed all the other relevant methodological details of the poll have not been disclosed.

  • Comment number 5.

    The Olympic Games are without doubt the biggest sporting event on the globe.

    It would be naive for someone to reject the championships because of the financial impact it would have in the run-up to the games. Yes, I know everyone will have to take a hit and the transport network will almost burst at the seems (it is already!), but the impact post-games will be fantastic.

    The eyes of the world will be on London, therefore encouraging business to the area. The legacy the games leaves young people especially (but not exclusively), on an area that until now was run-down and inadequate.

    However, there are still a few concerns for me:
    1. The Ticketing - In my opinion, the majority of the tickets will go to the proclaimed 'prawn-sandwich bridage.' Normal, passionate sports fans that you see packing out the terraces every Saturday in the lower football leagues will be priced out of the market. We have virtually no chance to see Usain Bolt and co! They say 75% of the tickets will be below £50. So 74.9% of them will be £49!

    2. Temporary stadia and downsizing - What's the point of building an Olympic Stadium and then reducing the size by 50,000 seats! It's just a waste IMO. I also see some arenas will be demolished completely and possibly resurrected somewhere else. Aren't there enough arenas in London?

    However, in the current economic climate, the Olympics are the best gift London could have.

  • Comment number 6.

    there might be increased support in london for the games but thats cause they are getting all the benefit of the olympics for a cut price, money contributed by people in the north and from the midlands is paying for the games and they will see no benfit, especiallywith the scarcity and high price of tickets, why could we not have pushed for change in the olympics and spread it around more, athletics in london, cycling in birmingham swimming in manchester ect, make sure there is at least one event in every county. If the media would stop bethinking of its base in the south east and consider what effect the games are having elsewhere maybe we could have true articles on the effect of the olympics for the whole of the country and that would show of how much of a bad thing for the majoity of the country the olympics is even if it is a benefit for the minority in London

  • Comment number 7.

    Think it's going to be great.

    Many of the games detractors probably don't live in London and are in some little hovel reading their daily mail and getting angry about things they don't understand. Just enjoy it.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's really amazing the ignorance of the commenters who don't reside in London who say that only London should pay for it.

    Well, sonny jims, then perhaps you can all pay your own way each year till kingdom come. I'm sorry to inform you that London and the SE subsidises the rest of the country each year to the tune of many billions of pounds. So shut up please. Or go without from now on. You won't like it I can tell you............

    Mr Warner, will you clarify just what percentage of Olympic traffic is likely to be in the rush hour, based on projections of timetables?? It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of it was outside of peak hours, which is surely a boost to the transport system, not a hindrance??

    As far as money spent is concerned, I don't think teams going short is an excuse for spending an extra £50m on stadia. Participation is the Olympic mantra and its hard to participate without funding for the 2 years prior to the games. The top sports like rowing should get some commercial sponsorship, allowing a little bit of their big cake to be spent on sports which are still in a state of nurturing.

    What I do think is important is that, no matter what is done, it is done professionally, in a welcoming manner and one which puts into history the image of a bumbling idiotic British twit making a fool of themself on the world stage. There has been too much put into this for too long by too many people to allow that to happen.

    But if I were to list one priority in all this, it is the sustainable legacy after the games. This country should be proud enough to ensure that it has a seriously great capability to allow children to sample a number of sports, be guided to those where their natures, their physiques and their enthusiasms are best suited and when they find those niches to be able to access excellent coaching which nurtures and enhances rather than bullies and dictates.

    That sounds simple. It is, if you know what you are doing.

    Hopefully those put in charge of doing that WILL know what they are doing??

  • Comment number 9.

    I am getting fed up of the people who say we should cancel the games and hand them over to someone else (Paris seams popular!). Well thats not going to happen and even if we did then the UK can say goodbye to hosting any major sporting competition for a very long time as out reputation would be mud in the sporting world

    Week in week out sporting events are organised in this country yet there are complaints that we wont be able to cope. There is the expertise e.g. in stadium / event and crowd management - we just need to use it properly.

    I think some of the transport issues are over stated. Yes we often struggle to cope with current demands but experience from previous Olympics shows something like a 20% reduction in 'normal' traffic as the natives decide to change their travel patterns. Yes there are problems on the tube but day in day out it operates and people still get to where they need to be.

    Additionally London 2012 is being held in our school holidays which again causes a big drop in normal traffic levels at peak hours.

    The rest of the UK is participating in the games by hosting training camps etc and these towns / cities are investing in their facilities to help this - and these improvements will be LONG term so they will benefit from a games legacy too.

    I for one am glad that the UK and London in particular are hosting the 2012 games. They will be well organised and will be more appreciated afterwards than before.

    Why must we always do ourselves down?

  • Comment number 10.

    Good quality food at the 2012 Olympics. I would like to re open the discussion of food concessions for this 2012 Olympics. We must make this event the launch pad to improve 'event' food in this country. At the majority of events, especially sports events, the quality of food offered is at best terrible. It is wrong to allow and sell concessions to vendors who intend to provide substandard muck and present it as food, 'burgers' especially. This can only be seen as the organisers promoting cheating in sport, let alone the very poor quality of ingredients and at the bottom of the food chain the imported meats from poorly managed animals. Remarkably at some events there are providers of high quality food, but this is by far the minority. The guardians of the controls of this Olympics need to recognise the importance of this matter, or resign and let someone do a proper job.


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