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London Anniversary Games: Peter returns to the Park

Thursday 25 July 2013, 15:56

 BBC Radio 5 live BBC Radio 5 live

Peter Allen London 2012

Peter Allen remembers his London 2012 experience, as he prepares to return to the Olympic Park for the Anniversary Games.

This time last year I entered the Olympic Park with the attitude of an old hack (or an experienced journalist if you wish to be more polite), a world weary cynicism at all the hyperbole with which the station greeted the Games, added to an expectation that things would inevitably go wrong.

Within a few days that cynicism had largely evaporated. The Games were simply superb. The facilities were all excellent, the organisation immaculate and perhaps most impressive were the thousands of Games Makers who happily volunteered to make sure that any problem was simply swept away on a tide of goodwill. And we won a few medals too.

The opening and closing ceremonies simply underlined the fact that Britain had thrown a magnificent international party. I stopped worrying too much about the cost and about the long term questions of legacy. The Games were great, the public loved them, the athletes loved them and Britain had looked its best. Job done.

London 2012 Games Makers

But a year on is a good moment to address those long term questions. For the first time since the Games the park is back in action, with the stadium which will have to be converted for football hosting an athletics meeting this weekend. The big names of athletics will be back to relive their glory.

So it's a good time not just to talk to some of the sportsmen and women but to try to assess what the Games have done for the country and for the area around the Olympic park.

I will be speaking among others to Etienne Stott, who along with Tim Baillie won gold in the canoe slalom down that wild white water ride in Lee valley. I remember being there to watch that victory, speaking to Etienne, and then switching commentary to the clay pigeon shooting where my old friend Rob Nothman described another gold medal win by Peter Wilson. It was that afternoon that the trickle of gold became a flood for Great Britain.

I remember of course the velodrome and the cauldron of noise which greeted British triumph there and I remember my amazement that dressage, like clay pigeon shooting, could actually provide riveting radio. So a mixture of the best memories and a debate about the legacy of the Games.

Peter Allen returns to the Olympic Park for Drive 4pm Friday 25 July for the London Anniversary Games. Find out more about this Sony Award winning programme and how you can listen here.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Great memories Peter...and they will be with all of us for a long time!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Errrrr no...............They will be with SOME of you. I didn't watch a minute of the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Peter Allen has spent the whole afternoon talking to people who have massive vested interests in saying the legacy lives on. Like their job depends on it. Get real and get some balance. I bet if you asked any kid in our local primary school to name an English medal winning athlete from the Olympics they couldn't. There is no legacy .... except the unremitting propaganda.

    Oh and I see nothing has changed --- all the athletes are injured again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    zelda and Jackstumps, you two misery guts. It was fantastic, shame you missed it all. (Bet you didn't) I boycotted the Beijing Games entirely, didn't watch one second of any of it, yet couldn't avoid reports here and there on the news or in the papers.
    The Spectator calls 5 Live Radio Halfwit in this week's edition, but as far as last year's coverage of London 2012 is concerned, they were part of the best BBC coverage I have ever heard of any extended event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    lol...It's not the first time I have been called misery guts carrie! I am glad you enjoyed the Olympics and that is great but I really hate the media's assumption that the whole country was enraptured over the games. They weren't. I knew a few people who thoroughly enjoyed it but I also know others like myself who didn't bother with any of it. Sport is so hyped up in this country, you must be involved, you must like it, if you don't you're a misery guts!


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