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Coe's London legacy challenge

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Mihir Bose | 17:55 UK time, Wednesday, 20 August 2008

When London stages the Games in 2012, organising chairman Lord Sebastian Coe faces a very different challenge to those he faced on the track.

During a tour of Beijing's Olympic venues, I asked whether it compared to the 1980 Moscow Olympics when, having lost in his favourite distance of 800m to his great rival Steve Ovett, he then went on to win in Ovett's favourite distance of 1500m.

Coe's reaction was a barely disguised smile.

But I suspect it attempted to hide the fact that he considers this the greater challenge, although as the fascinating story of London's successful bid for 2012 shows, Coe has been very adept at reinventing himself for new challenges and proving his detractors wrong.

Back in October 2002 when the government was being very reluctantly pushed into bidding for the Olympics by the British Olympic Association, Coe was not even being considered as bid leader.

Eventually when Tessa Jowell, then minister for culture media and sport persuaded prime minister Tony Blair and a very lukewarm chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown, the bid leader chosen was the American businesswoman, Barbara Cassani.

Coe came in as part-time deputy leader. He only became leader in May 2004 after Cassani had left and London had been adjudged by the IOC to be a poor third to Paris and Madrid in their initial assessment of the cities bidding for 2012.

Even then to become leader it required Richard Caborn, the then sports minister to persuade his mentor and deputy prime minister John Prescott, and also for Craig Reedie - Britain's IOC member - to be convinced Coe was the right choice.

During the bid Coe rediscovered his roots, which played a crucial part in London winning.

Coe's mother was of Indian origin but Coe had never visited India. He was invited by India to run for them in the 1988 Seoul Olympics when Britain refused to choose him. But Coe declined.

But during the London bid Coe visited his mother's country for the first time.

Soon he had built up a successful coalition of the entire Commonwealth - and not just the old white one that had often in the past been the domain of previous British sports administrators.

This coalition was crucial to London's success in Singapore.

Before that it used to be said in a contest between London and Paris, Paris would always win because the French always made sure their old colonies voted for them.

Coe showed the same could be said of the old British colonies, of whatever colour, and it demonstrated Coe's political touch and his ability to use it to win a sporting contest.

Similar political skills will be needed if Coe it to make sure London 2012 is not eclipsed by Beijing 2008.

Coe is well aware that the two Games will be different. For a start London will spend a lot less. Its budget of £9.3bn is well under half that of Beijing's £22.6bn.

Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, has told me there is no more money. If any part of the programme needs more money then there will have to be cutbacks elsewhere.

It is interesting to observe how Coe reacts when asked about the challenges posed by Beijing.

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His response is that the Beijing Games marks a zenith in terms of grandeur and scale.

Of course this means London will be different but he insists it will not be in any way inferior.

The word here is that London will do it its own way, with a touch of British funkiness.

That British ability to surprise people by being different will make up for the fact that stadia will not be iconic. There will be nothing like the Bird's Nest in Stratford, where the venues will be smaller and the whole thing much more functional than here in Beijing.

Coe sees legacy as London's trump card, building not just for the 17 days in July-August 2012 but creating venues that will become an essential part of the local community. Coe can be eloquent on legacy and how it is an intrinsic part of London 2012.

The problem for Coe and 2012 is legacy is still very much a work in progress. London needs to move quickly to make sure structures are in place, so that come August 2012 the Games can move into legacy mode.

Sydney stands out as a missed opportunity.

Although the 2000 Games was a huge success, it made no plans for legacy and it is only now eight years later that legacy use is coming together.

London does not have that time. From Sunday evening it will be the Olympic city, the rush to get ready for 2012 will begin. There will be Olympic pressure, media pressure and many in London who have no experience of the Olympics will not know what has hit them.

Coe knows all about the Olympics but having said legacy is his trump card, and that this will set London apart from other Games, he needs to make sure he plays the card well and soon. Otherwise the extravagance and grandeur of Beijing will still end the winner.

Comments

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  • 1. At 7:35pm on 20 Aug 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Hi Mihir:

    Thanks for your excellent blog! I think that there is a legacy challenge.

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  • 2. At 7:50pm on 20 Aug 2008, kingkippax wrote:

    It all very well Lord Coe et al going on about a legacy for the future but he has never explained just who will benefit in the future; no one except those in the south east!! so much for a legacy and more to the point Thames gateway.

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  • 3. At 8:04pm on 20 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    Coe is a Tory. He talks like a Tory, he thinks like a Tory, he behaves like a Tory. As a Tory, his prime concern is profit - money for nothing. The benefactors of the London Olympics will be the contractors, land-owners and the sponsors. The only experience for British people will be to have sticky fingers dipped in their wage packets over the next four years, via various taxation.

    The legacy of the Olympics will be a few venues whose owners will get richer, and land and property owners who will get richer. The Tory way.

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  • 4. At 8:06pm on 20 Aug 2008, matti76 wrote:

    It would be a good 'theme' for London 2012 to follow. Knowing they could never hope to rival the indulgence of Beijing, go instead for a fashionably austere (though not shabby) games with emphasis placed on the long-term benefits for the population.

    No Bird's Nest, but a thousand more swimming pools and cycle tracks with cheap access to, and good coaching in, all of them.

    However, do I trust Tory Z-lister Coe (or any politician) to sacrifice the champagne receptions and standing ovations in order to deliver an authentic 'legacy' Olympics?

    Have a guess.

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  • 5. At 8:34pm on 20 Aug 2008, The Lone Rangel wrote:

    You also neglected to mention Lord Coe's other main attribute levdavidovich. He is a winner. I know that's a scary concept to the "competition is evil" types that so unfortunately infest Government these days, but they're just going to have to live with it.

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  • 6. At 8:38pm on 20 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    I dont get what Seb Coe meant by saying "legacy" as his trump card for London 2012. If he is implying that the Beijing Games misses out on "legacy" then he couldnt be more wrong. The Bird Nest stadium is the new national stadium of China, the magnificent water cube and practically everything else sport facility wise in Beijing thanks to the Olympics will be training and show piece for future generation of Chinese athletes. Also because of the Olympics a new modern cosmopolitan city was built and people of Beijing get a taste of fresh air.
    London 2012 will be poorer for the Games, lets hope China will bid to host the Games again in the very near future.

    Shanghai Olympics 2020 here we go!

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  • 7. At 9:01pm on 20 Aug 2008, paulm42 wrote:

    Why is the London's Olympics costing 3 times that in Sydney?

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  • 8. At 9:14pm on 20 Aug 2008, Princess Anne wrote:

    Has sir coe kyphosis or is that just his idea for 2012?

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  • 9. At 9:22pm on 20 Aug 2008, badgercourage wrote:

    The "legacy" will be small and more than offset by the immoral and short-sighted selling off of school playing fields (to build PFI replacements or finance new buildings) and the closing of municipal swimming pools (to meet short term local authority budget problems or obsession with shiny new "leisure centres"). It's happening NOW (see a certain satirical magazine every fortnight) and the politicians are doing nothing to stop it.

    The media, yourselves included, give the government a very soft ride on this.

    Where will the young Olympians of the future get their start, before they are picked up and given access to elite facilities?

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  • 10. At 9:34pm on 20 Aug 2008, asromacalcio wrote:

    Citius Altius Fortius - Faster, higher, stronger

    How can we achieve this if we want to run a no-frills Olympics?

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  • 11. At 9:47pm on 20 Aug 2008, quiethighflyer wrote:

    At paulm42 #7

    Its costing 3 times as much because:

    A) Sydneys stadiums/infrastructure for the Games were constructed almost a decade ago, and prices for materials, labour etc have risen since.

    B) Alot of the money we are spending for 2012 is going on redeveloping a huge area of wasteland that will become the Olympic Park, and that needs clearing and decontaminating, then regenerating into a new community and the largest urban park created in Europe in the last century.

    C) And other costs like the East London Line, Tube and rail improvements

    Its well worth the investment, I just hope the stadiums and venues build and material quality are not compromised in a Daily Mail/Evening Standard lead media campaign complaining about the cost. This will last generations!! Think about the bigger picture, not just the cost!!

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  • 12. At 9:53pm on 20 Aug 2008, harbinger_of_truth wrote:

    Dont know if you or Lord Coe have been watching the games but you dont get gold medals for the buildings,cost or opening ceremony. We dont have to live in the shadow of Beijing.
    The games are about athletes so maybe we should invest more money in them and less in bricks and fireworks!
    How about a green challange, Can we use the olympic flame to heat water or buildings or both ?...................... Burning gas for 16 days for no actual benefit is a bit of a waste of gas,money and the enviroment.

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  • 13. At 10:02pm on 20 Aug 2008, badgercourage wrote:

    #11

    You have forgotten the ridiculous "security" costs - at least £600 million, probably £1 bn or more.

    "Security" is the biggest growth industry in the western world - there has always been money in frightening people. And the overstretched Police are going to get paid a fortune in overtime.

    I hope you think this is "well worth the investment".

    Actually, this should not be part of the Olympics budget: we should send the bill to the USA as part of the cost of the Iraq war or get the oil companies to pay for it - they have made billions from $125 a barrel oil following the "war on terror"!

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  • 14. At 10:04pm on 20 Aug 2008, asromacalcio wrote:

    There's a lot to be said for not wasting money on fireworks, but the world will be watching, if we cut too many corners, it might end up looking like an economy class flight. Getting from A to B is the main thing, but billions of people will put their attention on the way we get there.

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  • 15. At 10:08pm on 20 Aug 2008, tarquin wrote:

    #7 - london is 3 times more expensive than sydney anyway, Oz is quite cheap to us - that and a decade of rising costs/inflation - it's not bad if it stays at that cost - if it stays under 10bil it should be celebrated

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  • 16. At 10:13pm on 20 Aug 2008, Jordan D wrote:

    The legacy stadium is a joke. 25000 is a nothing stadium for a legacy. With a stadium that size, it is too small to be used to host major international track events (such as the World Champs) or to be used for major events which use the field. It is not possible to be used by any Premier or Championship level Rugby or Football Club. It is probably too large for any lower league club from either sport.

    So what use is there for a 25,000 stadium other than an occasional Grand Prix fixture?

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  • 17. At 10:16pm on 20 Aug 2008, Ryan86 wrote:

    In response to one of the earlier posts, I'm sure I read that Boris Johnson had cut the champagne budget in Beijing for the London bid by £1m, possibly making up for the similiar we spent on the hideous logo. A small drop in a very large ocean, but it's also a step in the right direction.

    We don't need to impress the world in the same way I believe China, so let's have a solid Olympics with no concerns on whether it will be completed on time etc, that we will all be proud of and will enjoy.

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  • 18. At 10:23pm on 20 Aug 2008, akaBasil wrote:

    I think the construction of the olympic venues is a good thing and certainly better than some of the other things the government seems to be wasting our money on.

    Considering China's wealth compared to our I don't think any one would be expecting us to spend the same levels of cash on the Olympics.

    Maybe we could achieve more for less by putting a little greater thought behind what we are trying achieve instead of just throwing money at the problems.

    Also it would be a tremendous shame if the venus were to be privately owned at the end. They should be held by UK sport for training future athletes and attracting more children into the sport.

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  • 19. At 10:28pm on 20 Aug 2008, asromacalcio wrote:

    25,000 seater Olympic stadium. I find this impossible to believe, surely not.

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  • 20. At 10:34pm on 20 Aug 2008, asromacalcio wrote:

    It seems like common-sense to create an Olympic infrastructure that will serve for generations to come, but the rest of the world won't be looking at that (even if they could stand to learn from it later on). I accept that there's no sense in splashing the cash for things to be used only once, but if the Olympics is the greatest show on Earth, we have to make sure we don't become the entertainment ourselves.

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  • 21. At 10:58pm on 20 Aug 2008, Canadiancharles wrote:

    Thank god, Britain has decided not to try and continue this ridiculous 'one-upmanship'
    that is done solely for the purpose and aggrandisement of political and IOC leaders.
    The games should return to being what they were intended to be, an internaional sport competition and not a Hollywood extravaganza.
    One note on your moderation panel. Why on earth did they pass for posting the one that was nothing more than a political rant against the Tories by an obviously fanatical Labour supporter.
    There's a place for that rhetoric but it's certainly not here

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  • 22. At 11:13pm on 20 Aug 2008, JoDan wrote:

    London will not and cannot try to match Beijing. I have seen the most amazing buildings here and this is as good as it gets in terms of pool, tennis, hockey and all stadia.

    Sadly any hope of London sticking to a 9.3 biliion budget will never happen. Originally it was 2.4 billion and now 9.3 billion. Athens went from 4 billion to 8 billion and end up costing over 15 billion.

    Athens is paying for the olympics until 2027. China has the funds, London does not. With a recession and economic downturn people want money spent elsewhere.

    To be a great games will cost in excess of 15 billion and this is money that wll have to be found or no games will take place.

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  • 23. At 11:19pm on 20 Aug 2008, 1963Tiger wrote:

    We won't try to top Beijing - Coe

    Hmmm, probably 'cos we couldn't if we tried. We'll waste a ton of money and have a legacy under which to bury Lord Coe

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  • 24. At 11:20pm on 20 Aug 2008, Hemmers wrote:

    What a hypocrite. Here Coe is, blathering on about sustainability and legacy when all the while the shooting venues will be built, used and then torn down after the games. Meanwhile, Bisley could provide an alternative venue that just needs doing up - a project that would cost less than half the projected spend on the Woolwich Barracks facility - AND would leave a solid legacy.

    So much for "low cost" and "legacy", when LOCOG consider it acceptable to spend more money and provde a lesser legacy.

    I know about the shooting venues because I shoot. I wonder what other sports are getting less than ideal treatment at the hands of these half-wits?

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  • 25. At 11:59pm on 20 Aug 2008, Rob Olivier wrote:

    The legacy will be two fold as I see it

    1) Redevelopment of the East London Lea Valley Brown field to sports fields, with community housing, parkscape and non white elephant sports facilities left behind.

    A London Velodrone, 25,000 Althetics Stadium, Aquatics facilities.

    2) Althetics legacy; bringing on a new crop of athletes in depth across all discipines, hopefully 600 for London rather than 350 for Bejing. Perhaps also a clean air, green, no algae and olympics fostering high standards of human rights.

    London has many of its venues essentially built with only interior convertion projects needed

    a) The Dome for Gymnastics - Biggest Dome in the World Giving it a future direction. 20,000 twin teir seater. Built and fitted.
    b) ExCel Centre for Martial Arts from exhibition/conference space - Europes biggest spanned building. Built. 30,000+ seats over 4 halls. 32,250 m²
    c) Lords/MCC for Archery with the lovely Mound stand. 30,000 Capacity.
    d) Portland Habour - World class and protected sailing arena. No weed.
    e) Wembley Stadium .Purpose Built. 90,000.The most modern soccer stadium in Europe, largest covered seated soccer stadium in the World.
    f) Wimbledon - The world's best tennis facilities
    g) Eton Rowing Lake - Built - Already a world class venue

    Why build wow; when you have wow; with just a conversion and Olympic pedigree needed for purpose use!

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  • 26. At 11:59pm on 20 Aug 2008, Grisedale wrote:

    When you compare £9.5 billion with £22.5 billion, you have to remember a fundamental difference. The second is what Beijing may have actually spent; the first is what is in the budget for London. Various government ministers waffle on about no more money. But as the costs grow and grow — as they will — when the crunch comes as 2012 gets ever nearer the bill will have to be paid whatever it is. I think the cost will only stay at £9.5 billion if they fiddle the figures. I was opposed to this ridiculous bid — they even spent £35 million just to ask for permission to spend this awesome amount of money. I am all in favour of spending money to help our athletes to perform at the highest level in the way that everyone in the British team has done in Beijing. Brilliant performance. But let someone else indulge in the Olympian folly of providing the venue. We are going to do it on the cheap [cheap?] with a bit of British funkiness. Whatever that means, I am sure that it will pay a lot of bills. No other country has successfully re-used their Olympic venues and neither will London. Athens got £7 billion worth of trams and with luck, we may just do the same.

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  • 27. At 11:59pm on 20 Aug 2008, redtimbo wrote:

    A whole lot of trouble would have been saved if the stadium was to be downsized to 40,000 and then sold to West Ham FC. That way, it would be guaranteed to be used every week rather than the once a year filling of this 25,000 athletics venue.

    The Commenwealth Games was a success because the stadium was not wasted on the one event.

    I understand the need for a pool facility in London though.

    Crystal Palace hosts the British Athletics Championships I think but is never filled to capacity. I think Coe is brilliant but he is dreaming an unrealistic dream that his beloved athletics will become as big as football in terms of attendances.

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  • 28. At 00:05am on 21 Aug 2008, Greg wrote:

    I think the legacy card is all very well and will only interest the local communities in which these venues will reside but what will the Olympics Games in London 2012 represent at an international level? What sort of impressions and memories do we went the event to be etched on the minds of the participants, spectators and viewers?

    I think the plan to cut the capacity of the main stadium to a quarter of it's size after the games is a ridiculous idea and not ecologically sound either, particularly as there is a massive public transport infrastructure being put into place. Considering how bad the public transport infrastructure and access is at Wembley and Twickenham, surely it would make more sense to transfer some of these events, especially the outdoor concerts and shows to the new stadium? It will be a better environment, away from residential built-up areas.

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  • 29. At 00:09am on 21 Aug 2008, dreaded_eddie wrote:

    ""Coe is well aware that the two Games will be different. For a start London will spend a lot less. Its budget of £9.3bn is well under half that of Beijing's £22.6bn.""

    And actually still about 5 times more expensive than coe said it would be. He has no idea about economics.

    Consider the fiasco of the Logo for London's games? Just this alone cost £400,000 - andf has the styling of a crazed broken window.

    Coe may know about the Olympics but his ineptitude will be remembered for a longtime

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  • 30. At 00:11am on 21 Aug 2008, happytravelling wrote:

    A cursory look at some of the comments shows what a precarious venture this is in the UK. When Aus, China etc. got the Olympics it was a point of national pride. Here it become an instant tabloid extravaganza. Who's paying, why, who will benefit, I bet it will fail....
    It is right to question every penny that is spent but to do so and be negative from the outset will ensure its failure.
    1. It may cost the UK taxpayer money but it will also bring in money in taxes, hotels, athletes expenses etc. London and its environs will lose more but gain more.
    2. China has spent more but then they will gain more. So, in total they will lose a lot of money..... But have great memories.
    3. Its up to us the general public to ensure there is a legacy. I hope so. 29,000 is probably a good figure for a sustainable venue.
    4. They were fairly clear the £2bn figure was for holding the games was for the running of it as they had no control over security and materials costs.

    Personally, I don't care how much it costs in absolute figures. All I care about is if it doesn't lose too much money. Complaining and creating negative publicity before the event will ensure that it will (and become a self fullfilling prophecy for the doom sayers). The reality is, the UK is woefully equiped as a sporting nation. To use the olympics as an excuse to supply by far the largest city in the UK with some facilities, improve infrastructure and not lose too much money can only be a good thing. I hope it succeeds but my gut feeling is that the doom mongers will ensure it doesn't. To predict and actively participate in failure is such a cop out.

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  • 31. At 00:12am on 21 Aug 2008, liovang wrote:

    Firstly, I have to say the logo is too tacky, don't look as pro as it should be. simply too literal.
    Secondly, I suggest open venues in some other parts of england, such as penzance or liverpool, like Beijing did.
    Thirdly, if you are reluctant to host it, pass to china, I bet they are happy to host another games

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  • 32. At 00:40am on 21 Aug 2008, StuartP wrote:

    Legacy? Only for the 'acceptable' Olympic Sports. A staggering £18m is to be spent building a shooting venue at Woolwich barracks which is then to be demolished immediately after the Olympics, leaving no legacy whatsoever for the shooting sports.

    2012 is all about junketeering politicians with very little for Londoners and nothing at all for anyone outside London other than a larger tax bill.

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  • 33. At 01:52am on 21 Aug 2008, Isaac wrote:

    When I will be watching the London 2012 Olympics, on TV or in person, the last things I will be thinking about are development benefits. Or green benefits. Or future tourism benefits.

    All I will think about is what I see, hear, feel and above all am awestruck by. The photos in the newspapers years from now will be of the venues, the excitement, the spirit, but sadly not of the legacy. That's the real reason why we have a games: to put on a show. If you can't put on a show, please, please, don't embarrass us.

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  • 34. At 07:13am on 21 Aug 2008, Rob Olivier wrote:

    I agree with the suggestion that the Olympic Stadium should be scaled down to 36,000-40,000 and offered to West Ham; but leaving in the Olympic Track for duel/use major althetics use (especially over the summer.

    Otherwise a 25,000 stadium for sole athletics might not be fully utilised and become a 2nd Crystal Palace

    Upton Park could be residentially/retail developed and soccer transferred to a better sports/transport location.

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  • 35. At 07:29am on 21 Aug 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    Coe has been on the gravy train for some time. He has been reportedly earning £500 000 a year of tax payers money since he took on his position.

    He now needs to earn his crust. There are many questions raised about this idea of legacy. It implies something I'm unsure about - something left to us to deal with.


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  • 36. At 07:31am on 21 Aug 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    Why isn't the BBC allowing open debate on this topic? The removal of posts is ludicrous.

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  • 37. At 08:24am on 21 Aug 2008, james montgomery wrote:


    "Legacy"????

    Perhaps Coe could tell us exactly how ten billion £pounds worth of Olympic venues in Stratford, East London will be a "legacy" and for whom, when no other previous Olympic city in the world has ever managed to even remotely utilise the facilities fully once the Games are over? The Sydney and Athens Olympic sites are virtually derelict.

    For a while after the Games, even deserted, the stadia will be lovely to look at, nice to stroll around on a Sunday afternoon with the family but essentially they all become costly to maintain white elephants because the crowds they were built to accommodate have gone and won't return.

    The main athletics stadium is already planned to be reduced from 80.000 seats to 25.000 after the Games and at what cost?

    Only one athletics meeting a year will possibly fill that reduced stadium and what of the swimming pool, gymnastics hall and cycling velodrome? Events will occasional take place but never to capacity unless a world championship for that particular sport is awarded and after London's failure to deliver in 2005 for their award of World Athletic Championships, that is highly unlikely.

    Then there's the athletes village supposedly to be made available at budget prices and rents to local people and essential public sector employees like nurses, teachers, police and firemen. But that remains to be seen. And what of the massive Media Centre, built to accommodate, during their work hours only, 5000 journalists?

    Coe says the London Games will be far more modest. Currently the cost is already almost half that apparently spent by China/Beijing and by 2012 we can be sure the cost will have risen yet again.

    The Olympics are a wonderful sporting event but the hype and political speak that goes into covering up the real cost and value of this jamboree and who personally benefits most, needs to be better questioned, exposed and controlled.

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  • 38. At 08:24am on 21 Aug 2008, Roy wrote:

    There is great T.V. coverage of the Olympics if you have digital, well done BBC. Just a couple of gripes, in the marathon races I wish Messrs Cram and Foster would tell us more about who the competitors are, presumably they have the start lists and it's just a matter of reading off the number and the name. Just a small but nevertheless important point. It's not good enough to say "there's a bunch of Spaniards" or "I think that's a Russian".

    Also, a lot of the BBC coverage is verging on the unnecessarily jingoistic side, there needs to be more appreciation of good sporting performance WHOEVER is competing. Let's not forget that the Olympics is a celebration of sport, not just being proud of home nation sporting achievement. If the coverage is too UK-biased in London 2012, it will be a turn-off. I can already sense the silly hype in some of the BBC coverage. Also remember that there are large Caribbean, Nigerian, East African etc populations in the UK so let's see some coverage of them too re:medal ceremonies etc...

    Otherwise, great digital coverage. I'm glad I'm in the UK and not watching the Olympics in other countries with much poorer coverage i.e. NBC in America.

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  • 39. At 08:27am on 21 Aug 2008, skeltim wrote:

    How wonderful!

    We are spending less on the olympics than china is the claim......millenium dome or wembley anyone? are the same accountants doing the budget are we going to be that much over budget, it seems to goup
    on a regular basis.

    Less spectacular; from a country which over the last two weeks seems to have tried to throw of the mantle of "well fought silvers" and "plucky bronzes" Lord Coe has taken us a massive jump backwards...are you saying we don't need to be the best. Would Chris Hoy settle for "not as good as".

    Can't have two 90,000 seater stadiums. Why was wembley not the centrepiece that everyone knew it should have been? in-fighting between the sports governing bodies stopped this from happening! Utter Tosh! what should have been said is "agree to a national stadium or no planning permission",why was it not resolved then!

    Legacy, legacy....how about feel good, how about a truely world class centre for sporting excellence for multiple sports where everyone has a chance to stay learn and compete? How about the chance of future feel good.

    Whilst I rant, are the big corporate sponsors going to get all the seats again so that children who want to go to the olympics and couldn't get tickets can ask their mums and dads "why couldn't we sit in those empty seats?" and disappointed with the idea of sport they go and play videogames instead where they are allowed in.

    You want to sponsor the games, you want your logo all over the worlds media, you want all that revenue.......don't expect all the tickets. When did advertising mean freebies, it's time to change that culture. You don't want to advertise at London 2012, I bet your competitors do!

    Tickets should be distributed as 10% to media/corporate/vip. Every athlete 4 tickets for every day they compete (their families deserve to see them) and the rest sold to the public lottery style with no more than 6 tickets sold to any one payment card (less risk of touts).

    Someone give the games back to the people. Beijing has been fantastic don't take a step back and say we can't be better than that. A lot of people said michael johnsons wr was unbeatable, step forward the bolt!

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  • 40. At 08:41am on 21 Aug 2008, johninbeijing wrote:


    We shouldn't worry about emulating Beijing.
    The Chinese have done a great job in building stadiums, organization etc and I am chuffed to bits for the Chinese people that their athletes have done so brilliantly.
    But this is an authoritarian state, where any sense of fun and spontanaiety have been sadly lacking in these games because of the paranoid attitude of the Chinese government (government, not people. There's a big difference).
    We could also do without the kind of grandiouse, political bombast about China's rise we saw in the opening ceremony when it comes to opening London's games.
    London is truly a world city, which embraces and welcomes people from all over the world. We can have a party come 2012 and really celebrate the Olympic ideals.

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  • 41. At 08:44am on 21 Aug 2008, Plyman62 wrote:

    Lord Coe is heavily plugging the "Legacy" part of the 2012 Games and yet what are they going to do with the Olympic Shooting venue when the games finish - pay thousands to knock it down! Where is the legacy in that? Already they are talking about not overspending, if they paid to upgrade the National Shooting Centre at Bisley it would be a permanent legacy for years to come, and there would be no demolition costs!

    Oh, I forgot, Lord Coe did what he does best when the pistol ban came in - he ran!

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  • 42. At 09:00am on 21 Aug 2008, JoDan wrote:

    My other big concern is after the Olympics, will Britain be able to afford to keep funding things via the lottery.

    My estimate based on past games overspend is a 6.6 billion overspend on the budget. It seems everything will be geared to us winning 30+ gold medals or close to this number, which after these games is possible.

    The point is though, what about 2016 and 2020, will the Government etc care about these games.

    London will have attention for 4 years and then the costs will hit. The legacy may well be that the overspend on 2012 causes Athletes for 2016 and 2020 to lose or suffer funding cuts and have a major impact on future medal success.

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  • 43. At 09:17am on 21 Aug 2008, Mr-Angry-dave-kent wrote:

    Enough is enough. How many more wasteful building schemes for the Olympics can this world take? We didn't need to run 2012 here and least of all in London. There is only one place that should run the Olympics where we can all share in the investment and build on it year on year and that is Africa. I don't care which country as the Olympics should be a country in its own right. But we need to invest here to solve some of the economic mess most of this continent is in but also it would form a catalyst around which we could build a secure green and sustainable environment for all the African peoples. Surely this is the sort of thing the Olympics should be promoting long term.

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  • 44. At 10:06am on 21 Aug 2008, parksmeup wrote:

    For those who doubt the value of London staging the Olympics, those who seem to be confused about what this 'legacy' really is...

    Please, go to any reputable internet search engine, and type in 'Public Service Agreement 22' or 'PSA 22'

    This is the Government document outlining what this legacy is and how it will be achieved.

    Hope this helps!

    ps- I do not work for the Government! I am someone who is working towards this legacy and there are thousands of us up and down the Country working in Schools, Clubs, Community, etc... Many of us are becoming fed up with the consistent slating of London 2012! I am all for free speach and expressing your opinion, but please find out all the facts then come to a fair conclusion rather then spouting local pub rhetoric! Thanks

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  • 45. At 10:29am on 21 Aug 2008, Rutty_Target wrote:

    As a target rifle shooter I find Coe's comments about an enduring legacy somewhat hard to swallow. The £18m shooting facility at Woolwich will be torn down after the games and we will be left with what? The sport's national governing bodies put forward an alternative plan to upgrade the existing facilities at the National Shooting Centre, Bisley, that would have cost half as much and left a legacy. They have been ignored so far, but it is still not too late to implement these plans.

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  • 46. At 10:33am on 21 Aug 2008, cping500 wrote:

    Legacy use of the buildings for sports festivals has to be pre planned and a glance at the London Boriough of Newham' website (where the London Olynmpics will be held), suggests that that is not going entirley smoothly. London's Mayor Boris Johnson had little actual power in the matter.

    Manchester showed how to pre plan with the Commonwealth Games stadium now being used by Manchester City Football club, creating a small athletics stadium suitable of local and national competitions, building a public swimming pool on between Manchester's two Universities within easy reach of both City Centre and the the southern innercity. Most important of all for UK's 2008 Olympiad t was the Velodrome, home training centre to the 'Golden Men and Women' of Team GB Cycling.

    Over the next fours years the most important expenditure is the more than £300m from taxes and the lottery by Sports UK which will be spent of elite sport with about £100M on elite athletes. There has to be a legacy from this not only for future champions but in the inspiration they will give to lessor participants in their sport locally and nationally.

    The £250M spent on elite sports over the last four years looks as though this is a government project which will reach its target (42 medals) but the legacy effects need to be planned for this type of expenditure as well.

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  • 47. At 10:50am on 21 Aug 2008, TGIGOOE wrote:

    There is no way on earth that the UK is going to 'top' the Beijing extravaganza, especially as the country enters recession and money is tight.

    Maybe the most sensible solution would be for London to outsource the Olympics to Beijing. Thereby all the existing facilities could be used, everything could be re-branded London 2012, clever use of television technology could overlay pictures of London and its Historic sites.

    After all is said and done, isn't all about the games and the athletes and not about "besting' and outspending the previous Olympic venue!

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  • 48. At 11:01am on 21 Aug 2008, Nickgreg wrote:

    I think Coe is kidding himself about the "legacy". I'm afraid I have little time for Coe, he has been very lucky over the years and is extremely patronising towards any criticism at all. Supercillious is the phrase that comes to mind. Also how can you pretend to be proud over a project that is massively over budget which is a disgrace in itself and is a supreme waste of taxpayers money. People will die as result of foregone opportunities to develop more healthcare, policing etc in preference to this overly extravagant ego trip. I say it again, people will die because of this.

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  • 49. At 11:13am on 21 Aug 2008, parksmeup wrote:

    I honestly feel like pulling my hair out. The money that is invested in and around the Olympics would not, in whatever circumstances, be redirected to the police and NHS... It simply does not work like that!

    Beside the fact the massive increase in sporting uptake the we are witnessing in the population in general, and especially in the children and young people will have obvious wide stretching implications on the health of the nation.

    People will live longer and happier lives because of this... NOT die because of this.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE... read the facts before making scandalous comments or criticising a particular person invovled.

    By the way, I am not a great advocate of Lord Coe... Dont make it about the person, there are thousands of people across the Country working towards a genuine and incredible legacy from London 2012, that will be seen across the nation!

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  • 50. At 11:27am on 21 Aug 2008, Shatner's Bassoon wrote:

    I'm sure it'll be a great legacy for London, I just don't think it needs it. There are other areas of the country that require regeneration far more urgently, but once again London gets the cash. It was the same with Wembley. Another bloody vanity project for the capital.

    I don't think it's a coincidence that Leeds had funding for its tram system withdrawn straight after London won its bid.

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  • 51. At 12:05pm on 21 Aug 2008, b223dy wrote:

    Is Lord Coe already accepting that London 2012 might be a flop? Its very easy for a nation to critise another (like the english press did during the torch run) than to face the reality when the tide turns. I see London being exposed as a city not capable of handling the challenges of the present world today. I really do wonder how the city willl cope with the human traffic of both the visitors and the competitors during the games. Will there be congestion charge throughout greater london, will the financial district ' cannary warf be shut down, what will the human trafiic be like on oxford street? Damn was all this considered before bidding for the games, i dont think people thougth china was going to take the measures they took to make the games a success, when they close down factories and took cars of the roads. Are we british pepole (rather londoners) that civilised when it comes to taking these measures, or are we going to play the democratic act of freedom to do what we like? Are londoners going to be told they cant go shopping on oxford street because there would be 2much human traffic, or are workers going to be told that the tube will be 2congested and wolde have to pay a "special olympic tax" to get2work?
    Lord Coe has just realised he and his team will be answering a lot of questions and ha decided to give his pre-answer b42012, well-played, but he and the rest of the BOC should be well iinformed that the wrath of the world media will be at their door step. there should be no mistaking of this

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  • 52. At 12:39pm on 21 Aug 2008, godfreybrown wrote:

    Although the China is to be congratulated on their meticulous preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and the magnificence of their sporting venues, I for one am pleased that the UK will be investing considerably less than half the ammount (China spent) on the 2012 London Olympic games. Apart from the fact we cannot match that level of spending, for us to do so would set a dangerous precedment for future hosts of the Olympic games.

    None the less £9.3 billions is a great deal of money to spend and since I live in the north west of England I find it disappointing and annoying to see that the bulk of this investment will go towards improving facilities and ammenities (not just for sport) in London and the southern areas of England. Even though I understand the reason why the games will be concentrated in that part of the country I none the less would liked to have seen £2 billions or maybe £3 billions invested in improving sporting facilities in other areas of the country such as Wales, midlands and the north of England.

    As for future legacies I expect the Beijing facilities will continue to be a source of immence pride to the Chinese people for many years to come and of lasting benefit to their aspiring Olympic champions

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  • 53. At 1:28pm on 21 Aug 2008, ednwireland wrote:

    i just want to know where i can tickets for the velodrome if you think england has a lack of sports facilities come to ireland we only got our first 50m swimming pool a few years ago.

    i think people should have immense pride in the fact that the bid won, and in response to people who say facilities should be spread further out, try clicking on the 2012 link on the olympics page the ioc doesnt want the events as spread out as they are at beijing i mean equestrian in HK come on which is why bisley isnt used for the shooting apparently. i think niottingham should have had canoeing and rowing and the MTB should at least been in the malverns if not wales but i think the ioc was sold on it been a london games. i would guess its been a while since all the venues were that close to each other it should give a more olympic mentality btw the recession may be over in 4 years and then what will all that penny pinching look like? )

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  • 54. At 1:29pm on 21 Aug 2008, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:

    Nice Blog Mihir da.

    We Indians are planning to lay our hands on as many medals as possible in the London Oly Games in 2012.

    Best wishes to Lord Seb Coe and his colleagues in the preparations for the mega event.

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  • 55. At 1:39pm on 21 Aug 2008, Simoc wrote:

    This legacy reminds me of climate change.
    How much with it or up to date can you get!
    Sydney was great, Beijing is, London will be. The rest is excellent or hopeless for those who know everything, as your correspondents most certainly do.
    As long as Oz flogs England at cricket who really cares. SC

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  • 56. At 00:57am on 09 Sep 2008, claysmoker wrote:

    #24 Marksman_Hemmers, #41 Plyman62, #25 robius3, #26 Grisedale, #32 CityStu, #45 Rutty_Target, #53 ednwireland.

    Well said. As a clay pigeon shooter I thoroughly back your comments about upgrading the National Shooting Centre at Bisley for use at the 2012 Games.

    Some participants in this blog will know that Bisley was the site of shooting for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It is a 3000 acre M.O.D owned site S.W of London. Having explored the site on numerous occasions it is ideal for the 2012 shooting venue. Plans have already be drawn up and approved for a £12m+ upgrade to provide facilities including a multi-storey cat park, a hotel. Communications to either Heathrow and Gatwick exist with the M25 and M3 into London and more importantly......a LEGACY for the sport. To the best of my knowledge the budget for shooting centre is currently £26m to stage the events at Woolwich after which the facilities will be removed leaving nothing.

    Clay pigeon shooting is an increasingly popular sport with a safety record second to none despite the fact the Government wish to sweep it under the carpet and the BBC showed very little of the Trap and Skeet (shotgun) events repeating other longer events including the less dynamic air pistol and air rifle events.

    Why can't Seb Coe, the Olympic commitee and the government see sense to use tax payers money more wisely. I don't mind paying for the Olympics as we are all doing but it would be nice to have facilities for the training of future athletes and for everyone else wishing to take up a sport not just shooting.

    #26, Grisedale and#47, TGIGOOE said that no country has successfully re-used their Olympic venues. What a fantastic opportunity for this country to show the world that we care about global warming and recycling. I don't mind spending money on redeveloping East London but at least let's not have more Millenium Domes that sit around for years costing a fortune to keep empty before we turn them into just another Pop and Rock venue.

    Are we wasting our say on this BBC site? Are sports editors such as Mihir listening to our views and pushing their pens to make a difference for the good of sport and common sense?

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