I live in Hackney, which makes me lucky for lots of reasons. London Fields Lido, Clissold Park, Dalston Rio, The Dove on Broadway Market...Hackney has it all (providing you don't mind controlled parking zones, gang warfare, fly-tipping and foxes doing horrible things to each other in your garden at night).

But most of all I'm lucky because Hackney is one of the five host boroughs of the London Olympics. And if you're one of the million or so people who live in one of those boroughs, there is a simple answer to the question "will hosting the Olympics have a positive impact on your life?" It's "yes".

OK, I get the local paper stuffed through my letter box so I know there are a few groups with their own particular gripes about a large swathe of east London being turned into a building site, but for the vast majority of us having the Olympics on our patch is an undeniably good thing.

Could, however, I say the same if I lived in Aberdeen, Bristol or Coleraine?

Lord Coe unveils the the London 2012 logo

Probably not if Monday evening's BBC Radio 5 Live debate on how the nation feels about the Games is anything to go by.

Host Brian Alexander was joined in the studio by Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012's organising committee, and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, for what John Barnes once described as 90 minutes of "sheer hell".

Coe, apparently, had told the programme's producers he was hoping things would get a bit punchy. You know, an irate call from somebody who preferred Steve Ovett, or a complaint from a pensioner in the Hebrides who thinks it is unfair the people of Stratford are getting a new swimming pool when they already have the Royal Shakespeare Company for kicks.

I wonder if he is now pondering that old saying about being careful what you wish for.

But at least Coe seemed to enjoy the cut and thrust of being told the Games were either "only for Londoners", "a shocking waste of money" or both, and he certainly gave as good as he got.

Jowell, on the other hand, at times sounded like a sixth-former who had spent weeks cramming for a question on Disraeli's foreign policy only to turn over the paper and find questions on the decline of the Liberal Party - I've been there and it's a dark place.

There were moments when I thought she might give up trying to sell London 2012 to the sceptical regions and nations and say "OK, have it your way, let's move the whole thing to Coventry...or Paris".

Struggling to pin down exactly what London 2012's "legacy" for the nation would be, Jowell retreated behind the old trick of throwing seemingly massive amounts of money at us - £100m extra for this, £140m over three years for that - and making jam tomorrow-type promises about new opportunities for all.

When asked outright for something a tax payer in Cardiff or Carlisle could look forward to, Jowell could only come up with the dubious claim that legions of foreign sports stars would be arriving some time soon to begin their Olympic preparations.

I say dubious because London is a temperate kind of town that doesn't require a great deal of acclimatisation, is handily placed for most nations from a time zone point of view and is ever so convenient for many of the bigger Olympic teams - do you really think the French, Germans and Italians will train in Yorkshire when they can do that at home?

Once the likes of Bath, Loughborough and Sheffield have sorted out who is going to get the Australian, Chinese and US teams (although sporting centres like La Manga may have something to say about that) what does that leave for the rest of the UK?

Lord Coe puts Tessa Jowell in the right direction

No, the best answer to the "so what am I going to get out of London 2012 over here in Belfast?" question came from Coe. He took a leaf out of JFK's book to simply turn the question around - you'll get from the Games what you choose to put in.

Take up a new sport, pick up an old one, get involved at local level or just sit back and enjoy the show, whichever you choose there will be plenty to get excited about.

He also correctly identified the real, nation-wide potential of the Games - this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise (all) sport's profile in this country and reverse decades of under-investment and political indifference.

London 2012 clearly has to be about more than a fortnight's great sport and new leisure facilities and transport infrastructure for me and my neighbours - as welcome as all of that will be, even I have to admit £9.3bn does not represent wonderful value for money.

So it has to be about using sport to improve lives, inspire youngsters, rejuvenate the not-so young, reach marginalised communities and generally make us all feel slightly better about ourselves and the country we call home.

Coe, Jowell and everybody else involved in the London 2012 project now have to communicate that message to the type of people who called in on Monday and deliver on these promises in fours years' time and beyond.

The task for people like me, Brian Alexander and Monday's star caller AJ is to keep their eyes on the prize.

Matt Slater is a BBC Sport journalist focusing on sports news. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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