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Will Government grab gold at London Games?

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David Bond | 08:27 UK time, Monday, 9 January 2012

The turn of the year was always going to bring a significant shift in momentum around the London Olympics and Paralympics. After seven years of waiting, the start of 2012 brings with it a stark realisation that the Games are frighteningly close.

But the beginning of the year has also brought a major shift in the coalition Government's Olympic rhetoric. Prime Minister David Cameron highlighted the Games in his New Year message and will chair the first cabinet meeting of 2012 on the Olympic Park on Monday.

London 2012 Mascots

Can Olympic mascots Wenlock (left) and Mandeville help to boost the profile of the London 2012 Games and galvanise a frail economy? Photo: Getty

He will also use the photo opportunity to reinforce his belief that Great Britain should embrace the events as a showcase for the country and to squeeze every drop of opportunity from them at a time when the economy is in such peril.

Even the Olympic cynics would agree there is little point in now opposing the Games. They are coming and we as taxpayers have pretty much paid for them already.

We must also not lose sight of the fact that the Games are a historic, once-in-a-lifetime moment. For British sport, they offer the single biggest opportunity in decades to showcase our talent and sporting passion. Cameron deserves credit for recognising this and for embracing them.

Paul Deighton, the chief executive of the London 2012 organising committee (Locog), was only saying very recently that he was worried the significance of the Olympics was yet to dawn on vast chunks of the British public.

But that does not mean that we should just accept what Cameron and other ministers tell us over the next few months. Yes, the Olympics and Paralympics are great for Britain but will they help ease the country's economic crisis? Unlikely.

There is no clear evidence from any previous Games that there is any lasting positive economic effect from hosting the Olympics. In Sydney in 2000, one of the most successful editions of the Olympics ever staged, yet researchers at one university found the impact on the economy was actually negative.

Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary and the cabinet minister responsible for the Olympics, found it difficult on BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme on Sunday to produce any hard figures when it came to predicting the economic benefits from the Games.

He pointed to an extra five million tourists and a 17% increase in overseas tourism receipts in Canada following the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. But in Sydney, tourism as a percentage of Australia's GDP actually declined after 2000.

At best, we can say the evidence is inconclusive. Which is why we should just expect a bit of caution from politicians as they urge us to "just go for it", as Cameron did last week and will again on Monday.

At a time when people are losing their jobs, there is a greater need than ever to be vigilant on Olympic costs. Hunt said he was as confident as he could be that the Games would stay within the £9.3bn budget. But with £500m of contingency left and just over six months to go, it is clear there is little room to wriggle.

On the even more testing issue of legacy, expect more announcements from the Government this week.

Having scrapped the Labour target of trying to get one million more adults playing sport and a further million more active - whatever that meant - last year, Hunt will on Tuesday reveal the latest attempt to salvage the promises on participation and solve the decline in young people playing sport.

Lord Sebastian Coe, the Locog chairman, won the London Games by promising to get a new generation interested in sport. But ever since London won the right to stage the Olympics, there has been little progress.

In fact, the most recent figures from Sport England demonstrate a 100,000 drop in sporting activity among 16-19 year olds. At the same time, the Government's decision to scrap Labour's school sports policy last year is still attracting criticism.

Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell told the Observer newspaper on Sunday that Education Secretary Michael Gove had undone eight years work at a stroke with his "incomprehensible decision" to scrap schools sports partnerships.

Hunt will try to address these concerns on Tuesday when supermarket chain Sainsbury's is revealed as a new long-term backer of the Government's School Games to 2018. There will also be more money from the Department of Health for youth sport projects.

Will any of this be enough to really change the country's sporting habits?

Baroness Sue Campbell, the chair of UK Sport and head of the Youth Sport Trust, is not convinced. She wants to see a proper long-term strategy in schools that can help deliver on Lord Coe's legacy vision for the country.

Now, all of this will be set aside as we get nearer to the Games and the country gets swept up in the excitement and euphoria of British success.

That is absolutely right. But at the start of such a big year for British sport, we should just try to remember the reasons we decided to bid for the Olympics in the first place.


  • Comment number 1.

    A word on this Government's 2012 priorities:-

    Olympics - money no object, even if it means charities go to the wall as a result of diverted funds

    Diamond Jubilee - this is a time of austerity, public money cannot be wasted on celebrations

    How much better it would have been (and how much greater pleasure given) if the Government had chosen to celebrate the year by giving a £10 to every man, woman and child in the country - and it would have considerably cheaper as well.


    This is not a bit year for British sport - it is a big year for sports administrators and for politicians.

    Opening Ceremony costs have bveen doubled, when ALL that should happen is a terse comment by the IOC President: "We all know why we're year; I declare the Games open. On with the athletes' parade."

  • Comment number 2.

    Firstly Mr Cameron has no choice but to embrace this historic event as the success of the event on 'his watch' will be a media focus before, during & after.

    Secondly I'm sure the impact of the games on each country is different so I'm not sure past examples are relevant.

    In terms of legacy there is a huge myth surrounding this event, YES it should be a vehicle to inspire children and sport can only be a vehicle for good. BUT schools put education first all other activities are now secondary. It is up to the sports industry and volunteer clubs to be the main driver for legacy. The government needs to provide support through infrastructure and targeted funding to maximise participation NOT try and run sport.

    Attracting, training and retaining volunteers is the way forward and the government needs to minimise the hurdles in the bureacracy in their way PLEASE!

  • Comment number 3.

    the image on the sport homepage for this article looks kinda bronze.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm one of a lucky few who first paid taxes for the Vancouver games, and now for the London games. And all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

  • Comment number 5.

    It is THE biggest sporting event in the world and it is going to be in London and we can showcase the country and watch the best sportspeople doing their thing. It will encourage people to adopt new sports, not just football, and will increase the nations positivity, even if only for a couple of weeks. People need to embrace it and not use it as an excuse to get on their soapboxes for their own whinges, such as charities, diamond jubilees (see comment 1) or taxes (Comment 4). This is a sporting nation and this is the ultimate sports event. If you don't like sport, go abroad for the duration and let the most of us enjoy what will be an amazing spectacle.

  • Comment number 6.

    @Booftothemax, I certainly look forward to watching the Great British Public partake in synchronised swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and pole vault for years, nay decades, to come. Much like how my bretheren back home in Vancouver are spending their weekends lugeing, speed skating and curling. Well, ok, they are curling, bad example, but they were doing that long before the flame was lit.

  • Comment number 7.

    "We must also not lose sight of the fact that the Games are a historic, once-in-a-lifetime moment."
    Really? A little less hyperbole please.
    Unless she dies in the next 200 days, for my mother the Olympics are a twice-in-a-lifetime moment. (She was at the opening ceremony in 1948.) And there are probably a fair few centenarians for whom it is a thrice-in-a-liftime event.

  • Comment number 8.

    If the opening ceremony costs have doubled then it must have been recognised that it was going to be a poor show. The embarrassment of a weak Games opening would be too much to bear and could have affected the rest of the games. Therefore, let's make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

  • Comment number 9.

    Isn’t it time to remind the world who we are? To show our children that we are not a useless, sickly nation. To not simply shrug our shoulders and utter ‘that’s why the other people are doing better than us’?

  • Comment number 10.

    I just want to comment on the first comment on this thread from Gary Baldie (clever name...).

    Your views are ridiculously small minded. If you hate the Olympics that much then I dare you to try to avoid every single second of competiton for both the Olympics and Paralympics.

    So, when the rest of us are rejoicing at watching a Brownlee (British) win Triathlon gold in a heartstopping duel up the run-in alongside his brother you can be next door listening through the wall wishing you were there with everyone else ENJOYING the moment. When Jessica Ennis wins gold after years of preperation we will be admiring her - you will be looking on jealously. When Paula Radcliffe banishes her demons up the Mall by winning gold in the marathon, we will be crying tears of joy with her, you will be in the pound shop trying to make your £10 stretch as far as possible.

    Rent a DVD or two mate. I will watch Usian Bolt win four golds as well as Ian Thorpe come back and show his doubters that he is still one of the best swimmers in the world.

    You don't need to be a sports nut to enjoy watching people do things never done before. You just need an open mind.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well said JSBTRAVERS. I too am looking forward to seeing the Olympics (both live where I have tickets and on TV where I don't) as well as a number of other non-sporting highlights I've lined up.

    There are many people who have no interest in the Olympics but at least have the courtesy not to try and spoil it for the rest of us. I just hope Mr. Baldie and others find something of interest in life to give them a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

  • Comment number 12.

    @JSTRAVERS @martin9, wouldn't it be even greater if we could watch the forgotten underbelly of UK citizens enjoy the Olympic funds being put into a sustainable venture to cure the pandemic social immobility that has long corrupted the UK? I'm pretty sure that a poor black kid in a council estate in Peckham is deeply unconcerned about Ms. Ennis' triumph. The Olympics reeks of middle class hubris and nationalistic snobbery, of which we should all be ashamed.

  • Comment number 13.

    Anyone familiar with the term "hubris " ? I note Cameron has already called London 2012 the Best Olympics Ever and I'm continually seeing reports about how Britons are favourites in about 150 events
    A long way from "Chariots of Fire " - I liked that Britain

  • Comment number 14.

    @vanmalmsteen - I am pretty sure you will see plenty of poor kids from Peckham and other places (even worldwide) be inspired by the Olympics to make a better life for themselves. Google Mo Farah if you need an example.

  • Comment number 15.

    @12 "The Olympics reeks of middle class hubris and nationalistic snobbery, of which we should all be ashamed."

    Haha, how on earth can you say that after it's come from China- a communist country. Olympics is nothing to do with class warfare, it's to do with admiring the world's finest athletes. Even for those who didn't get lucky with any tickets (like myself), there will be a great vibe round the country and it will be a lot of fun just being around the action. Cheer up. Thanks for that comment though, I needed a laugh!

  • Comment number 16.

    @JSBTRAVERS - what a great story! I'm absolutely gobsmacked - the son of a middle-class man from Hounslow who was schooled in the mean streets of Feltham could rise to run quickly or something. It's good to see that he's giving back to his local community - the well known ghetto enclave of Richmond. Huzzah!

    I suppose your point is that such stories are inspirational. But, how come heros today are athletes? To rise to the level of a world-class athlete is out of reach for the vast majority of Britons - especially for those who are poor or under-served.

    But come on England!


  • Comment number 17.

    I don't think any sane politician, economist or business person thought that the 17 days of the games was the economic justification for hosting them. If you held them in the desert, maybe. Not in a centre of tourism like London.

    Benefits, if they come, will be due to regeneration of East London's site; business attracted through the 7 years of global engagement; future events hosted in the stadia; skills gained and acquired by UK companies during the construction phase; business linkages made at events held during the 17 days etc etc. I have read no articles investigating whether this has been happening or not, whether companies are motivated to make it happen or whether the usual British 'what a waste of money' attitudes prevail.

    Of course, had the nation become fitter, healthier, more diet conscious, there would be long-term benefits in terms of reduced NHS costs. There is no evidence to date that that is occurring.

    There is so much hatred, destructive virulence in the hearts of this nation though that no matter how much hope and optimism has been put into the Olympic project, it appears to be foundering on the 'the only thing to spend money on is the NHS etc etc etc' line.

    It's still possible that optimism will win through, but the more I learn about the true views of Britain, the more I'd like to leave. There's just too many right wing fascists who only care about themselves and small minded issues for this country to be called 'Great'. 'Little Britain' sums it up better in my view......

  • Comment number 18.

    @rl - really? You consider China communist? Clearly you've never been there or done business with them. Perhaps "State capitalist", perhaps "isolationist mercantilism", but communist? Hehehe. Thanks to you too - the laugh is much appreciated! :)

  • Comment number 19.


    Read me the first sentence of the second paragraph. But China is not really the point. Instead of trying to argue with everyone who is genuinely looking forward to the games, just accept that they will be happening and be optimistic that maybe a pool of young British athletic talent may emerge (from places like Peckham for example) that wouldn't have otherwise. As I said, cheer up.

  • Comment number 20.

    @vanmalmsteen - why are our heroes today athletes? Where do I start? You either despise sport and genuinely don't understand why it is so popular or you once loved it but had a bad experience so are now amazingly bitter about the whole thing.

    Anyway, your point that becoming a world class athlete is hard - correct. Is it easier to become a leading politician, actor, musician? No.

    Athletes are people's heroes because they are achieving things through talent and hard work. Yes, you can work hard in sport.

    But, let's do your idea instead - give everyone a tenner so they can go to the pub and drink it away in an hour and a half before going back home and complaining why they haven't got a job, got any interests or dreams.

    Nice one, really ambitious.

  • Comment number 21.

    vanmalmsteen "I'm pretty sure that a poor black kid in a council estate in Peckham is deeply unconcerned about Ms. Ennis' triumph".

    Big hole you're digging for yourself. I was born in Peckham Rye from elderly working class parents who couldn't afford to travel the world like you claim to have done but used to really enjoy trips to Crystal Palace to see the likes of Foster, Pascoe and Ovett run in the seventies when I was a kid. As a result of the social mobility that does exist in this country am now in a position through nothing more than hard work and making the best of what abilities I have to being able to live a better life than my parents, travel and see countries where terms such as pandemic social immobility can justifiably be used and consequently appreciate that, like everywhere, Britain may not be perfect but has an awful lot going for it. Life's a lot better if you look for positives rather than run everything down.

    Am sure of a few poor black kids in Peckham will actually follow Ms. Ennis, Mr. Farah and others on TV just as the poor but immensely friendly and positive Ethiopian kids I met in that country will be following Kenenisa Bekele on the communal radio set in their local village school.

  • Comment number 22.

    @vanmalmsteem - If it bothers you that much, why not go back to Canada and join your 'brethren'? The olympics are inspirational to many and provides the gold medallists of the future, for all countries, not just in the UK. Most are excited and looking forward to the whole event. As I said before, the UK is a sporting nation. Sport encourages the 'poor black kid in a council estate in Peckham' to achieve more than the issues you speak about. I assume you work tirelessly with these people? Irrespective, they and all kids of whatever class need heroes to emulate and the olympics provides them. Your moralising about the UK is boring and very old hat.

  • Comment number 23.

    @rl - congratulations for finding Wikipedia. I personally defer to it for all online debates.

    @Booftothemax @martin9 @JSBTRAVERS seems I've touched a nerve here. I'm not quite sure at what point I recommended giving £10 for people to go down to the pub (pretty sure I didn't) but what I do think would be more progressive would be to put the Olympic money towards, for example, accessible activities for all citizens, not for elitest athletes. I have no problem with sports stars (in fact I grew up idolizing Wayne Gretzky) but it wasn't because of his 4 consecutive Stanley Cups that I have become marginally successful in business and life. And, it must be noted that his success was the result of the privately run National Hockey League (and before that the privately started competitive league the World Hockey Association), so his success was never the result of taxpayers' graft.

    Further, I do appreciate the invitation to "go back to Canada and join my 'bretheren.' It is people like you, Booftothemax, that makes Britain a great nation. Foreigners are ok, as long as they don't disagree with you! Nice.

  • Comment number 24.

    13. At 15:06 9th Jan 2012, theboganpimpernal wrote:

    Anyone familiar with the term "hubris " ? I note Cameron has already called London 2012 the Best Olympics Ever and I'm continually seeing reports about how Britons are favourites in about 150 events

    It's not "hubris" it's racism and another indication of how Britain is among the best in the world at it.


  • Comment number 25.

    What the hell does the Olympics to do with Tory Dave??

    He should be busy worrying about the cuts in spending in small things like policing, health and education. Not worry about the big issues like watching people run round in circles and throw things.

  • Comment number 26.

    @23 yawn.......playing the Foreigner card, typical Brit, blah blah blah. It is nothing to do with you being foreign. Indeed, you bringing it up suggests you have more of an issue with being 'foreign' than I ever would. I must ask, I assume you contribute to British society in the way you would like the money to be spent? If not, who are you to dictate how any money is spent at all?

  • Comment number 27.


    There are no issues with you expressing your views and your belief that money should be spent elsewhere is perfectly valid even though I personally disagree in this instance (my tax money has often been spent on roads I will never use, a royal family that bore me to tears, arts I will never appreciate, providing health care and benefits for people who in some cases could have looked after themselves and their lives better and paying salaries and expenses of politicans who I believe add little or no value, however as we're part of a wider society I accept it's not all about me and what I want/think. If for once some money's been spent on much needed re-generation of an area near to my home and creating the opportunity to host a major international event such as the Olympics with all the publicity that will generate for my country and which gives me something I will personally benefit from then yes I'm all in favour). However were I to move to Canada (or anywhere else) and openly make ridiculous and inflammatory statements denegrating my new home I would similarly expect to be invited to go back to England and "join my bretheren". As such please don't make yourself look even more culturally naive by saying only the English would have that reaction !!. Try using a bit less sensationalist rhetoric and put a bit more thought/rationality in your comments. This will make your point far better. All you've done here is re-enforce the stereotypical view that some British people have of the insularity and arrogance of North Americans =8-).

  • Comment number 28.

    The big event of last year, that was supposed to boost the economy was the 'Royal' wedding. Yet funnily enough people being encouraged not to work had precisely the opposite effect and the government later blamed a dip in growth on the publicity stunt. This year sees the climax of the biggest lie that is told time and time again by beaurocrats and politicians the world over; 'the Olympics will boost the country.' In fact these massive events only boost the pockets of the few that get paid to organise them. Not only do these games fail to deliver economic boosts, they actually stifle economies. How many people realise that unless you are an official sponsor you will be banned from trading anywhere nearany of the Olympic venues? Yes tourism will be boosted for a couple of weeks but these tourists will be encouraged to stay around the Olympic parks, where local businesses will have no participation. Even deliveries to local businesses will be banned until night time as the IOC demand a monopoly on the use of roads from the village to the venues for the duration of the games! Complete farse and waste of money, Seb Coe and his cronies and maybe a few athletes are the only onees who will benefit. We the tax payer have paid for these games but for most of us our experience will be no different from any other Olympic games held in any other country, we will watch it on tv!

  • Comment number 29.

    I loose faith with my fellow countrymen at times. Way back in 1992 when I was 8 I watched the opening ceremony to the Barcelona Olympic I also watched Lindford Christie win the 100m Gold Medal for Britain. I remember at the time not really understanding National identity but it was explained it me this was British man like myself and he was something to aspire to. We even drew a little flag on a piece of paper an reenacted the medal ceremony several times while learning the ltric to the National Anthem. It's quite a happy memory of mine, we even got the Olympic Video Game for my Master System as birthday present, which me and my Dad would play together.

    I bring this up because
    a) I've watched every Olympic since then and am volunteering at this one.
    b) More importantly I was never good at sport, I'm alright these days but I was never the best and never will be. However that video game got me further into computers and I'm a Software Engineer earning a fairly good wage and aspire to be better at what I do. would of it happened without the Olympics and sport? Possibly but any level of things that show use how great we can be surely has to be great.

    Like said elsewhere my Taxes get spent on alot of things I disagree with and don't actually better society in my opinion (I disagree with his opinion about arts projects). I can't see the white elephant argument myself they only don't aspire if you don't want them to and people seam hell bent on making that the case.

  • Comment number 30.

    "There is no clear evidence from any previous Games that there is any lasting positive economic effect from hosting the Olympics. In Sydney in 2000, one of the most successful editions of the Olympics ever staged, yet researchers at one university found the impact on the economy was actually negative."
    In a nutshell, the con that is the Olympics and with Cameron not having a clue about economics we are in for a rough ride over the next few years.

  • Comment number 31.

    Can we please take the party politics out of this?
    It wasn't a Conservative government that backed, underwrote and lobbied for Britain to host these Games - it was a Labour one.
    When the bid was won in 2005, no-one could foresee the economic climate in which these Games were to be held.
    In a way, though, it is almost fitting that these Games should be held here at this time... 1948 was known as the "Austerity Games" and with good reason. It seemed almost inconceivable we could host any major event so soon after the privations of six years of war, and with Britain still in the grip of rationing and desperately trying to re-build. I would like to think that if our grandparents were prepared to give the Olympics a go then, we should try to do the same now.
    This government's job - any government's job - would be to ensure this country puts on the best show it can in the circumstances that exist at the time.
    Personally, as a sports nut, I still hold a rather naive hope that this may give us all the opportunity to remind ourselves that one moment of sporting magic can do more good than a million politicians can achieve in a lifetime. I only hope that we are not too blinded by cynicism to see it when it happens.

  • Comment number 32.

    #31 pollyowls.

    Little strange you ask to keep politics out of it then talk politics.

    "It wasn't a Conservative government that backed, underwrote and lobbied for Britain to host these Games - it was a Labour one."

    ...then if Tory Dave is going to get sidetracked by people playing games whilst the country is skint would be nice to see him acknowledge Labour's efforts.

    But being a disgusting band wagon PR spin spin spin driven little man I guess we won't hold out breath on that?

  • Comment number 33.

    The London Olympics is nothing more than another opportunity for big business to profit whilst creating an illusion that the event is for the people, especially Londoners.

    The Olympic "ideal" these days is all about money and ambition+motivation=success has been replaced by big business+explotation+subsidised urban regeneration = profit.
    The promises of a "legacy" is laughable when you consider that since London won the bid grass roots sports have seriously suffered, actual sports participation is down, school sports funding has been decimated and now you even have government departments massaging and manipulating figues to create meaningless and misleading statistics to give the public the illusion that more people are turning to sport - (the Olympic effect) - when in fact the opposite is true.
    There are fewer opportunities for our children to particpate in sport, (unless you don't mind paying small fortunes to join a club and ongoing subscriptions), there are fewer children actually particpating in sports, obesity amongst our children has increased and children participating in exercise has declined. I'd dread to think what would have happened if we didn't win the right to host the Olympics!

    Will the games be a sporting success? I don't think so. Our team will do the usual - fourth or fifth place - as per beijing Will we ever be in a position to challenege those countries that actually take sport seriously. I doubt it - the investment is channelled into the wrong places by Ministers and civil servants who don't have a clue about sport and think grass roots is something to do with oregano.

    The Olympic "legacy" is a joke - It's already starting to fall apart. The stadium fiasco and now its been confirmed what has been known for years - participation is down and the legacy is not working! The olympics will though make a few people and big business a tidy sum and fabulous profits.

    The upside of any Olympics is that there is a brief surge of interest by our youth - some of those inspired by the event will take sport seriously and their talent developed by the unsung heroes of grass roots sports - the unpaid and committed volunteers. . . . . certainly not because of some government funded, civil servant driven, pie in the sky, romantic but unrealistic "legacy" that was poorly thought through by government departments who, only 15 years ago, were advising that competitive sport was about taking part and not winning!!

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 ComeEnglandAway,

    My point was that the Olympics are not a party political issue.
    All parties were equally committed to winning the bid in 2005, and all parties are still intent on supporting the Games and making them as successful as they can be.
    We can argue over whether as a country we should have bid for the Games (and I passionately believe we were right to do so), but that time is gone - they will be starting here in 200 days time and this government would not be doing its job properly if it did not try to make them the best it can.

  • Comment number 35.

    The Games is definitely one of the good opportunities for the UK's economy in 2012. It is not difficult to see that government can grab gold during London Games. The point is how to keep a stable economy after the Games. long-term development should be one our priorities too.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm a true sports lover, however i'm totally put off by the Olympics. Once again in true Brit fashion we get blugend over the head by hype, wether it be in the Newspaper, TV, or internet. Hopefully i'll be overseas on Holiday in August, so won't have to put up with the constant bleating on about it being the best games ever, & how we are the envy of the world. Really not bothered.

  • Comment number 37.

    This is a great entry as it looks at the evidence. It is a little insulting to the general public that the government continues to talk to us as if we are small children waiting for a birthday party!

    Ministers are not starting to employ the strategy of questioning the loyalty of critics. But, as a couple of commentators to this blog have implied, there is a vital difference between being a sports lover and being an uncritical consumer of propaganda.

    Please forgive the self-promotion, but I've written about the Olympic legacy, and would value any comments or suggestions:

    Talking Education and Sport: An Olympic Legacy for 2012

  • Comment number 38.

    I ask Lord Coe and the fellow athletes this - explain to me why the Olympics is the pinnacle event rather than "World Championships", when we're paying for the Athletics World Championships in 2017 - who wants a 2nd class event after of them must be 2nd class after all.

  • Comment number 39.


    Cost of re-generation of Stratford and building of Olympic Facilities = £20 Billion.

    Expected Tangible Revenue from Olympic Ticket Sales, Sponsorships, Hotel bookings, Visitor spend in 2 weeks of events etc. = £12 Billion.

    Assuming the worse case that there are absolutely no intangible or legacy benefits net Cost of Olympics to UK economy = £8 Billion.

    Cost of building infra-structure for 2017 World Athletics Championships = £0 Billion (as facilities are already there).

    Expected Tangible Revenue from Ticket Sales, Sponsorships, Hotel bookings etc for 2017 World Athletics Championships (the 3rd largest sporting event in terms of revenue generation after the Olympics and World Cup) = £2 billion (or 25% of the expected net cost of the Olympics).

    I appreciate you've no interest in sport and/or international events and wish the whole thing had never come to the UK in 1st instance, however why do you object to the facilities being used after the Olympics to recover the cost of some of the initial outlay and increase the return on the small proportion of your taxes spent on this initiative ?

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 39 - actually I've got a huge interest in sports but like I said - why are we getting apparently a first class event (and paying a fortune for it) and then getting a 2nd class event as a legacy or is it the other way around - the Olympics as a marketing tool cum 2nd class event and then the World Champs as the "premier event".

    There isn't two football world cups, there's not two rugby union world cups, there's arguably not two cricket world cups - yet athletics and the Olympics specifically expects huge subsidies saying its "a pinnacle" yet the World Championsips is also "a pinnacle" - surely some dubious advertising going on there!

    Every sport at the Olympics has a World Championship btw! The skiing in winter olympics has one every year (maybe I'm being pedantic there as their world championship is technically their league)!

  • Comment number 41.


    That's an easy one for any sports fan to answer.

    The Olympics are the world's biggest and longest-running multi-sports festival and for historical reason are perceived to be the pinnacle for most of the sports that are included (football and tennis are obvious exceptions). As the event is only held every 4 years and in response to demand from athletes and commercial interests (as such events are hugely profitable) many sports introduced world championships in intervening years (often on a 2 rather than 4 yearly cycle). The World Athletics Championships were introduced in 1983 and to date, as with sports like Swimming, we've not had the facilities to stage (unlike countries such as Finland, Canada and Greece). In terms of competition they provide the same level as the Olympics so as "2nd class events" (as you wish to consider them) they are still of a significantly higher quality than continental only competitions such as the European Football Championships and have a far wider appeal in terms of number of competing nations and total global audience than the world championships of less global non-olympic sports such as cricket, snooker and rugby (at least until the inclusion of sevens in 2016).


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