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London's 2012 Olympic Games legacy

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 - 02:39

July 26 - A year on from the London Olympics, not everyone’s convinced the event was as beneficial to the UK economy as the government claims. Nonetheless, Britain is creatively recycling many elements of the Games, and breathing new life into everything from the stadium itself to Opening Ceremony props. Joanna Partridge reports

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Returning to the scene of his Olympic victories. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and other stars of London 2012 are taking part in the Anniversary Games. The real event is a fond memory but most Britons say it was worth it. The UK government says hosting the world's biggest sporting event boosted trade and investment by £9.9billion. But those figures have been questioned by many, including Tony Travers from the London School of Economics. SOUNDBITE: Tony Travers, Department of Government, London School of Economics, saying (English): "It's a sort of stylised attempt to come up with a number that's big, possibly defensible, but which shows there was an economic benefit. I think that's what the government's trying to do here, they're trying to say, look, we spent a lot of money, over 9 billion on the Olympics in London, and there really will have been an economic payback for the people of Britain." The Olympic park is re-opening and locals are already seeing the benefits. Stratford - a once polluted and run down area - now boasts Europe's largest urban shopping centre and excellent transport links. Even some of the smallest items from the Games are being re-cycled. These props played a starring role in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. PTC This costume was worn by Annie Lennox's dancers. It's soon going to a new home with either a local school or community group, where it will inject some Olympic spirit into their performances. Alan Skewis, head of London 2012 legacy for the area close to the venues, says the Olympic boost is still being felt a year on. SOUNDBITE: Alan Skewis, Head of Sport and Venues Legacy, London Borough of Newham, saying (English): "Absolutely central to our ethos has been that this has to be connected to people, it has to feel as if it's part of what their community and part of what their futures are going to be." Britain is also well on the way to finding new uses for the sports venues. The athletics stadium will become the new home for Premier League football club West Ham United in 2016. The Games cost Britain £8.77 billion - but allowed the country to show the world what it can do. SOUNDBITE: Tony Travers, Department of Government, London School of Economics, saying (English): "Handling the logistics of putting on a very complex Olympic Games in a big city on an old site, that was all delivered on time, it worked, and for architects, for planners, designers, project management, all things that developed countries need to compete in, it was a good set of messages for the UK." Britain has already exported some of those skills to future Olympic hosts Brazil and Russia. As it looks to complete the transformation of 2012 sporting success into economic advantage.

London's 2012 Olympic Games legacy

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 - 02:39

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