Olympic Legacy

Posted on July 30, 2012

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Yes indeed – and extremely tempting at around £250 with a battery that plugs straight into the mains…

People talk a lot about legacy when they talk about the Olympic Games.  In London’s case, the word has never been far from the spotlight – and casting a glance over the previous two host cities can be telling in determining what that legacy for London might be.

Athens has not fared well.  Amidst the ruins of both its economy and of its distant, glorious past stands another set of ruins, those of the Olympic venues from 2004.  Without tenants or, it seems, a plan, their fate, and that of the country, have been intertwined in a state of slow decline.

Beijing has more reasons to be cheerful.  Again, the economy may tell at least part of the story but four years on the Olympic park and infrastructure are well-kept and fully used.  The Metro was largely built for the Olympics and, though crowded (don’t believe the YouTube pictures, it’s nothing like as crowded as London’s!) is clean, efficient, air-conditioned and cheap.

But, over and above that, the number of Beijingers who learned English in the build up to 2008 was phenomenal – and part of a wider trend in the country.  Beijing may have been criticised over human rights coming into the Olympic year but there’s little doubt that part of the legacy has been to embrace the global stage more fully and integrate, which has had tangible benefits across the region.

From just two examples, it would be foolish to draw too many conclusions, but what Beijing has shown is that a legacy based on behaviours may be more important than one based on buildings.

And if, as is hoped for, the UK takes Mr Wiggins’ lead and gets on its bike(s), not only might we have a happier, healthier nation as a legacy, but it will also significantly weaken Bob Crow and the RMT’s ability to hold Londoners to ransom on the eve of public celebrations in the narrow-minded way they seem to believe is their right.

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