Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Olympics won’t become another Millennium Dome fiasco

A lot is riding on this year’s Olympics. OK, so we’re all feeling the pinch of the recession, but it would be a hard heart who couldn’t get excited about the opening ceremony, which is being created and produced by one of our finest film directors, Danny Boyle. The cost of the ceremony itself has been a topic of heated debate, but as a showcase for all that it means to be proud and British, it could certainly cheer up a few of us.

Hopefully organisers will have learnt from the mistakes of another huge architectural showpiece, the Millennium Dome, both in terms of cost and lasting legacy to the country as a whole.

Image by: Stephen Jones

Built to herald in the new millennium, the Dome itself cost £700 million to build, but in the end much more was eventually ploughed into the project.  After a private opening on New Year ’s Eve, 1999, the original plan was that the venue would be open to the public for a wide range of exhibitions and events from 1st January until 31st December 2000, and it saw 6.5 million visitors through the doors.  Subsequent financial problems and lack of forward planning meant that, sadly, it lay unused for six years afterwards, until O2 reopened it as an events entertainment venue in 2007.

The Biggest Event in the World Needs a Big Welcome

Those who have worked to bring the Olympics and those responsible for the running of the event have bigger ideas though.

According to Sport England, growth in the sport sector has outstripped the economy of the whole of England over the past two decades.

A building project the size of a small city is being erected in London with ingenuously engineered PVC buildings, such as the gloriously quirky basketball arena. These are being constructed at record breaking speeds, ready for the influx of thousands of competitors.

Image by: Lindy Zubairy

London must take full advantage of these new facilities, a city still reeling from a summer which saw the nation’s youths take to the street with widespread vandalism and destruction can provide a legacy for youngsters in sport to funnel their energy into worthwhile character building activities.

The Value of Sport

I have always been a great believer in encouraging kids to take up sports. The focus that a sporting routine can bring to a child’s life is vastly beneficial.

We are used to hearing about kids overcoming adversity through sport in local news stories but unfortunately this is an exception. Yes, there may be fantastic facilities out there such as those opened by Lord Coe at St Marys University College, but they are only available to a small percentage of kids and there are only so many qualified coaches to really engage with them.
But through the construction of Olympic facilities, London will inherit a fantastic opportunity to grow a new generation of athletes.

Forever Blowing Bubbles

With West Ham's bid to own the stadium halted by legal challenges, they are still looking to utilise the Olympic park after the games have finished. Although a guaranteed turnout for matches is a very attractive and stable proposition for the Olympic committee and Lord Coe, perhaps the legacy should focus on athletics?

Using the stadium as a stop gap for a football club whilst they build resources to construct a purposely built venue is misleading to the claims of legacy that helped us secure the games in the first place.

Lord Coe
said recently that "It is very important that we maintain a commitment to an Olympic legacy and to a mix of tenancies in there." Countless amateur and professional sports clubs around the country will be hoping this is not an empty promise.

The true test of the Olympic legacy will be measured long after the event has finished and its temporary structures dismantled.  Danny Boyle says that he is involving 900 local children in the opening ceremony, so that they will always have a connection to this amazing event.  By imprinting it onto their memories, he hopes that their involvement will help keep the place alive and real for them into the future.

Dan Izzard is a freelance journalist writing for
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  2. This is Mega project to build up Olympic village here. All the people are working hard. Ladies are training at Italy Cooking Classes to serve the people who visit here.

  3. No matter what are the hitches(there is always be) the Olympic is the Olympic. It is the fun and the spirit of the competition and the spectacle will count. Not the structures, technology and other firsts. I am excited for the Olympic just like the billions of people around the world. Are people allowed to camp near the venues? There will be a lot of people who have no more place to stay.http://www.stubbletrimmer.net/category/articles/


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