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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Olympic Fortunes - what has been the legacy of London 2012?

A few weeks ago, I asked fellow travellers in Twittersphere about their views of Olympic Legacy.  This was not just a random act of nosiness, as Sebastian Coe had just been given responsibility for the International Inspirations, which seems to be seen by those in power as an important part of the Legacy programme.

For no very good reason, I decided to turn my little survey into a 'Family Fortunes' style affair, and stopped the poll at 100 responses.  As (depending on your age and nationality) Vernon Kay, Les Dennis, Bob Monkhouse or some large-toothed American TV presenter might say:


It is important to recognise that this is not in any way a scientific study. The aim of the survey was simply to take a snapshot of people's views, and those people formed what researchers called a self-selected sample. In other words, it would be a mistake to assume that the hundred people surveyed here work in any way representative of the population as a whole.

On the other hand, this strong dose of humility ought to be partially balanced against the likelihood that (since the survey was promoted mainly through my Twitter-feed) most respondents worked in or near sport, in one way or another.  So, perhaps they could claim some special insight into the matter.

I lack the computer skills (and inclination) to offer an interactive reveal of the findings.  And maybe that is not necessary and the results are fascinating enough.

The results are what politicians might euphemistically call "disappointing". 65% of respondents claiming that Olympic Legacy commitments have been based is a rather damning report card, although a figure of less than 10% claiming that commitments had been met is possibly even worse!

Respondents were also invited to make a comment about the Olympic Legacy, and a selection of these responses has offered below.  I have decided not to organise them, but rather let them speak for themselves as individual contributions to the debate.

Is it too soon to be able to measure this yet?

Clearly some legacy commitments are quicker to achieve than others, and rightly so, it shouldn't just be a flash in the pan process. Others will take time such add the cycling cross rail development in London. Others will take time to realise success or failure such as the impact on school sport and participation rates. Dispute the gloom mongers we can't judge too soon, whilst she same time those with responsibly at all levels must remain focused on the legacy cause and steadfast in their approach to achieve legacy commitments.

It will take 10 years to make the population level changes, as young people 'inspired' mature and adults inspired stay involved.

Lack of commitment in the run-up to the Games and a lack of imagination.

I feel strongly that the olympic "legacy" has been very much missed. The thrust of Sport england's initatives are currently 14-25 (at best a difficult age group to engage) - we need to make a concerted effort to (re)introduce "sport" in all its forms to primary school children.

The jumping on the back of other programmes is not a London Legacy. These seems to be little, if anything, that has actually been inspired by L2012 rather than programmes that were in operation already that L2012 has given a polish to.

Much of the legacy aspiration is in talking up something that had never been planned properly in order to ensure that it was achieved. It is now simply and mereley government and organisational rhetoric with no substance at all.

The interest was created in the initial aftermarth of the games, where many people had the drive and motivation to be more active, the amount that have carried that on and the reasons behind that are at presently up for discussion. So a kind of half way house. Personally I believe that as well as what hasdn't been done, what has and what has been effective should be extended / researched.

Issue is twofold - people see the legacy as creating new gold medal winners whilst others see it as a way to address the health of the nation. If the health of the nation was improved dramatically but we got no gold medals in Rio would people be happy with the legacy?

Nothing has really changed outside the east end of London, kids still do to little exercise and are mainly driven to school by their parents The only thing that has really changed is that i have a set of good memories!

Strategy has focussed on activity provision at local level - more of the same. However, what I believe we need in UK is a cultural shift i.e believing, thinking and then doing Health Sport and Education considered in a holistic fashion with investment looked at broad terms not segmented in historical silos and competition on who gets what and why We need all of the spectrum of physical activity, sport and physical education provision If we were starting again we would take an alternative and somewhat radical view of how our current provision is deployed.

All talk and no action.

Cuts completely undermine this. Look around at local level posts of people who have had an impact on youth participation and how quickly they are disappearing.

Not enough investment and activity following the Games to make a meaningful impact from grass roots to elite sport.

I think many factors contribute towards a succussful legacy, from participation rates, regeneration of London, improved and accessible facilities to the nations attitudes towards sport and eachother. This is why it seems almost impossible for us to know if there is a legacy, and how positive the legacy is. The question of timing also needs to asked, at what point do we draw the line and collect data to determine if we have a legacy or not? And if we do that, what do we do as a result of the information. We could celebrate what has been achieved and continue to develop it, or just admit defeat and maybe hope that the best is yet to come. I think a lot of positives have come from the Olympics and Paralympics which is why I believe we are nearly there with the legacy. The main priorities of legacy need to be integrated into the roots of sport to ensure that we have infact inspired a generation, and the next one and the next one … A lot more needs to be done to integrate into a society a culture of physical activity and healthy living to ensure the Olympic legacy is positive, and long lasting.

Sport in school was cut when the Tories came in and no way of making it better has been worked out.

Now that the games are over there is no sign of any legacy. I see no additional attempts to persuade or indeed help fund young people to have ago at new sports.

If anyone mentions actual 'legacy' within months of the games, that's like saying there is a Wimbledon legacy as tennis courts fill up for a fortnight.

So much promise to start with, new facilities, new passion and new opportunities but it seems it was just a phase and now we are left to be independent again and the Olympics is 'put to the back of the draw' as to speak. Would the 'legacy' not indicate continuation and additional effort such as primary school specialists and coaching? Maybe not, maybe the inaccessible arenas will motivate the nation.

Games that inspired a nation but the 'dream legacy ' is an unfulfilled one .We need some government backing, some decisions and some drive. It’s all there. 2012 proved that. But unless something is done - it will all be - a dream.

Most people talk about the Olympics that amazing summer last year... But that's it! No legacy. I thought school would be bombarded with Legacy projects in the new term ... But nothing. The momentum, I fear, has been lost.

It appears that it is all talk and no action. In fact if what we read is true it is going backwards with the selling off of playground space, no expectation of sport and physical education and cuts in funding.

I believe that despite all the percieved good the Olympics have done for participation in Sport, they are still an out-dated institution where able-bodied and disabled competitors are segregated. They also focus on the competitor over any of the other important roles that make the games, events and sports happen, ignoring the whole community of practice as it were. 

It would be great to receive further commentary on this important issue via Twitter (@DrDickB).

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