Legacy of the 2012 Summer Olympics

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The future use of the Olympic Stadium and the park is key to the legacy of the games

The London 2012 Olympic Legacy is the longer-term benefits and effects of the planning, funding, building and staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in summer 2012. It is variously described [1] as:

  • economic – supporting new jobs and skills, encouraging trade, inward investment and tourism
  • sporting – continuing elite success, development of more sports facilities and encouraging participation in schools sports and wider
  • social and volunteering – inspiring others to volunteer and encouraging social change
  • regeneration – reuse of venues, new homes, improved transportation, in East London and at other sites across the UK.

The 2012 legacy is coordinated by the UK Government who appointed Lord Sebastian Coe as the London 2012 legacy ambassador in August 2012.[2]

Recent examples of the 2012 legacy benefits and results include:

  • learning – shared knowledge and lessons learned from the construction of the Olympic Park and preparing and staging the Games[3]
  • economic – 2012 apprenticeships in broadcasting companies including the BBC and ITV [4]
  • sporting – reports that school sports participation has not been boosted[5] and may not be being taken seriously [6]
  • regeneration – the re-opening of the Olympic Park as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in July 2013 [7]
  • tourism – the Games’ long term benefits on London’s and Britain’s tourism industry

Bid Pledges[edit]

The London bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games included bid chairman Lord Coe placing a pledge to use the events to inspire two million people to take up sport and physical activity at the heart of the bid.[8] Legacy includes sporting, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits, and aims to ensure that no "white elephants" were created by the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Paralympics. [9] The London Legacy Development Corporation is a mayoral development corporation responsible for the Olympic Park area.

Construction Phase – The Big Build[edit]

The Olympic Delivery Authority stated that legacy use and community regeneration were "locked-in" to the planning and designing of Olympic and Paralympic venues and infrastructure, and cited the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre and Olympic and Paralympic sailing facilities in Weymouth as examples showing "a clear focus on sporting, economic, social, and environmental legacy".[10]

Legacy plans[edit]

Map of the current layout of the Olympic Park

Since the London 2012 Paralympic Games finished on 9 September 2012 the UK Government has unveiled an updated Legacy Plan.[11] Its main points include:

  • funding for elite sport until Rio 2016
  • investment to turn the Olympic site into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • 20 major sporting events to UK by 2019, with more bids in progress
  • £1bn investment over the next five years in the Youth Sport Strategy, linking schools with sports clubs and encouraging sporting habits for life
  • introduction of the School Games programme to boost schools sport and county sport festivals
  • continued funding for International Inspiration, the UK's international sports development programme, to 2014.

There have been several previous legacy plans. These include:

Legacy Plan 2010[edit]

In December 2010, the Government published a new Legacy plan, which set out the legacy vision for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and the detailed plans underpinning it. It identified four areas to focus on: harnessing the UK’s passion for sport to increase grassroots participation, particularly by young people, and to encourage the whole population to be more physically active; exploiting to the full the opportunities for economic growth offered by hosting the Games; promoting community engagement and achieving participation across all groups in society through the Games; and ensuring that the Olympic Park can be developed after the Games as one of the principal drivers of regeneration in East London.[12]

Six borough plans 2009[edit]

The six London boroughs hosting the Games – Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – published plans for legacy in 2009. This was outlined in the Strategic Regeneration Framework which included the objective that by 2030, the communities hosting the Games would have the same social and economic life chances as at least the London average.[13] This is the principle of Convergence and guides its joint working on legacy.

Legacy Action Plan 2008[edit]

A Legacy Action Plan to implement legacy promises was published on 6 June 2008.[14] With comments that the legacy has been published several years earlier than previous Olympics and critics claiming the plan lacks the detail needed to implement an effective legacy.[8] The GLA published a legacy commitments document in 2007.

Legacy Plan 2007[edit]

The government published its legacy plans via the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Legacy Promises document, published in 2007. The five promises were:[15]

  • Make the UK a world-leading sporting nation
  • Transform the heart of the East End of London
  • Inspire a generation of young people to take part in local volunteering, cultural, and physical activity
  • Make the Olympic Park a blueprint for sustainable living
  • Demonstrate the UK is a creative, inclusive, and welcoming place to live in, visit, and for business

Strategic Regeneration Framework[edit]

The Strategic Regeneration Framework and Convergence make real the promise in the original bid document that “By staging the Games in this part of the city, the most enduring legacy of the Olympics will be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there”.[16] The principle of Convergence is included in the Mayor of London’s spatial development strategy, known as The London Plan 2011.[17]

Proven legacy[edit]

The Japanese style 'Olympic Javelin' bullet trains used to ferry spectators at London 2012 [18] began to run on 28 July 2012 and were still running as of February 2018, serving more destinations but at a lower frequency. Some station upgrades also occurred.[19] [20]

Chigwell Popchoir performed at the Olympic Park in 2014. [21]

Sport relief occurred at the Olympic Park in 2013,[22] [23] 2014,[21] 2015 and in 2016. [24]

When concert promoters Live Nation won the right to stage shows at the stadium and in the surrounding park during January, 2013, but only the park was used.[25] The site of the former Riverbank Arena slated to be the stage for Hard Rock Calling, Wireless and Electric Daisy Carnival festivals in 2013.[26]

The Lee Valley Hockey Centre was borne from a revamp of the Olympic Legacy Hockey Facility and is the home ground of Wapping Hockey Club.[27]

Legacy bodies[edit]

The London Legacy Development Corporation is responsible for planning for, and delivering, the future development of the Olympic Park. It replaced the Olympic Park Legacy Company which had been set up in 2009.[28]

Criticisms and concerns[edit]

Criticism of the London 2012 legacy includes the legacy not meeting its original ambitions with a decrease in 2014/15 in the number of people playing sport for at least half an hour a week of 125,100.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beyond 2012 – The London 2012 Legacy Story". London: Government. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  2. ^ "PM appoints Seb Coe as Olympics legacy ambassador". London. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Learning Legacy". Government. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  4. ^ "BBC - Press Office - BBC expands London Apprentice Scheme". BBC. 10 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Olympics has not boosted school sport, survey suggests". BBC News. 19 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Politicians risk wasting Olympic legacy, says Alliance head". BBC Sport. 17 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b Kelso, Paul (6 June 2008). "Games key legacy will be free swimming for all". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Olympic legacy: lowering the bar again". building.co.uk. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  10. ^ "London 2012 – Legacy in the lead". LOCOG. 30 January 2007. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  11. ^ "London 2012 legacy plan published". bbc.co.uk. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Legacy From the Games" (PDF). London: www.culture.gov.uk. 14 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  13. ^ "Hackney Council – 2012 Games – The Host Boroughs and the Strategic Regeneration Framework". hackney.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Tessa Jowell launches action plan for London 2012 legacy". TheyWorkForYou. www.theyworkforyou.com. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Our Promise for 2012: How the UK will benefit from the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games" (PDF). DCMS. www.dcms.gov.uk. 24 June 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  16. ^ "Official Reports, Studies, Publications - Downloads - Olympic.org" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012.
  17. ^ http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/The%20London%20Plan%202011.pdf[dead link]
  18. ^ "Olyimpic Javelin Train - Discover High Speed UK Rail Travel..."
  19. ^ "High speed trains to ferry spectators to Olympic Park". ITV. 28 July 2012.
  20. ^ "High speed trains to ferry spectators to Olympic Park". ITV News.
  21. ^ a b "'Popchoir' set for Olympic Park performance". East London and West Essex Guardian Series.
  22. ^ "Join the fun and games". Comic Relief.
  23. ^ "J Sainsbury plc / Thousands to get active in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for Sainsbury's Sport Relief Games". J Sainsbury. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park". Sport Relief. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  25. ^ Live Nation strikes deal to exclusively host gigs at Olympic Stadium. The Guardian. Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
  26. ^ Live Nation secures Olympic Park for concerts. BBC News (22 January 2013). Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
  27. ^ BBC Television (19 June 2014) "Lee Valley: Latest Olympic Legacy Venue Opens in Stratford BBC London News. Retrieved on August 2014.
  28. ^ Hill, Dave (15 November 2009). "Olympic Park Legacy Company Board Members Named". Guardian. London: www.guardian.com. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  29. ^ Gibson, Owen (25 March 2015). "Golden promises of London 2012's legacy turn out to be idle boasts". Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2016.

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