The Olympics

The Olympics


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Wednesday, 25 October 2006

A Waste of Time and Money

It seems, not surprisingly, that the 2012 London Olympics will be a waste of time and money. That at least is the opinion of Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the Central Council for Physical Recreation.

She was giving evidence yesterday to the Olympics hearing held by Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sports.


"It will be a long sunrise and a very short sunset."

She said that the Olympics do not automatically produce a "trickle down" effect:

"There is no evidence that [previous] Olympic Games have increased long-term participation in sport."

Adding that unless urgent action was taken to tackle the question of legacy, it would not happen after 2012.

Simmonds noted that Sport England would be funding the aquatics centre and the velodrome (cost £340M). However, the cost of these projects would mean that other sports would lose two years of lottery funding; Sport England was not being given extra resources.

One MP said:

"This is very depressing."

The Olympic Lottery Distributor had raised issues during the hearing. It said that due to organisational problems, it may have to delay making payments to the Olympic authorities.

David Higgins, chief executive of he Olympic Development Authority, told MPs it had been agreed that the Olympic stadium would have temporary seating for 80,000 spectators, which would fall to 25,000 in legacy mode for athletics.

Higgins was repeatedly pressed on the question of rising construction costs, currently budgeted at £2.375BN.

Higgins, in response, chose to speak instead about the cost of regeneration:

"We could do a very superficial regeneration but it is not a responsible thing to do."

In other words he didn't answer the question, he knows full well that the costs will rise.

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