London 2012 legacy story off to a good start claims Coe
Thursday, 10 January 2013
January 10 - London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe has claimed the legacy story of the Olympics and Paralympics in the UK has got off to a promising start in the immediate aftermath of the Games.
A new BBC Radio 5 live poll has found that around one in five people have been inspired to play sport by London 2012 with one of the legacy targets of the Games to increase the number of people playing sport around Britain.
Of those polled, 56 per cent also felt there is too much media coverage of football and not enough of other sports while just 35 per cent had noticed an increase in non-football stories since the Games ended almost six months ago.
But on the issue of participation, there have been success stories with cycling experiencing a notable increase
Coe, who also the British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman, said that the work to create a tangible legacy from the Games has only just began but that the results of the poll show a strong start for a tangible London 2012 legacy.
"We are only 24 weeks into a ten year programme to a have 20 per cent uptake [in sport]," Coe to BBC Radio 5 live.
"So this start is pretty good.
"This latest research chimes in large part with some of the research we ourselves have done in the Organising Committee that says 70 per cent of people say that their children are now significantly more positive about sport.
"I think that [the BBC Radio 5 live poll] actually polled people over the age of 18.
"It didn't actually talk to those young people who I know are making a B-line for their local clubs.
"There are other challenges because already, we are beginning to get evidence back that there is quite a long waiting list in some of the clubs.
"But this is a good start."
Coe is particularly focused on the issue as he was appointed Olympics legacy ambassador to Prime Minister David Cameron last year.
The role sees Coe advise the Prime Minister on how best to secure the long-term benefits of hosting the Games, particularly focusing on the economic and business benefits, and the London 2012 chairman has praised Cameron's commitment to creating a tangible legacy from the event.
"I cannot remember in my sporting life, both as a competitor and an administrator, a Prime Minister anywhere in the world, so close on the back of a major event, creating a legacy team," Coe said.
"It shows a real commitment to creating a legacy and that is vital in so many ways.
"Sport is very important, whether it is getting the right level of sport in schools or competitive sport outside the curriculum or sports participation.
"But if you look at the Paralympic legacy, that is not simply about getting more young more people with a disability into sport.
"It is also about the 1,000 extra hotel rooms in London over seven years that were created specifically for the Games of an entirely accessible nature.
"It cuts into transport, it cuts into community so I think the point we are trying to make is that yes, sport is of course very important and yes, you want to capture the moment before memories start to dim, but over the ten years, there will be lots of cost cutting areas where the Games.
"Whether it is communities, whether it is business whether it is getting more young people into sport and also making sure that the extraordinary story we witnessed when we were trooping around the Olympic Park in East London, is still a story that is still of a living, thriving, sustainable community in ten years' time."