We won’t let Olympic legacy die, promises British Prime Minister and Mayor of London

Tuesday, 29 January 2013
By Tom Degun

Cameron and JohnsonJanuary 29 - Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson have issued a joint letter promising not to let the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy die by avoiding the mistakes made by previous Games host cities.

With this month marking the six month anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Cameron and Johnson have hit back at claims that the legacy has been squandered.

"As we trudged through the snow on a cold, dark January morning, last summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games may have felt a bit of a distant memory in recent weeks," said the joint letter that appeared in London's Evening Standard.

"But six months on from that unforgettable Opening Ceremony, we are both as committed as ever to making the most of the Games.

"And together with Seb Coe (the London 2012 chairman and Prime Minister's legacy ambassador) we are determined to generate a momentum that will ensure the greatest Games ever deliver a legacy that lasts a lifetime.

"At the heart of this legacy is the jobs and growth we need in Britain to compete globally.

"One of the great advantages of the Games is that they have enhanced Britain's ability to sell to the world.

"In the past few days we have both been out to Davos helping British businesses to make the most of this — including meeting the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, whose country will host the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year, where Britain has already won 60 contracts and could yet win even more.

"But the most important thing in delivering a successful legacy is to learn the lessons of the past.

"Too often successful Games have not been followed by the decisive action needed to secure an enduring legacy.

"We will not make those same mistakes."

The pair highlight the Government's landmark deal with the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that will allow Games suppliers to actively promote their involvement in the Olympics and Paralympics for the first time ever.

"As a result (of the deal), tens of thousands of British businesses that did such fantastic work will now at long last get the benefits of the public recognition they deserve – helping us towards our goal of achieving £13 billion ($21 billion/€16 billion) of benefits for British business as a result of the Games," they said, before stressing the importance of reopening the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford quickly.
 
olympic parkDavid Cameron and Boris Johnson say that reopening the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford this year will help ensure a real legacy from the London 2012 Games

"In previous Games, host nations have been slow to develop and re-open their stadium and park.

"Not so in Britain.

"The future of seven of our fantastic venues is secure.

"The long-term use of the stadium itself, the eighth venue, will be decided shortly.

"We are re-opening the Copper Box, the Stadium and the North Park to the public this summer, with a major programme of concerts and world-class sport, including the Ride London festival of cycling and, on the first anniversary of the Olympics, the Diamond League athletics meeting, featuring many of our 2012 heroes.

"It is an achievement unmatched by any previous host city in Olympic history.

"And with the rest of the site open next year, the newly renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is set to attract a million visitors a year by 2016, with all the economic benefits that increased tourism will bring."

The letter was also used to illustrate their commitment to a Paralympic legacy.

"Whereas after some Paralympics the impact waned a bit, in Britain we are investing millions of pounds in new projects to help disabled people get into sport," it explained.

"This year we are seeing the first festival of disability sport.

"And when Britain hosts the World Athletics Championships in 2017, we won't just hold the world championships in the Olympic stadium

"For the first time in athletics history, we have an agreement to hold the IPC Paralympic Athletics World Cup alongside it; such is the scale of the impact of London 2012 on the way people now think about disability.

"So six months on we are putting as much focus on the legacy of the Games as we did on delivering the Games in the first place.

"And by learning the lessons of the past we will make sure that the greatest Olympic and Paralympic Games ever really do benefit our entire country for generations to come."

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