Head of IOC Athletes' Commission joins call for Olympic Stadium to keep track after London 2012
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
January 12 - Frankie Fredericks, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Athletes' Commission, today added his voice to the growing chorus for London 2012 to honour its bid promise and retain the running track at the Olympic Stadium after the Games.
The Namibian, a four-time Olympic silver medallist having finished second in the 100 and 200 metres at Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996, is now a member of the IOC Coordination Commission for London 2012 and hopes that they will keep their pledge to provide athletics with a legacy after the Games.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) is due to make a decision by the end of March about whether the Stadium will be taken over by West Ham United, whose proposal includes retaining the track, and Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who plan to rip it up.
"Obviously being an Olympian I would like that they continue to keep the legacy and hopefully the track can stay," he said here today.
There is now no physical reminders of the last two occasions London hosted the Olympics with White City Stadium, the centrepiece of the 1908 Games, now a BBC car park, and Wembley, the main stadium for the 1948 event, having been rebuilt, and Fredericks hopes that 2012 will be different.
"If you take a Usain Bolt or young Olympian coming up and winning a medal in London it would be nice for him or her to go the stadium, take their kids to visit it later," Fredericks said.
"It would be a nicer feeling than Atlanta.
"I haven't been back there because the track is not there.
"It's an empty feeling not being able to take your kids back because it is a baseball stadium."
Fredericks, however, acknowledged that London is in a difficult position ensuring that the Stadium does not become a white elephant.
"We also want whoever takes over the stadium can maintain it," he said.
"Initially we knew that the Stadium would be 80,000 people and then the top would be taken off and it would be reduced to 25,000 people to keep the legacy.
"But we were hit by the economic crisis and obviously the London organisrs wants to make sure that it has a future."
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