London 2012's legacy will bring "gold for decades', says Mayor
Thursday, 16 August 2012
August 16 - London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to turn this summer's Olympic and Paralympics into "gold for decades to come" here today.
Johnson (pictured above) sang the praises of London's planning and organisation of the Games, and also hailed the legacy plans in place.
Six of the eight permanent venues built for the Games already have their legacy secure.
A decision on the future of the Olympic Stadium, which Premier League outfit West Ham United is favourite to move into, is expected after the Games.
"If we can take our cue from those Team GB athletes who have worked so blindingly hard for this moment we can ensure the continued momentum of London 2012," he said.
"We can secure a transport, housing, infrastructure, sporting, cultural and social legacy for London and turn these Games to gold for decades to come."
Johnson also argued that London's plans were further developed than any other Olympic host city to date.
The Velodrome and BMX track will become the new VeloPark operated by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, who will also re-open the canoe slalom venue in Waltham Abbey at the start of September.
The Basketball Arena is a temporary venue which can be packed away and re-used elsewhere.
Another temporary venue, the Riverbank Arena, will be moved to Eton Manor.
The Aquatics Centre will have some of its temporary seating removed and become a communal swimming pool, while the Handball Arena is a multi-use arena more versatile than any of the other Olympic venues.
A number of key international sports events are also coming to some of these venues.
Among the tournaments to be staged in the capital, is the 2015 European Hockey Championships and the World Athletics Championship at the Olympic Stadium in 2017.
London is also bidding to host the track cycling World Championships and the European Swimming Championships, both in 2016.
Aside from London 2012's sporting legacy, the Olympic Park will be regenerated and renamed the Queen Elizabeth II Park.
The Park will include health centres, schools, parks and over 2,800 new homes, as well as the already open Westfield shopping centre.
Over the next 20 years, five new neighbourhoods will also be established in the Park.
"London is unlike many other Olympic cities in that we have planned the future of our venues," Johnson said.
"We really proved the doubters wrong.
"I think it has been an amazing display of what you can do if you plan and work for years and years on a project.
"Once the Queen Elizabeth Park has been re opened it will attract nine million visitors a year and be one of the top ten must see sites in London.
"It is a kind of paradise on the banks of the River Lea, where a lunar landscape of abandoned fridges and trolleys has been turned into a biodiverse habitat."
That habitat features 22 miles of interlinking pathways, waterways and cyclepaths.
The Park will open in phases from July 2013, and is set to be one of the biggest construction projects in Europe.