By David Gold

Gold Coast_2018_28-08-12August 27 - Legacy has been the watchword of the summer for the London 2012 organisers, but Australia's Gold Coast is looking to deliver what it calls a "pregacy" – bringing the benefits of hosting the Commonwealth Games to the city years in advance.

Gold Coast 2018 is keen to ensure that sports participation is maximised in the years leading up to the $1.1 billion (£737 million/€884 million) event.

The Organising Committee's general manager of marketing and communications, Andrew Woodward, said: "Our show isn't for [another] five-and-a-half years, but we do not just want to put on a great event in 2018.

"We're looking upon this as 11 days of sport and a decade of opportunity.

"And that decade of opportunity starts before the Games.

"Legacy generally means something of benefit afterwards.

"What we're looking at is 'pregacy' – that's where you have a benefit to the community prior to the Games.

"And we're looking at this across the board.

"We can see benefits for trade and investment, for tourism, for the education community and for sport."

Gold Coast_sports_27_AugustGold Coast 2018 hopes the area's inhabitants will continue enjoying a healthy outdoor lifestyle in the years preceding the Commonwealth Games

Part of the plans includes a new swimming venue to which it is hoped can be used in the years prior to the Commonwealth Games.

But much of the pregacy will depend on an increase in participation in sport, given that 80 per cent of the venues and much of the infrastructure needed are already in place.

"Here on the Gold Coast we have a fantastic outdoor lifestyle," said Woodward.

"So what we're thinking about is how we can use the Commonwealth Games to help push the health agenda and get health benefits across the community.

"For example, we're looking at a swimming venue to be used in 2018, but we can bring that forward a few years to bring some additional [participation] benefits before the Games."

Of significant advantage to the Gold Coast is the experience from hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in 2000 in Sydney.

The expertise gained at those Games has been used across the world, including during this summer's Olympics in London.

Sydney 2000The experience Sydney gained in hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in 2000 will prove invaluable to the Gold Coast 2018 team

Australian companies have also been busy playing a part in preparations for other major sports events, including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympics and the football World Cup being held in Brazil in the same year.

They are also involved in every future World Cup and Olympic and Paralympics already awarded as well as with the bidding committees for future Games.

"There would be no point in taking the whole Sydney model and replicating it here on the Gold Coast," Woodward said.

"[But] there is a tremendous body of knowledge that you don't just use once.

"There's a whole lot of Australians out there with a whole lot of skills being used in London, Brazil, Russia, the Middle East and South Korea.

"We're able to tap a lot of those skills and utilise them here."

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