London 2012 : Inspiring a generation? Part 2

London 2012 logo reading 'inspired by London 2012'

I recently posted about the Olympics and if the Games had been able to meet its aim to ‘Inspire a Generation’, as a response to a topic raised in the fortnightly blogging debate series called ‘Run with an Idea‘.

Well, today saw the release of the UK government report ‘Inspired by 2012: The legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ which, even taking the facts and figures with a pinch of salt, indicates that the Olympics had a measurable positive impact and is delivering on its promise of ‘legacy’. Perhaps not to the point of inspiring an entire generation, but it is trying hard.

While the (very large) numbers in the ‘economics’ section are certainly encouraging, I think the most important items to note are the key headlines in the ‘Sport and Healthy Living’ section of the report:

  • Increase in funding for elite sport for the four years leading to Rio 2016, 7% for Olympic athletes and 45% for Paralympians. The overall increase is 13%.
  • Investing £27 million to bid for and host more than 70 of the world’s most prestigious sporting events in the UK over four years – including 36 World and European Championships.
  • 1.4 million more people are playing sport once a week since we won the bid in 2005, and £1 billion has been invested over four years into youth and community sport.
  • £150 million a year for primary school sport for two years, starting in September 2013.

In my last post I noted that the legacy of the Olympic Games needed more than just the Olympics, it needed to be supported by ‘big government’ to ensure that the inspiration felt by those during the games could be turned into an ongoing participation in sport. It would seem that this is happening and I hope it will continue. Certainly the numbers are impressive!

Now, sure, some of the data is a bit one sided. For instance, the economic boost does not seem to include the ‘counterfactual’ – what the economy would have done anyway without the Olympics – to allow for a real comparison to be made. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been analysed, it just means it isn’t noted in the report or made clear that the economic modelling accounts ONLY for definable ‘Games related’ improvements. That said, I’m not sure that it’s really important. The key thing is that the Games have had a measurable positive impact on economic legacy in the UK. My opinion is the fact it has had a positive impact is more important than the size of the impact. Yes, it would be nice if the Olympics does ‘turn a profit’, but that isn’t what hosting an Olympics is about.

Similarly, the increase in numbers of sports participants since 2005, while an impressive number, has been taken over a long time. Crucially it includes the period before the Games. Coincidentally, during this same period (and even before 2005) the UK enjoyed increasing success on the international stage in sports such as Rugby, Cricket, Cycling and Swimming just to name a few. Surely this is also part of the reason for the increase in sports participation, not just the Olympics.

Anyway, that is enough nay-saying. Despite the recent drop in participation rates, overall the report points to a picture of positive improvement and at least a long term upward trend in participation in sport. And that is a good thing.

So, back to the original topic of the debate – Did the Olympics ‘Inspire a Generation’?

My answer is still ‘not yet’. But it is looking good for the future…

Happy running everyone!


Get Going, Get Running!

About getgoing-getrunning

Hi, I’m Bernie and I’m a just guy who writes about the things which get me going and get me running, even though my running is never going to result in me standing on a podium!

Posted on July 19, 2013, in Articles, Blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on London 2012 : Inspiring a generation? Part 2.

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