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Above: Paul brings the Olympic flame to the Isle of Man. Right: Paul and Lord Coe help to issue Games Maker uniforms

that sat at the heart of London’s bid to host the Games back in 2005. Deighton insists however, that this promise has been very much hard-wired into everything LOCOG has done. “In very simple terms, the organising

committee firmly believes that the better the Games the more inspirational they will be to young people across the world, who will want to emulate their sporting heroes after seeing them in action. We’ve helped to facilitate the efforts of the gov- ernment and the Mayor to provide other interventions, such as functional facilities and coaching opportunities, so that inspi- ration is actually captured and sustained for the longer term. “When Seb [Coe] and I visit schools and

communities around the country we wit- ness all sorts of activities and projects that have sprung up, which is very reassuring. “However, one of the challenges I think has simply been measuring the impact of these initiatives as well as making sure that sports opportunities are properly em- bedded in the school system here. Sport is very much part of the curriculum in our independent schools, but there’s a need to raise its profile in state schools. Plus we need to look at ways that people can car- ry on playing their chosen sport they once they’ve left the school environment.”

Economic benefits Deighton says that apart from the sporting legacy, another tangible benefit linked to hosting the Games is the £6.5bn worth of business that the Games set up has generated for 2,000 companies across the British isles.

The better the Games the more inspirational they will be to

young people across the world, who will want to emulate their sporting heroes after seeing them in action

I put it to Deighton that the current

issue for many companies that have de- signed, built and supplied equipment to the Games is that they have been unable to promote this association. He said: “There’s absolutely no prob-

lem with companies factually reporting on what their involvement was with the Games, the only restrictions are around advertising and that’s in place simply to protect the interests of the sponsors. We have 55 sponsors who’ve put well over a £1bn into the Games and without them that would be another £1bn which the UK Treasury would have to provide, which wouldn’t be very popular either. “If companies are going after other

business there’s nothing to stop them saying to the people who are holding the pen ‘this is what we did as part of the Olympic Games’.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing Now that we are just days away from the London Games’ Opening Ceremony, I asked him what he’d do differently if he could start the project all over again?

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“I suppose I would have done everything slightly better because I’d have known what the things were to stress and what the things were to avoid,” he says. “I think that it mostly boils down to acknowl- edging, right from the very beginning, that every single organisation involved is really playing for London 2012 not for LOCOG, or the London Mayor or the Lon- don Borough of Newark or the DCMS [Department of Culture, Media and Sport] – because by Games-time we’ll all be wearing the same London 2012 t-shirt.” “Having said that, I think that

this project has been a marvellous demonstration of collaboration – both organisationally and politically – we’re very fortunate to have had cross party support from the very beginning,” he says. So once the Games are over, what’s

next for Deighton? “My head is so focused on getting

this right the last thing I want to do is allow my focus to drift now,” he says. “I never did take a gap year after college so maybe that’s what I should do afterward to decompress!” l

Issue 3 2012 © cybertrek 2012

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