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OPINION


OLYMPIC LEGACY BRITAIN’S


with The Financial Times remarking how empty hotel beds, theatre seats and West End shops created a ‘ghost town.’ It suggested the 100,000 Games visi-


I


tors were not spending what the normal 300,000 tourists do, and British Retail Consortium figures suggested that they were down 0.4 per cent on 2011. This effect occurs during every Olym-


pics, but it was perhaps more noticeable in London – the world’s largest retail and theatre concentration. It’s important for future Games planning to drill into the data and to see whether (and how much) visitors spend before they go home.


IMPACT ON PARTICIPATION No summer Games has produced an in- crease in sports participation. Indeed, five years after the Athens 2004 Games, participation in Greece had fallen be- low the pre-Games level. Research into the ‘soft legacy’ of the 2004 Athens


n the short term, the ‘warned-off’ effect that occurs in every summer Olympic Games host city seemed very noticeable in central London,


MIKE COLLINS, FORMER HEAD OF RESEARCH, PLANNING AND STRATEGY AT SPORT ENGLAND, OFFERS HIS OPINIONS ON THE STATE OF BRITISH SPORTS POLICY, LEGACY AND RESEARCH


Olympics by Dr Sakis Pappous, of the University of Kent’s Centre for Sport Studies, shows that the Athens Olympics failed to spark a sustained increase in people taking part in a sport or other exercise activity. (For more information and data on the impact of the Olym- pic Games on participation, see Coalter, 2004; McCartney et al, 2010). Sport England’s huge Active People


survey showed a small increase in partic- ipation three months before the London event after two years of decline, which can be attributed to the recession. The final data on the sixth Active Peo-


ple survey – covering 2011-12 – suggests that there has been a modest increase in participation in the last year, notably by women, people in the upper social groups and those with a disability. The


sports that have the most impressive increases in participation levels were cy- cling, athletics, swimming and tennis. Given the recession’s length and se-


verity, it seems unlikely that this increase will be any better sustained than the small annual surge of demand for tennis courts immediately after Wimbledon.


LONDON’S LEGACY London 2012 delivered a great spec- tacle and enthralling festival of sport, as many of us in the business knew it would. What follows for legacy? 1. Budgets Usually governments cut sports bud- gets after the Olympics, on the dubious argument that ‘you’ve had your turn now it’s somebody else’s.’ I agree with Lord Moynihan that if the coalition wants a sporting and anti-obesity lega- cy, it should not do so this time. 2. Schools Schools need better support, such as proper training for primary teachers of PE, instead of relying on schools taking up voluntary and self-funded training offered by the Youth Sport Trust. They also need the manpower and co-


Will the London 2012 Games be the first summer Olympiad to increase participation? 56 Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital


ordination that Michael Gove cut when he abolished the Youth Sport Strategy in 2009 – one of the worst decisions of the coalition. He also needs to support girls better. Many of them dislike competi- tion which is at the core of his rather outdated, public-school policy for school sport. Also, disabled pupils still get a poor choice of activities and inadequate trained support. Moreover, the Sport and Recreation Alliance criticised the


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