London 2012 legacy lives on in Great Britain
The concept of legacy was a key part of London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and now the promises made by the hosts four years ago are succeeding in delivering world class sporting opportunities in the capital and beyond.
The physical legacy of the Games is still very much in evidence, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sitting proudly in East London – an area of the city that has been utterly transformed by the Games.
The Copper Box, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome are just three of the venues that are not only open to the public but that are still hosting global sporting events.
Premier League side, West Ham United, meanwhile, will call the Olympic Stadium home from this season onwards, sharing a venue which will also double-up as the new national centre for athletics in the UK. The athletics world will again descend on London for the IAAF/IPC World Championships in the summer of 2017.
Elsewhere in the park, there are now three additional tracks nestled alongside the iconic velodrome, with the Lee Valley VeloPark offering some of the world’s best cycling for enthusiasts of mountain biking, BMX and road cycling.
Add a tennis and hockey centre and it’s clear that many of the venues used so memorably in 2012 are still making a contribution to sport and sporting opportunities in the city and beyond.
Beyond the sporting legacy, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be also be the site of 11,000 new homes as the Games make good its promise to transform this area of the city.
Elsewhere in London, an injection of £400,000 from the Olympic legacy fund has assured the long-term future of the Herne Hill velodrome to the south of the Queen Elizabeth Park.
The velodrome already has its place in cycling folklore having been the first training base of Bradley Wiggins, Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian.
It was also the only surviving venue from the previous London Olympics, held in 1948.
As many as 39% of people in Northern Ireland also said that the Olympics had had a positive effect on the sports facilities in their area, illustrating the widespread influence that the Games had on the whole of the UK.
In Derby, for example, the Games’ Iconic Facilities legacy fund has also helped to fund a new multi-use sports arena, including a velodrome and a 12-court sports hall.
It’s the success of Great Britain’s athletes in front of their home crowd, though, which has stuck in the mind of sports lovers across the UK.
Jade Jones, Britain’s first Olympic taekwondo gold medallist will defend her title in Rio and she believes she has truly inspired a generation.
I’ve seen the difference from London – just how many girls have been inspired to take up taekwondo. It’s just amazing to see.Jade Jones Great Britain