What would success or failure in the 2012 Olympics mean for London?

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With four years to go, the race is on to make 2012 a world-beating event that does our city proud. The Time Out team asks an array of experts what failure or success in staging the Olympics would mean


  • Failure | Success

    Failure

    Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

    ‘If 2012 all went wrong, the Olympic zone would become just another development site. The Olympics going to plan is key for Hackney; the borough needs a change of reputation.’

    Siôn Whellens, client services director, Calverts design and printing co-operative

    ‘Financial failure could see the land and property sold to the highest bidders. If development is done on the cheap, it could deteriorate quickly. Any economic benefits would be short-lived, then there would be a surge in poverty.’

    Tony Benn, former Labour MP and left-wing activist

    ‘If we are still at war in Iraq, there will be security problems. Look at what happened at the Munich Olympics [in 1972, when 11 members of the Israeli team were murdered by Palestinian terrorists]. Still, in 1948 we were a bankrupt country: we did our best and had a successful Games. We can do it again.’

    Max Clifford, publicist

    ‘It’s a showcase for the country; we should get behind it. It’s up to the PR people to get the message out to answer those who will say, “This is how much it’s costing and we need a new hospital!” ’

    Cllr Chris Roberts, Council Leader for Greenwich (Labour)

    ‘It doesn’t worry me; we’re taking responsibility for the legacy as a borough. Councils must remember, after 2012 there won’t be an Olympic Delivery Authority or a London Organising Committee, so it’s up to them and the residents.’

    Will Alsop, Alsop Architects

    ‘The Victorians just did stuff: make a fucking big memorial to Albert and paint it gold, or build the Tube. Now, we do things half-heartedly: we won’t spend enough. The stadium should be an icon, but ours is about how much can be removed afterwards. It was the same with Wembley, which looks like a hoop on top of a business park.’

    Mark Borkowski, publicist and author of ‘The Fame Formula’

    ‘Hopefully, Beijing won’t be very good. Many are uncomfortable with handing the Olympic torch to the Chinese, but that’s to London’s advantage. The big failure would be not leaving a meaningful legacy. This Mayor talks about dismantling half the facilities without considering what else to do with them.’

    Stephen Armstrong, author of ‘War Plc’

    ‘At the British Association of Private Security Companies’ last annual conference, Tarique Ghaffur [the Met assistant commissioner, in charge of Olympic security] warned that the Met was way overstretched, what with the Diamond Jubilee, Wimbledon, football matches and Notting Hill Carnival. He suggested part-privatising policing and asked the BASPC for help. Now, I’d love the Olympics to work, but I think giving private security companies the right to police our city would be a very scary mistake.’

    Vince Cable MP, the Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader

    ‘We should not try to compete with China in laying on a vast orchestrated spectacle. I want to see maximum use of existing venues, unobtrusive security and easy public access rather than special treatment for IOC “fat cats”. Better a mediocre Games than an extravaganza leaving a legacy of debt.’

    Sir John Tusa, former MD of Barbican Arts Centre

    ‘It would be a disaster – the Dome disaster quadrupled – if it all went badly, and very bad for national self-respect. We’d think we couldn’t do anything. It mustn’t fail.’

    Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham

    ‘As far as Newham is concerned, we’ve got the country’s biggest volunteer programme out of this, so what’s the worst that can happen for us? It might not change as many lives as we want. But we’re going to try.’

    Simon Inglis author of ‘Sightlines: A Stadium Odyssey’

    ‘If it goes wrong, it will be because the country is in such a poor economic state. But I do fear that the pollution, censorship and drugs in Beijing could taint the Olympic name. To me, it’s not about infrastructure, it’s about whether the Games will be a welcome event by 2012.’

    Elliott Frisby, Visit Britain

    ‘Britain’s position as the world’s sixth most visited destination is being challenged by exotic, “undiscovered” destinations, particularly China: last year, for the first time since 2001, international visits to Britain fell year-on-year. Without the help of the 2012 Games, we could find it becoming increasingly difficult – in a glum economic climate – to win more visits for British destinations.’

    Mark Borkowski, publicist and author of ‘The Fame Formula’

    ‘Even if it were to go wrong, London always regenerates itself, no matter what is thrown at it, from the Blitz to the recent terrorist attacks. I don’t think London needs the Olympics to remain relevant.’

    Jerry White, historian and author of ‘London in the Nineteenth Century’

    ‘I’m fearful about whether people will be able to get to the events on public transport easily enough. But my main worry is that the detractors will have a field day with any embarrassing difficulty and exploit it to rubbish the Games and those who’ve worked hard to make a success of them.’

    Spokesperson for the GB Rowing team

    ‘We don’t necessarily need to worry about a negative scenario, as the venue for our sport, Dorney Lake in Eton, is already constructed and was successfully used to stage the 2006 World Championships.’

    Cassie Smith, Women’s Sport

    ‘There is already some evidence that the Games are not being received as well by women as by men. A survey in 2005 found that only a third of women would consider attending, compared to 58 per cent of men. Recent research also showed that only 33 per cent of Londoners thought their borough would benefit noticeably from the Olympics, with women again being more sceptical.’Failure | Success

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‘It doesn’t worry me; we’re taking responsibility for the legacy as a borough. Councils must remember, after 2012 there won’t be an Olympic Delivery Authority or a London Organising Committee, so it’s up to them and the residents.’‘The Victorians just did stuff: make a fucking big memorial to Albert and paint it gold, or build the Tube. Now, we do things half-heartedly: we won’t spend enough. The stadium should be an icon, but ours is about how much can be removed afterwards. It was the same with Wembley, which looks like a hoop on top of a business park.’‘Hopefully, Beijing won’t be very good. Many are uncomfortable with handing the Olympic torch to the Chinese, but that’s to London’s advantage. The big failure would be not leaving a meaningful legacy. This Mayor talks about dismantling half the facilities without considering what else to do with them.’ ‘At the British Association of Private Security Companies’ last annual conference, Tarique Ghaffur [the Met assistant commissioner, in charge of Olympic security] warned that the Met was way overstretched, what with the Diamond Jubilee, Wimbledon, football matches and Notting Hill Carnival. He suggested part-privatising policing and asked the BASPC for help. Now, I’d love the Olympics to work, but I think giving private security companies the right to police our city would be a very scary mistake.’‘We should not try to compete with China in laying on a vast orchestrated spectacle. I want to see maximum use of existing venues, unobtrusive security and easy public access rather than special treatment for IOC “fat cats”. Better a mediocre Games than an extravaganza leaving a legacy of debt.’‘It would be a disaster – the Dome disaster quadrupled – if it all went badly, and very bad for national self-respect. We’d think we couldn’t do anything. It mustn’t fail.’ ‘As far as Newham is concerned, we’ve got the country’s biggest volunteer programme out of this, so what’s the worst that can happen for us? It might not change as many lives as we want. But we’re going to try.’ ‘If it goes wrong, it will be because the country is in such a poor economic state. But I do fear that the pollution, censorship and drugs in Beijing could taint the Olympic name. To me, it’s not about infrastructure, it’s about whether the Games will be a welcome event by 2012.’ ‘Britain’s position as the world’s sixth most visited destination is being challenged by exotic, “undiscovered” destinations, particularly China: last year, for the first time since 2001, international visits to Britain fell year-on-year. Without the help of the 2012 Games, we could find it becoming increasingly difficult – in a glum economic climate – to win more visits for British destinations.’‘Even if it were to go wrong, London always regenerates itself, no matter what is thrown at it, from the Blitz to the recent terrorist attacks. I don’t think London needs the Olympics to remain relevant.’‘I’m fearful about whether people will be able to get to the events on public transport easily enough. But my main worry is that the detractors will have a field day with any embarrassing difficulty and exploit it to rubbish the Games and those who’ve worked hard to make a success of them.’‘We don’t necessarily need to worry about a negative scenario, as the venue for our sport, Dorney Lake in Eton, is already constructed and was successfully used to stage the 2006 World Championships.’‘There is already some evidence that the Games are not being received as well by women as by men. A survey in 2005 found that only a third of women would consider attending, compared to 58 per cent of men. Recent research also showed that only 33 per cent of Londoners thought their borough would benefit noticeably from the Olympics, with women again being more sceptical.’Failure | Success

Users say

2 comments
Justin
Justin

A 27 million pound opening Ceremony while our elderly die due to no heating.these games are a farce which this country cannot afford and never could.

T
T

What happens to all the facilities after it has finished, and is London dept free from hosting it in London? Ive been trying to find information on how it will all look after its handed back to the people of London, I,m sure its an over sight on Seb and his brillaint team along with all those involved Everyone must be as excited as I am, we are now going to have really high end facilities like football pitches, swimming pools, boxing clubs running tracks the list is endless, and will cost nothing to use or will be only a pound or so, the only problem is I cant find the web page that will show me all these wonderful facilities, could someone please let me have the web page details, there's plenty on london hosting the 2012 but that seems to be it? what happens after!