The United Kingdom will host the 2012 Olympic Games in precisely two years. In this time of austerity, the Olympic budget is a hearty £9.3 B ($14.4 billion USD), at least for the foreseeable future.
What will this national investment mean to the people of the UK? What do they get for the pound spent?
When David Cameron ‘s government came to power a few months ago, a program of budget cuts were immediately ushered in. After considerable wailing and gnashing of teeth subsided, MP’s thoughts turned to how this would impact Olympic preparations and whether there was any extra money floating around?
“Domestically speaking, the £9.3 billion budget remains a hot topic for debate, but it is a testament to the quiet achievements of the organizers that their next biggest crises have been a slightly wonky logo and a couple of oddball mascots…”
Economics will play center stage to the question of the London 2012 Olympic’s legacy…what’s in it for the world?
A few weeks ago, a petite article appeared in the Evening Standard jabbing David Higgins, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), about his budget. It seems Higgins’ “…construction budget was £500 million underspent.” The rumor is that Hugh Robertson, Shadow Minister for Sports, might pull unspent funds. If construction funds are redistributed, next year, Higgins will have to requisition money which may or may not be available. Instead, Higgins wants to circumvent this process and re-direct funds to legacy projects.
Legacy is an easy word to banter about, but identifying concrete examples, the golden nuggets, is where the real legacy resides.
The over-riding Olympic goal is to “change the way we build, live, work, do business and travel to help us live happy and healthy lives, within our planet’s resources.” This month, I had the pleasure to interview Terry Waite and Hugh Evans, while attending the Eisteddfod Festival in Llangollen, Wales.
Mr. Waite addresses the importance culture plays in our lives, “not to be forgotten” being a well-rounded individual as a key element for a happy life and refers back to the Olympics’ goal: “change the way we live…to help us live happy and healthy lives…”
Open Weekend, an event that took place July 23-25 throughout the UK, is an example of how the Olympics are promoting communities to get involved, bringing people together to play, sing, contribute beyond the economies of the moment.
Hugh Evans adds that the Olympics provide an opportunity and inspiration for people to develop themselves, a way to change the sports landscape.
Legacy means creating a better more earth friendly way of doing things through advanced technology…change the way we build…within our planet’s resources.
In June, the Suzy Guides’ team was walking along the Mall, when we spotted this unusual structure on the steps leading up to the Duke of York’s statue. Being curious, we approached Andre Ford to explain the structure. Matthew Lloyd Architects have designed a water and solar powered lift to assist handicapped people to be transported to their stadium seats. We were treated to a demonstration of how Going Green is a reality for the 2012. This is a concrete example of how the Olympics’ mandate to be environmentally friendly is actually happening.
For UK citizens, their London 2012 Olympic legacy will be a renewal of the human being as a whole person both individually and through community and a plethora of inventive products that no longer pillage the earth. This is the gold medal they will hand the world at the end of the games.
You might not see Beijing glitz at the opening ceremonies, but you will reap the lasting benefits of the 2012 for decades to come.