London 2012. We all have an opinion on it. But what are the real facts?
Tourism boost or deflation? Successful regeneration or a stretching of social divides? Promoting equality or elitism? Is the big patriotic dream truly just that, a dream?
Now we’re going through something of an epidemic right now. Sitcoms may make light humour of it and Gok Wan may emphasise the term “Big is Beautiful” but the latest recorded statistics show that a quarter of males and a third of females between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese. And that’s just our young generation! According to 2009/10 statistics on Obesity in England which was conducted by the NHS, less than a quarter of adults had taken part in sport on 11 to 28 days within a month while just over half of pupils in years 1-13 took part in at least 3 hours of Physical Education. And instead of dealing directly with this widespread problem we’re instead encouraging spectatorship at its greatest with an 80,000 capacity stadium in our beloved Stratford! This means less productivity and more inactive citizens. If people are sat on their backsides in their homes, in the Olympics stadium, in their local pub then does this not portray a lazy society? The exact typecast the London Olympics is working against?
This moves on to our next predicament. Obviously, as we know, the Olympics are displaying the best competing against the best. Elitism at its finest. Where is the novice involvement? Oh that’s right! They’re sat at the stands viewing the action from the sidelines! When I first heard of us hosting the games I was, as a sports enthusiast, hugely proud of the fact that our own country would be able to provide honest, hardworking and positive role models for children.
I remember being at school admiring Tanni Grey-Thompson for overcoming such adversity, and Paula Radcliffe’s talent and incredible work ethic. But athletes or any sports people outside of football are general pushed aside. Instead we have football stars such as John Terry and Dwight Yorke (the term ‘star’ used loosely) in the limelight, constantly practising adultery, drink abuse and violent behaviour. Bringing the games home will mean that so many of our young and impressionable novice sports children can come across a true sporting legend such as Lord Seb Coe (although the Olympics 2012 Chairman isn’t exactly a star of the primetime!) and use him as an example of a success story.
The mass tourism we will see in London could go either way for us. Whilst one argument is that the obvious demand for the games will be extremely high and the general novelty of the event will attract the masses, another is that it could nay most likely will promote overcrowding in the capital and detract tourists. The European Tour Operators Association director, Tom Jenkins has suggested that tourist demand will decrease prior to the Olympics by at least 50%. If so then maybe this is a good time for us to finally regain out national pride and identity!
The astonishing scale of the Olympics incorporates a wide range of ethnicities from all over the world and as a multi cultural society, especially with a capital such as London; we are providing the most beneficial thing of all: diversity.