Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

London proves the power of the possible

The 2012 Olympics were a rip-roaring success, but most of all they delivered legacy

Lord Sebastian Coe standing "in the middle of" London 2012's legacy.  Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.
Lord Sebastian Coe standing "in the middle of" London 2012's legacy. Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.

A collective wave of nostalgia is likely to sweep over London in the next few days. The IAAF World Championships, which begin today and run until August 13, mark the return of elite track and field five years after the wildly successful London Olympics.

The bidding process for the Olympics was back in sharp focus this week when Los Angeles stood aside in the race to hold the 2024 games, effectively allowing Paris to present its case uncontested to the International Olympic Committee when it convenes next month. This follows the withdrawal of three other cities - Budapest, Hamburg and Rome - from the bidding process. The quid pro quo for LA is that it will now effectively assume the right to stage the 2028 games, as no other city has or will bid against the American powerhouse.

London 2012 ranks as one of the great Olympic games of the modern era and, certainly, much of the pre-games chatter about it presenting a major security risk and a significant strain on the public purse was quickly rendered redundant by the feel-good factor in the venues and the steady stream of medals that Team GB accrued. London got just about everything right, from the Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremony onwards, just as Rio, as The National reports today, found it hard to achieve the right post-games balance.

Much has been written about why London was so successful, but its key triumph was delivering facilities and infrastructure. The great games don’t leave white elephants behind them, they change lives and inspire minds. This is almost certainly why the bids from Paris and LA were so appealing to the IOC. Both place the greatest sporting spectacle in great cities and, no doubt, will help accelerate the delivery and completion of public works, which will benefit these places long after the athletes have left town. Closer to home, Dubai is equally aware of the power of major events. Expo 2020 will deliver a broad legacy, one that will benefit the city, country and region - and one that will continue to reverberate for many years after.


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Updated: August 3, 2017 06:26 PM