London 2012 revealed their plans for the new London Olympic Stadium today. We have linked to a superb column on BBC.com : http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/olympics_2012/7081346.stm. After reading about the new stadium and how London will use it after the Olympics…
I would like to reflect on the use or ill use of the Los Angeles and Atlanta Stadiums after their respective Games.
Face it, Peter Ueberoth and his team in 1984 saved the Olympics. The event had dealt with two boycotts, concerns about terrorism, huge costs and the challenge of running a modern event and not bankrupting the host country.
Montreal, from 1976 is the poster boy, as their stadium, with its leaks and other issues, still is not paid off. The Greek people will be paying off the 2004 Athens Games for many years to come.
I must say, I am impressed with how well London 2012 has handled the scrutiny of the British media, which is none too happy about all of the costs invovled in a modern Olympic Games. This is not 1948, when the world is just happy that there is no huge world war, and people were barely recovered from the second world war.
In 1984, the Los Angeles Olympic stadium housed a superb track, which was taken out a few years later to give more seats for football. So much for the Olympic legacy in one of the track an field hotbeds of the U.S. In defense, the LA Olympic Legacy Fund, which, among other things, gives grants each year to Southern California sporting events, has continued the spirit of Los Angeles.
I am not familiar at all with such a program for Atlanta. There were several track built around Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics, but the main Olympic track, as well as the stadium was refitted for baseball. I enjoyed the 1996 Olympics, as I had the 1984, but,
Atlanta was hit because of its over commercialized feel and its lack of Legacy projects.
Legacy projects give the next generation a chance to gain something from the Olympics that filled their city years before. Whether it be new facilities, and the endowment to care for them, or other projects, is not important. It is a tradition that should be honored.
It is very early to say what London 2012 will turn out to be, but they seem to be saying all of the right stuff and focusing on the important traditions that are key to the public continuing to embrace the Olympic movement. My visit to London last Fall, speaking with taxi drivers and local working families showed that there was some deep concern on what taxes and economic pain there would be for the normal working person.
For more on the London 2012: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/olympics_2012/7081346.stm