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Will the 2012 Olympics leave a legacy for youth?

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Will the 2012 Olympics leave a legacy for youth?

Alex Helling's picture
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One of the big selling points that was made of London for the Olympics was both getting youth involved and providing a legacy in east london. London 2012 claims “After the Games the Olympic Park will be transformed into one of the largest urban parks created in Europe for more than 150 years... The world-class sports facilities will be adapted for use by sports clubs and the local community as well as elite athletes. New playing fields sitting alongside these facilities will be adapted for community use.” There have however been increasing questions about this legacy and whether it will all be as positive as London 2012 claim.
A think tank, the Centre for Social Justice has called the legacy a "highly effective sales pitch that was never fully realised" arguing "The scale of the challenge that the Olympic organisers have set themselves is too high for the relatively limited amounts of funding and the programmes that have been promised, to deliver successfully." With Britain facing challenging times economically it was always going to be difficult to find money for a legacy on top of an already expensive Olympic games.
The fears have been given fuel by the inept handling over the bidding for what will happen to the main Olympic stadium for which two football clubs, Tottenham and West Ham, were the competitors. There has been wrangling, allegations on both sides and several bidding processes with the question of who will ultimately occupy the stadium still up in the air along with whether there will be an athletics legacy. The whole games have also drained money from other areas of sport, for example £164 million was cut from school sport partnerships. This and other cuts delivers a blow to claims that the Olympics will benefit the youth and encourage them to engage in sports - there is little point in being encouraged if local sporting clubs are closing down due to a lack of funding meaning they cannot act on that encouragement.
The legacy is a problem for every games. Beijing’s stadia were for a while tourist sites in their own right but are now underused as sporting venues. The legacy may have been in improved transport, but that is something that would have happened even without the games. Will London do any better?
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/04/10/uk-olympics-beijing-legacy-idUKBRE8390R520120410
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/david-conn-inside-sport-blog/2011/sep/06/tottenham-west-ham-olympic-legacy
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/17561309

4 years 40 weeks ago
Alastair Stevens's picture
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A quote from the Centre for Social Inclusion report that Alex cites is illustrative of the problem that he is discussing.

"Something that seem to be very common, is that often people start off with a sport that they'd like to run in the community, and then incorporate broader activities around that sport to tackle an issue that they think is relevant. It seems more appropriate that people start with an issue or concern that they'd like to address, and then build sport into a response as part of a broader program to tackle the issue."

In other words, sport may be a useful way to address social exclusion, but it is mistaken and misleading to insist that promoting sport in poor communities will give people the skills and drive necessary to tackle poverty and marginalisation.

Marginalised communities become that way because of the lack of jobs and economic opportunities for their members, because family and cultural structures begin to dissolve as a result of anomie and the inept management of subsidised housing by local authorities. Communities are pushed to the margins of society because they are unable to properly socialise their children, provoking intensified policing. The involvement of the police- especially the Met- can be damaging as officers are rarely taught to see themselves as part of the communities they are responsible for.

The common thread linking all of these problems is need. People are not unwilling to work, or unwilling to put in the effort required to raise their children properly - they lack the resources to do so. The priorities that order lives in these communities are based around the rude economics of survival, even if those communities are surrounded by the safety net of the welfare state. Even where social problems are apparently exacerbate by individuals' "moral" failings, lack of resources is still the major factor preventing families and community leaders from intervening in the lives of people who are- for example- willingly avoiding work. In these circumstances, people are less interested in participating in sporting activities that may be of interest to only a small class of individuals than they are in eliminating scarcity.

 

4 years 40 weeks ago
booji's picture
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Alastair Stevens wrote:
Marginalised communities become that way because of the lack of jobs and economic opportunities for their members, because family and cultural structures begin to dissolve as a result of anomie and the inept management of subsidised housing by local authorities. Communities are pushed to the margins of society because they are unable to properly socialise their children, provoking intensified policing. The involvement of the police- especially the Met- can be damaging as officers are rarely taught to see themselves as part of the communities they are responsible for.

 

This is not something we can seriously expect any sporting event to fix. It might bring jobs to the area but as such an event is transitory so will be the jobs. As a result I think any discussion about the 2012 games has to focus on the sporting legacy. Getting people interested and playing in sport might not be solving unemployment but it does have benefits such as reducing petty crime and anti-social behaviour as well as the health benefits and of course can be a good thing in its own right.

4 years 40 weeks ago
Michelle Scot's picture
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Edited by moderator.

How are the authorities hoping to involve youths in sport activities if they don't have any place where to practice their favorite sport? I'm not saying that the Olympics won't be inspiring, because I know they will be, but what these kids really need is a new football field where to practice, or a hockey pool where to spend their weekend playing the game.

4 years 33 weeks ago
andrew bayes's picture
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Sports should be practiced for personal health and other similar benefits and not for national pride, applauses from the stadium, records breaking Olympics sales, etc. It's been a while since bijuterii inox football is not like it used to be. Just look in France's national football team photos differences between 2012 and 1950 to get the idea. All sports have been transformed in huge businesses where natural challenge of man have been stolen.

 

3 years 28 weeks ago
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