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Fact File: Olympics 2012


Since London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, excitement and controversy have been building in the UK at a steady pace.

Union leader Len McCluskey provoked a strong reaction with his call for an anti-cuts strike during the Olympics. For most observers though, the key questions are how widely will the Olympic torch cast its light? And how long can we bask in the afterglow?

A fraught ticketing process left the public feeling short-changed, while small businesses complained that the Olympic pie was being gobbled up by corporate sponsors, leaving too little for everybody else. Then came Danny Boyle's triumphant opening ceremony, followed by the Team GB gold rush, and the nation's mood dramatically changed: for 16 glorious days our famously grumpy nation couldn't stop smiling.

But what happens after the hullabaloo is over? The promise of an Olympic legacy for young people was central to London’s winning bid, but will the Government manage to translate Olympic euphoria into a regenerated east London? Not to mention a fitter, healthier Britain?

The Numbers

65 - Final medal tally for Team GB, including 29 gold, making it Britain's most successful Olympics for 104 years

14, 690 – Athletes participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Source: London 2012 Fact Pack

10,000 – Temporary toilets set up on and around the Olympic site. Source: London 2012 Fact Pack

£6 – Cost of an officially branded London 2012 mini pin badge. Source: London 2012 Media Fact Pack

£7.5bn – Value of contracts split between around 2000 British companies. Source: London 2012 Fact Pack

50,000 – The number of Big Macs McDonald’s expects to serve at the Olympic Village between July 27 and September 9. Source: Evening Standard

207 – Total number of gold medals won by Great Britain in the summer Olympics since the modern games began. Source: BBC Sport

Further Reading

Let’s hand out gold medals to big business, Mark Steel, The Independent, 2012

Jumping Through Hoops, Michael Joseph Gross, Vanity Fair, 2012

Oh, London, You Drama Queen, China Mieville, New York Times, 2012

Explaining Londoners, New York Times, 2012


776BC - First ever Olympic Games are held in Ancient Greece

1896 - Athens host the first international Olympic Games in the Modern era

1908 – London hosts the Olympics for the first time

1948 – London hosts the Olympics for a second time.

2005 - London bid awarded

2010 – Winter Olympics takes place in Vancouver, Canada

July 2012 - Danny Boyle's spectacular opening ceremony sets the mood for a jubilant Games.

July - Sept 2012 – The summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games take place in London