Gold medallist Gunnell 'horrified' at Spurs 2012 plan
Britain's Sally Gunnell is "absolutely horrified" the main venue for the 2012 London Olympics could be knocked down to make way for a soccer stadium after the Games, the former gold medallist said on Monday.
The 1992 Barcelona Olympics 400 metres hurdles winner and former world record holder was the latest figure to voice concerns in an increasingly acrimonious battle over the future of the £496 million stadium.
"What a waste, what a waste," she told reporters when asked about the prospect of the venue being bulldozed. "I cannot comprehend that somebody wants to pull it down.
"I am so passionate about athletics and want to build up its profile."
Premier League Tottenham Hotspur, in a joint bid with the U.S. entertainment giant AEG, want to knock the Olympic stadium down and replace it with a purpose-built soccer ground, saying a running track does not work for their fans.
To fulfil the London Olympic athletics legacy promise, made in 2005, Tottenham intend to revamp the Crystal Palace track and field venue in south London to host international events.
However, a growing number of athletics figures have criticised the plan, favouring a rival bid by Premier League West Ham United who in partnership with the local council say they will retain the track.
Seb Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Committee, said earlier this month Britain's reputation would be "trashed" if Tottenham's bid was successful.
He told reporters on Monday that it was right that people were discussing the stadium's legacy now rather than after the event.
"There is strength of feeling out there," he said. "I think it is right that ... as a country we address legacy early on. We shouldn't be surprised when people go on discussing it, that's where it should be."
Gunnell said the stadium could host local and international athletics events and the prospect of it being pulled down could cast a pall over the Games.
The Olympic Legacy Company, in charge of the Olympic Park's legacy, has a third option to consider, the original bid plan to reduce the 80,000-seat stadium to 25,000 seats for local and international athletics events.
A decision is expected next month, with contracts signed by the end of the financial year.
Mountain goats miraculously survive avalanche in the Alps
Skyfall's Ben Whishaw confirmed for Freddie Mercury film
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira relive rivalry - after the former Manchester United and Arsenal captains shared ice cream in Warsaw
Sir Alex Ferguson autobiography is 'insulting nonsense' says Roy Keane as relationship between Manchester United legends becomes 'non-existent'
Patrick Vieira put Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp up front in 'greatest' Arsenal team - but there's no room for Cesc Fabregas and Marc Overmars
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 2 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 3 Teenage girl convicted of robbery after taking pre-crime selfie wielding knife
- 4 Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent