It has not come cheaply, but this morning the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, will hold up London’s Olympics as having provided a “legacy blueprint for future hosts.”
Having spent £9.3bn of public funds in preparing for the Games and laying legacy foundations – some reports claim the final figure could reach £11bn – the backing of the head of the Olympic movement is timely for the government.
Legacy – both in terms of bricks and mortar and participation – has been trumpeted as a cornerstone of London’s Games from the very start. It played a key part in the Lord Coe led winning bid in Singapore in 2005, but efforts to boost the numbers of people taking part in sport have so far failed. The bricks and mortar side of it has been more impressive, with the construction of the Olympic Park in a deprived area of east London set to be complete on time and within the building budget. The IOC’s final inspection begins today and its inspectors are likely to praise the capital’s readiness at the visit’s conclusion on Friday. London is ahead of recent Games.
Rogge said: “London has raised the bar on how to deliver a lasting legacy. We can already see tangible results in the remarkable regeneration of East London. This great historical city has created a legacy blueprint for future Games hosts.”
Rogge is meeting David Cameron and Hugh Robertson, the minister for the Olympics, at Downing Street this morning to discuss what remains to be done: the heads of state guest list, tickets, transport and security will be on the agenda. The next round of ticket sales begins next month with Locog, the organisers, under pressure to ensure there are no further problems. Transport remains a real concern, while the security costs have nearly doubled to £553m after the number of necessary staff was woefully underestimated.
Cameron said: “Though much has been done, I am acutely aware that the drive to embed and secure the benefits of London 2012 is still to come. That is our biggest challenge. It’s also our greatest opportunity.”
The future of the £500m stadium, the centrepiece of the Olympic Park, remains shrouded in doubt with the bidding process having had to be re-started. West Ham United remain favourites to move in. Otherwise six of the eight venues in the park have post-Games operators in place. The basketball arena will be shipped to Rio for use at the next Olympics.