Mayor Boris Johnson thanks London 2012 'Games Makers'


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The Independent Online

More than 3,000 people have come forward to get involved with sport since the beginning of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Mayor Boris Johnson said today.

He said London was committed to ensuring a sporting legacy from the Games - and to providing thousands of jobs and homes.

The Mayor also said crime had dropped in London by about 5% during the 16-day sporting festival.

Mr Johnson thanked those involved in delivering the games, including volunteers, security and transport staff.

Mr Johnson told a press conference in London: "There are a series of exciting global sporting competitions (coming to London) and it is in that context we want to be expanding very vigorously now the number of young people who take part, we want people of all ages to take part in sport.

"We have seen 3,500 applications for people to get involved in sporting activities since the Games began. Kate Hoey, the commissioner for sport, will obviously be taking that forward very actively indeed."

And Mr Johnson reminded people that the Games were not over, with the Paralympic Games due to start shortly.

He urged sports fans to look for tickets amid "massive demand" in the wake of the events of the past fortnight.

And the mayor said: "The best way to make sure you have a chance to get to that park, share in the excitement of London 2012, is to get on the website when those Paralympic Games tickets become available.

"If demand exceeds supply, we will make sure there are Paralympic Park tickets available as well."

Mr Johnson continued: "The Olympic task of thanking people now begins... I want to thank from the city's point of view, the police, the Army, the armed services, who did such a wonderful job... I want to thank the men and women of G4S who worked fantastically hard and helped us deliver very, very safe venues indeed.

"The volunteers, I want to thank again the Team London volunteers, the Locog ambassadors, the TfL (Transport for London) ambassadors, and by the way I want to thank everybody in TfL high and low for an outstanding performance.

"Finally, I want to thank the people of London themselves, particularly because I think it was Londoners' patience and kindness and imagination and enthusiasm that really got the whole thing going and helped us to deliver a great Olympics."

Mr Johnson said the early indications were that London had already benefited economically from the Games and repeated hopes that the gains could ultimately reach £13 billion or more.

He said: "We welcomed huge numbers of visitors to our city, 300,000 international, 600,000 domestic, 5.5 million day-trippers, occupancy of hotels was 84%, double that of Beijing or Sydney.

"Restaurant spending, according to Visa, was up - it is patchy but spending is up 20% on the year, nightclub spending is up 24%, theatre ticket spending has increased by 114% last week alone to £5.3 million."

Mr Johnson said London's transport network defied the sceptics and held up to the surge in demand and praised dignitaries including IOC president Jacques Rogge and Prime Minister David Cameron for using public transport.

He said: "The Tube was up 30%, the DLR was up 100%, London Overground up 47%, the Emirates Air Line cable car had a record 31,964 on Saturday, the bike hire scheme broke all records by a mile, 46,000 people on a single day, I believe."

Mr Johnson said 3,000 business figures passed through City Hall during the Games and said 55 projects for London "have been identified and are being proceeded with".

The mayor said there were plans for 8,000 permanent jobs on the Olympic Park after the Games, and 8,000 new homes on top of the 2,800 in the Olympic Village.

And he added: "I don't think enough has been said to congratulate those in the cultural Olympiad, those who organised a series of really wonderful events across our city."