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A Bankrupt Field of Dreams

The fraught disputes over how best to recoup the high construction and maintenance costs of the London Olympic stadium conform to a pattern previously seen elsewhere in England and abroad. The story of the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield provides a cautionary tale of how the visionary delusions of ambitious politicians end up ruining the chances of ordinary people gaining adequate access to affordable opportunities for healthy recreation.


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Some Shortcomings of Olympic success

In a house in the London suburb of Ealing, hired for the occasion by a film company, an actor playing the part of an average guy, is checking in a mirror how he looks in his recently bought shirt. Out from behind the mirror steps the winner of the recent Olympic women’s heptathlon who reels off some spiel about a 2% discount. The actor/guy plays gobsmacked that this princess should emerge from behind his mirror, announce some cashback offer then humiliate him over his new shoes.


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A Lottery of a Legacy!

So what exactly is an Olympic sports legacy? The Government seems to think it is more spectacles of elite sport. George Osborne has decided to waive tax rules to allow Usain Bolt and other top athletes to attend the Grand Prix event to be held at the Olympic Stadium in the summer. He says this is to ‘secure the Olympic Legacy’. Bolt hasn’t yet said he will come. Boris, son of John, has also weighed in with a spectacle of his own, a two day cycling festival to be attended by up to 70,000 including elite cyclists like Wiggo and Trott. Spiffing away Boris said: ‘"Following the superhuman efforts of our Team GB cyclists last year, thousands of cycling enthusiasts, both experienced and amateur, riding a fantastic route through the streets of our fine city is surely a fitting legacy’.

Elsewhere local media are now regularly reporting so-called ‘Olympic Legacy grants’ being made to clubs around the country. Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club, for example, has been given £50,000 to ‘revamp facilities’. Warlingham Squash and Racketball Club in Surrey has also got £50,000 to make improvements like putting in a boiler and building women’s changing rooms. Several clubs in Northamptonshire are to share £500,000 to do up their facilities. These grants are described as ‘Olympic legacies’. However, it is hard to see what is specifically Olympic about the grants. They are just National Lottery funds which are being distributed by Sport England from a pot of £16.6million from something called the Inspired Facilities Fund.

A couple of sports festivals and a £16.6million fund are not going to make much impression on the present furore surrounding the decline in school sports funding. Far from inspiring a generation London 2012 saw sport participation in the target group of 16 to 25year olds fall.

Nor does it make up for the £2.175billion taken from the National Lottery for the Olympics. This raid on the Lottery included the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds taken from children’s sport in the name of elite sport. Nor has the DCMS repaid the Big Lottery Fund from which it grabbed £638.098million. After over a year of lobbying and a campaign now supported by more than 3,200 charities demanding the return of £425million of the stolen funds it has indicated it may repay £100 to £150million, but not until 2014 at the earliest. Jowell originally promised to repay all the Big Lottery Fund money. The DCMS also say in an attached Freedom of Information response: 'Repayments will not include interest based on inflation'. Most of that is probably lost for good. The rest, of course, will not be repaid at all.

A full rundown of the money taken from the Lottery, which could have been spent on other, better causes was provided in the DCMS Freedom of Information response:

'a total of £2.175 billion of Lottery funding is included in the £9.298bn public sector funding provision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games…


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This time it's Locog (not) within budget!

Following the ONS' declarations on its inability to quantify the impact of the Olympics further information has been published on LOCOG's expenditure, which only tends to add to the confusion. LOCOG says it has broken even on costs of £2.4 billion. However, with ticket sales of £659 million, sponsorship of £764 million, £609 million from IOC media earnings and £85 million from merchandising making a total of £2,087 million it still had to rely on a government grant of £111 million for half the cost of the Paralympics and £200 million from 'incomes' (whatever that is!) meaning it did not meet its costs without assistance.


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Public Accounts Committee report Feb 2012

Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games Feb 2012 report


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Dow: London's 2012 Perfect Olympic Sponsor

By Mike Wells , posted 29th December 2011, edited 11th January 2012Campaigners Against DowCampaigners Against Dow

A recent sponsorship deal has seen the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games accept money from Dow Chemical. Dow will provide a fabric "wrap" which will be placed around London's Olympic stadium.

According to Britain's Guardian newspaper the wrap's purpose is to reduce wind inside the stadium.  But, as the metaphor says ...


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Beijing Olympics: How's this for cost inflation?

@bobmackin: Beijing wrestles with $70B (ca £40B) bill for 2008 #Olympics. Yes, $70B. Earlier invoice: £20B


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The true cost of tickets for the Olympics: community and workplace organising?

from Corporate Watch

Official prestige tickets for the 2012 Olympics, which include food and drink, are going to be some of the most expensive in the history of sport, at £4,500 per person.

These tickets cannot be sold as single tickets, but only in blocks of ten. In addition, conditions of purchase will mean that an individual or company buying hospitality tickets for the opening or closing ceremonies of the Games will have to pay a minimum of £270,000, because seats for other events much also be bought at the same time. The only sports tickets to ever be more expensive were those for the 2011 Super Bowl in Texas at £5,545 each. However, once tax is added, the Olympics tickets become £5,400, so together with the ‘minimum buy’ requirements the tickets are not far off the most expensive sports tickets in history.


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