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London 2012

Can the London 2012 Olympics ‘inspire a generation’? - An overview of systematic reviews

Can the London 2012 Olympics ‘inspire a generation’ to do more physical or sporting activities?

An overview of systematic reviews

Article focus

Increased levels of physical activity are linked with improved health and may play a key role in the prevention or treatment of most noncommunicable diseases.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games aims to leave a long-term legacy, which includes population level increases in physical and sporting activity.

We conducted a systematic review of systematic reviews to establish whether hosting an Olympic games leads to increased participation in such activities.


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Celebration Capitalism!

The Guardian led the way recently with its poll claiming almost 80% of respondents thought the Olympics had cheered Britain up. Hardly surprising considering the constant repetition in the media of the wonders of the Games. In the summer at the height of the medal winning frenzy the Guardian’s poll at the time only found 55% thought the Games worthwhile. When considering whether the Olympics were worth the money the Grauniad relied on the Government’s faulty £9 billion price tag rather than the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s £11 billion or Sky Sports’ more radical up to £24 billion total. However, in other respects the poll had less comfort to offer. 61% considered Britain’s status in the world had diminished in 2012 while 51% thought Britain will still be stuck in a slump at the end of 2013.


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Lies and ignorance about the legacy - it's not academic

No wonder people get confused about Stratford City, the Athletes’ Village, the Olympic Park and the Legacy. Earlier in the autumn we had the fiction from the Centre for Economic and Business Research of the 'highly rated' E20 postcode's Chobham Academy even though it hadn't yet opened. Recently the Academy opened its doors to children who wanted to apply. The Evening Standard told us the Chobham Academy is an Olympic Legacy, forgetting to mention that it's the community school described in the West Leyton part of the Stratford City project, created under a separate non-Olympic planning application and not an Olympic legacy. Another commentator, the recently launched London Olympic Park Watch, which describes itself as an 'independent...constructively critical observer', says the school is 'in the Olympic Park' which of course it isn't. Stratford City, where the Academy, like the Athletes’ Village, is situated, is not in the Olympic Park but on the Stratford Rail Lands, the large piece of land which includes the Westfield Shopping Centre.


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Another miraculous (cycling) legacy

The Olympics is that dream event, even when something goes wrong it goes right. Another accidental cycling legacy was discovered a while back by the hard legacy hunting British media. TfL told them that more people in London, 19 percent during the Olympics and 32 percent during the Paralympics, took to their bikes. Why? According to the Standard it was 'to escape packed Tubes and buses'. Of course, what is even more remarkable is that Londoners and out of town commuters had stayed at home or out of London for precisely the same reason, following the dire warnings from the very same TfL, and of course blond bomber Boris, of over-crowded public transport, leaving the Tube and Central London deserted during the first week of the Games. This had, of course, created the Miracle on the Underground when the system did not go into massive overload.


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East v West, the battle goes on

So the little guy hasn't given up after all. Barry Hearn says Leyton Orient plan to fight on to prevent West Ham taking over the Olympic stadium.


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London tourists aren't smiling

Will tourists be returning to London after their experience of the Olympics? Maybe not. Apparently visitors to London did not find the city friendly despite all the adoring coverage of Games Makers overcoming London's unfriendly image. It was also not found to be clean, safe and definitely not good value for money by comparison with rival destinations.


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Star Struck by missiles

It was hard to see how putting missiles on the top of flats enhanced security during the Olympics. If a plane had managed to penetrate the exclusion zone and had not been destroyed by Tornados out in the countryside shooting it down over London would plainly cause massive casualties. It seemed at the time this was simply a demonstration of the power of the state to take this kind of action (the missiles were installed without the agreement of the residents, the MOD said they would only be consulted after the decision to use them had been taken) to impress corporations and governments and show off its hardware.


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Was that the Euro 2012 Olympics?

The headline of a BBC Newsbeat article declares 'London Olympics dominate 2012 Google searches in the UK.' So presumably the most searched terms would be something along the lines of 'London 2012 Olympics'. Hmm, apparently not. The article continues:


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