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Learning from London: The other side of the Olympics - a film from Hamburg

A film by Hamburg filmmaker Marlene Wynants on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics - in English with German subtitles

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Parking the legacy

Fancy a swim at the Aquatic Centre with your kids? Need to use the car park? Better be sure in that case you’ve got cash to feed the machine because it won’t accept a card.

Friends took their two children aged 12 and 8 for what they said was an enjoyable swim. Enjoyable, that is, until they had to go home. They had overrun the free hour’s parking so had to pay £1.50, a perfectly reasonable charge. Only problem was the machine only took cash and they didn’t have any. In most cases you can pay a parking charge by card and they went round the different machines to see which one took a card. But none did.

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London2012 tourism - Hark, now hear the sailors cry...

First lies, then farce. After all the self-serving lies about the benefits of London2012 comes the claim from the British Marine Federation that the annual contribution of UK boating tourism in 2012-2013 outweighed the 'total tourism impact of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games between 2005 and 2017 (including pre-Games visits, the Games themselves and the estimated ongoing Legacy effect).'

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The sterile pleasure garden

A view across the Olympic ParkA view across the Olympic ParkI visited the recently opened part of the Olympic Park on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year to have a look around. It took a while to take it all in. My most surprising discovery was the almost complete absence of any visible wild life. Apart from pigeons in transit across the space I saw only one wild bird in the three hours I was there. It was probably some kind of Reed Warbler. Hardly surprising given the sheer volume of reeds planted alongside the river. There were small numbers of Damsel Flies, again not surprising given their mobility along the river.

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legacy lego

Back in 2006 the Media Centre was relocated to Hackney Wick. Its legacy languishing, in 2011 someone had the bright idea of an indoor ski resort (see In search of legacies lost).

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Cuckoo! Swiss say No to Winter Olympics

'No voters rejected bid organisers' claims that Olympic hosting would help tourism in the area and boost the local economy.' Those sensible Swiss from the Graubünden canton have seen through the lies of the Olympics and said no to the Winter Olympics in 2022. Bern voters did the same thing when they refused to bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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More Olympics effects - amnesia, anticipation, non-materialisation

The Olympics amnesia effect kicks in again. The Press reports another Olympic ’success’ story, this time it’s Heathrow, which saw profits rise in the ‘Olympic year’ along with the number of passengers. CEO Brian Matthews declared ‘We gave a warm welcome and a smooth journey to thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes’.

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2012 - a year of challenges or opportunities?

Apparently theatre in London had a bad Olympics, although this was buried under a headline of theatre 'holding up in Olympic year' and some good news about a rise in ticket sales for the year as a whole. At the end of January, AP reported the Society of London Theatre as saying that sales and attendance had dropped during the summer Games, described as a 'dampening effect', but this was played down as, it was claimed, it had not been as bad as some had feared. However, no specific information was provided to show how bad it really was during the Olympics.

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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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Olympics end but security stays the same

The Olympic Park remains a high security paranoia zone. It is still surrounded by the perimeter fence, although hopefully the electricity has been turned off. Anyone wishing to join an LLDC tour is sent a long list of IDs which visitors have to present before they can get on a bus. Bizarrely the A list includes a Freedom Pass alongside passports (with visas if needed!) and a variety of warrant cards. The B list includes birth, adoption and marriage certificates which are considered to be of equal value to a utility bill. Why it should be necessary to produce this kind of ID to be allowed on a bus (you’re not allowed to get off the bus) to go around the Park is unclear. But then these things have just become ‘normal’ now!

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