Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 August 2013

London Olympics legacy - one year on

Chris Newby, London Socialist Party

Who can forget the tremendous excitement of last year when Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, David Weir and Jessica Ennis scorched around the track, of Michael Phelps and Ellie Simmonds in the pool and Bradley Wiggins winning gold in the cycling time trial?

These are just a few of the amazing achievements at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The atmosphere around the various stadia was electric. Other things that stood out for me were that volunteers helped make the games, Danny Boyle's opening ceremony and I think a moment of the games was the Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limardo showing off his gold medal to fellow travellers on London public transport.

Another enduring memory is the tremendous London-wide strike of bus workers who won their Olympic bonus. These are some of the memories that I will hang onto.

However, what is the real legacy that has been left behind after the Olympics have moved on? On the promise of leaving a lasting legacy and of transforming the area around Stratford, east London, these Olympics were brought in at a tremendous cost, 6.71 billion of public money, at the same time as massive attacks on jobs, public services and benefits.

Sporting facilities?

Yes, it's true that we have new sporting facilities in east London, such as the main stadium, the swimming pools and the velodrome, as well as the parks.

But the main stadium has been sold off to West Ham United at a loss. The Qatari Royal family's property firm bought the Olympic village at a loss to the UK taxpayer of 275 million.

The swimming pools are now owned by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), a private company that owns many former council run gyms and pools across London.

And the much touted new school on the site will be an academy, outside of local authority control.

It's the same old message from capitalism: while public money is used to build these tremendous resources, they are sold off to private bodies to make a profit.


What of the legacy for greater sports participation? Government austerity means deep cuts into all aspects of life and sport is no different.

The school sport partnership was scrapped by the Con-Dems, meaning 162 million cuts from schools sport, though since partly restored under pressure.

But let's not forget, the previous Labour government also made cuts to schools sports facilities. Is it any wonder then that only 8% of secondary school teachers reported an increase in student participation in sport since the 2012 games?

In Merton, south London, councillors sold off a public sports hall to a private school. This has left Olympic medallist Ray Stevens without a home for his popular judo club which regularly attracts disabled or disadvantaged kids.

More widely, the government has cut funding to grassroots sport by 5%. While participation in sport has increased by 1.4 million since the London bid won in 2005, from April 2012 to April 2013 it declined.

Is this any wonder when the majority of the population had their living standards attacked and most sports facilities are in private hands?

Incredibly, a private company - Will to Win - has been handed the contract to charge park users for "informal sports" in parks like Hyde Park and Regents Park. So if you just wanted a kick around with a football, you're likely to be charged! What does that do for developing more participation in sport?

Even some elite sports are under threat. The Don Valley stadium, where Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis trained, is to close because of funding cuts.

Elite swimming has faced funding cuts by UK Sport, which has led to the closure of one of the five Intensive Training Centres (ITCs).

The facilities at the now defunct ITC in Stockport were described by Olympic medallist Steve Parry as "the best in the world".

Jobs and homes?

A lot was also made of the legacy for jobs and homes in East London. In Newham, one of London's most deprived boroughs, the promise of new homes now appears to be hollow.

In the first batch of the 8,000 homes that will be provided, 675 will be "socially rented" of which 350 will be made available to people on Newham's housing list, with 32,000 waiting on it.

According to Shelter, it will take Newham almost 40 years to clear its waiting list at the current rate of construction. 40% of new housing at the Olympic site is described as affordable.

But according to some housing experts, "affordable" housing now requires a household to earn at least 30,000 a year, beyond most people in the borough.

Promises of long term jobs also seem to be flights of fancy. Newham says 5,000 residents were helped into Games-time jobs, but most were temporary.

Of the 20 million promised through the Olympic legacy for training and support for the long-term unemployed, just 8 million has been spent, while fewer than half of the 6,500 long-term unemployed have got the jobs that London mayor Boris Johnson pledged for them. The 2012 Employment Legacy Project was cancelled at the start of 2013.

A proper sporting legacy will only be fully achieved once the dead hand of profit is removed from the scene.

This means sports facilities publicly owned and controlled, and free at the point of use, alongside all other public facilities such as health and education, and that people have the time to actively participate in sport.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 14 August 2013:

Socialist Party campaigns

Zero tolerance for zero-hours!

End zero-hour contracts now!

Socialist Party editorial

A tale of two Britains

Socialist Party news and analysis

Beware a recovery!

Met finally apologise for G20 death

London Olympics legacy - one year on

Football and big business: time to reclaim the game

Socialist Party subs appeal

Them & Us

Socialist Party events

Come to the Socialist Party Summer Camp

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Hunt attacks NHS staff and patients

Save Our Hospital!

Protest at the Tory Conference in Manchester

International socialist news and analysis

Tunisia: Mobilise to bring down the government

South Africa: Limpopo WASP launch

Seattle: Socialist challenge to corporate Democrats

Socialist Party workplace news

Defend the Four: Tribunal compensation award to Unison activists

Postal workers ballot for action

On your bike, Serco

Swansea council pay attacks angers workers

Anti-Bedroom Tax

Winning a reprieve from the bedroom tax

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Building TUSC in Caerphilly

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Reflections and sycophancy: Kinnock versus the socialist Liverpool council

The Mill: A change from the usual TV

Successes, failures and stalemates: A week in the life of a trade union rep


Home   |   The Socialist 14 August 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleInvest in grassroots sports needs

triangleWould you call G4S for help over discrimination?

triangleBarcelona 1936: the people's Olympics

triangleFilm review: Eddie the Eagle

triangleAthletics doping scandal: big business profits behind global sports corruption


triangleHomes for All - Not billionaire profit!

triangleHackney Socialist Party: The Left Opposition's fight against the rise of Stalinism in Russia

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Refugee rights

triangleWaltham Forest: Save Our Square public meeting


triangleCapitalism v cricket

triangleGentrification on the terraces: fans say twenty's plenty

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish


triangleBristol South Socialist Party: How can workers' jobs be protected?

triangleCardiff Central Socialist Party: Will robots take our jobs?


triangleSchool strikes against academy management

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



For a fighting, democratic Labour Party



Social media - the potential and the limits



NHS pay: Reject the Tories' divide and rule offer



Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit



Passing the council cuts test


Them & Us

Them & us



Cuts harm kids' health



The Blairites are NHS privatisers - to save it means sacking them



Hands off free school meals!



Russia, spies and nerve agents



Zero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester



Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness


What we saw

What we saw



Sainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!



Profits up Wages down

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018