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Olympics to leave lasting legacy on the UK

Olympics to leave lasting legacy on the UK
The London 2012 Olympic Games will go down in history as one of the most memorable events that the UK has ever held and with the two-week spectacular now just a memory, the challenge now lies ahead for the government to create it's much publicised 'legacy'.

Many will regard the Olympics as a major success, not just in terms of Team GB performing admirably in their various events and finishing third in the overall medal table, including a record 29 golds, but there were various other positive factors to come out of the Games.

The fear prior to the event was the strain it would put on London's transport infrastructure, but Transport for London's (TfL) Olympic Road Network has since been hailed as a major success by the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

Officials at the RHA were quick to praise TfL following the closing ceremony, stating that the ease in which spectators and athletes were able to navigate the normally gridlocked capital was "without doubt, down to the hard work of the TfL". However, with the Olympics now confined to the history books there are a number of resolutions that need to be met in order for the government to deliver their promise of creating a 'legacy' after the Games finishes.

There are still a number of issues that need to be resolved surrounding the venues that hosted the various events, namely the Olympic Stadium itself, which is still without an owner.

There has been a long running dispute over the future of the ground between West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, as well as a number of other objectors. While purists want to keep the stadium as a continued legacy for athletics, the football sides want to turn the ground into a new home for any of the teams within the area.

Since the end of the Olympics, West Ham have been improving their standing in the race by favouring taking over the stadium as part of a joint bid with League One club Leyton Orient. The east London team wants to convert the 80,000-seater stadium within the next couple of seasons and expand on the capacity of their current Upton Park, which stands at 38,000. The move would also benefit Leyton Orient who would be able to play in a stadium that would be suitable should they progress through the leagues.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce advocated the potential move to the Olympic Stadium stating that it would be put the newly promoted side on a par with the likes of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Manchester United's Old Trafford in terms of atmosphere.

Allardyce said: "We could be that size [the size of the top Premier League teams] in a brand new stadium, with that atmosphere. It would be awesome to walk a team out on that pitch and say 'this is West Ham's new home and the creation of what could possibly be a new modern history hopefully'."

Aside from the issues surrounding the Olympic Stadium, the government is looking to provide a 'legacy' for the construction firms that were involved in the development and delivery of key components to the London Games. As part of what will be a major boost to the UK economy, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and business secretary Vince Cable announced a series of investment strategies to the construction sector that will help to build on the strong links that were forged during London 2012.

A series of contracts worth up to £13 billion will be shared among the companies involved with constructing venues for the Games and secure deals for them to carry on a similar role at both the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016 and the Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia in 2014. Mr Clegg revealed that £1.5 billion of the outlined investment will be given to the construction firms that will travel to the next host countries to take on work ensuring that both Brazil and Russia enjoy the same success that London has experienced.
Mr Clegg said: "It's not only our athletes who have shown themselves to be world-class, British businesses have played a key role in delivering our most successful games in history.

"Producing the most spectacular show on earth has given UK companies the skills and expertise to support Brazil as the baton is passed to Rio 2016. We have identified huge opportunities for UK firms to work on the next Olympic games in Sochi and Rio - a golden boost to British businesses that will create jobs and support economic growth."

Officials have already undertaken a host of trade missions to both these countries, as well as Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, to finalise these deals and a number of companies are already seeing the benefits that come with the investment. Aecom recently announced that it had secured a contract to construct the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Park while Populus has unveiled design plans for a similar development in the Russian holiday resort of Sochi.

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Date: 21/08/2012 16:42:00

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