Why London should go for gold

January 30th, 2003

As we await a decision on whether the government will back a London bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, Catherine Bennett has come up with 20 reasons Why London should go for gold:

1 It would finally put Britain on the map. As Ken Livingstone, perhaps the most ardent campaigner for the games, has suggested, it's time everyone else discovered the United Kingdom, one of the world's best kept secrets, previously known only to asylum seekers, George Bush and millions of French schoolchildren. "Boosting our country's profile abroad," he says, "would be an essential element of a London bid."

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4 Responses to “Why London should go for gold”

  1. Simon Says:

    Hmm, that article seems as much as why we shouldn't as why we should. I was behind it at the start but the more I think about it the more it'll be a disaster. Right now it seems a popular idea but I reckon just before the games the press will start critising the idea and saying how they should scrap the games and spend the money on hospitals/schools/etc. The games will go ahead and the media will start going on about what a failure they were and how no one is going. Which will become a self fulfilling prophecy

  2. John Says:

    I think that if I were the government I wouldn't touch the idea of a London Olympic bid with a barge pole. The chances of the project coming in on time and budget are depressingly small – see Wembley Stadium, Pickett's Lock, the Millennium Dome – and even though the idea of an "Olympic Bid Tax" on Londoners is Ken Livingston's it'll be the government which gets the blame if public opinion turns against a Games bid. (On the other hand, many of the senior ministers in the present government will be retired by 2012, as will Ken Livingston, which might make it tempting to say "Yes" to a bid because you won't have to face the political consequences.)Quite apart from all that, I'm tired of hearing that London is the only feasible UK site for an Olympic bid. I can't help thinking that London's property prices are so high and the infrastructure problems are so intractable that it would be better to put the same sort of money into building facilities in Manchester or Birmingham or Edinburgh or Cardiff and really push the boat out for a bid from the regions.I know the word is that the IOC favours a London bid, but if that's the case then I think we shouldn't bother. If you must spend that sort of money on athletics – putting to one side the question of whether the money would be better spent on schools, hospitals etc. – I'd say it would be better to put a third of the money an Olympic bid would cost towards the provision of decent training and coaching facilities for athletics around the country, so that wherever the Olympics are held the UK team will have a chance to excel.

  3. simon Says:

    Well manchester already had the comonwealth games so it would be a bit gready for them to take the olympics as well. The olympics could benefit london in improved facilities but then I have the feeling nothing would change. Anywhere else would get a few new areans or massively upgraded facilities.

    I'd much prefer a world cup bid than an olympic bid. Most people wouldn't really care about the olympics anyway

  4. John Says:

    I think a World Cup bid is much more winnable than an Olympic bid. Better yet, given that the World Cup finals probably won't return to Europe until at least 2014 – assuming that Germany in 2006 is followed by a non-European venue in 2010 – the new Wembley Stadium might even be finished in time to host the final! :-)