Sky Sports' Geraint Hughes considers what legacy the Olympics has left

Last Updated: 27/07/13 9:53am

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Geraint Hughes takes a look at the Olympic Legacy as London prepares for the Anniversary Games.

Sky Bet

A year on from the start of the London Olympics, Sky Sports' Geraint Hughes takes a look around the Olympic Park and ponders exactly what the legacy of the Games will be.

"As Usain Bolt and other stars of London 2012 return to the Olympic Stadium for the Anniversary Games, the venue they performed in has had a turbulent 12-months.

"Legacy is a much-used word that London 2012 organisers, politicians and athletes have spoken of before, during and particularly after the Games.

"The cost of converting the Olympic Stadium post London 2012 is estimated at £150m, bringing the total cost of the Olympic Stadium to a staggering £600m - especially when one considers its relatively basic design."
Geraint Hughes

"Legacy means different things to different people and as I sit inside the Olympic Stadium this weekend it is one word that keeps cropping up - what is the legacy of the venues that were used at London 2012, most notably the iconic Stadium?

"London 2012 organisers always intended that many venues would be temporary and that several existing venues would be used - The Excel Centre, Wimbledon, Lord's to name just a few.

"But inside the Olympic Park, now renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, eight permanent structures would remain as a legacy, a physical legacy.

"They are the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre, The Copper Box (which hosted the handball tournament), the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, the Lee Valley VeloPark, the former Athlete's village now called East Village, The Orbit and the Press and Broadcast centres.

"Five of those venues will host sports, but it is the Olympic Stadium that has earned notoriety and stirred most debate. Ever since the bid was won in Singapore in 2005, the design and cost of the Stadium has been controversial.

"Its future has also been in doubt with many fearing it would become another Olympic white elephant like the Barcelona Olympic Stadium which football club Espanyol and its fans disliked so much they moved out, leaving it barely used.

Concerns

"Would London 2012's top venue go the same way? There were certainly concerns before last March, after long negotiations, court hearings and Government U-turns, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) - agreed a 99 year lease with West Ham United.

"West Ham don't move into the Olympic Stadium for several years and when they do they will have to do something they don't really want to - share it with athletics.

"Because the running track must stay - the World Athletics Championships will be hosted there in 2017 and British Athletics has signed a long term agreement with the LLDC for use of the Stadium for 21 days each summer.

"Football and athletics have never really been great bedfellows in the UK, even though conversion works will include retractable seating across the track.

"The cost of converting the Olympic Stadium post London 2012 is estimated at £150m, bringing the total cost of the Olympic Stadium to a staggering £600m - especially when one considers its relatively basic design.

"Elsewhere inside the Olympic Park, the story is slightly less controversial . On July 29, the Copper Box - now run by Greenwich Leisure - opens to the public and will be the new home of the London Lions and Lionesses basketball Teams.

"The Aquatics centre has been undergoing refurbishment with most of the 17,000 temporary seats removed and the original sleek design becoming more visible.

"The velodrome - or velopark as it now known - looks as if very little has changed since last summer and the BMX track also looks ready for use. The overall cost has been difficult to ascertain, £105m seems to be a figure that most agree with, but from that tax payers in Greater London and Essex have had to pay a levy charge.

"Lord Coe believes it is incredible that eight of the permanent structures left in the Olympic Park have secure tenancies.

"Parliament though will have its say on whether the venue legacy has been achieved and whether it was worth the cost."

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