After five years and ten visits, the last International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspection visit before London 2012 begins was in town last week
The final visit by Jacques Rogge and the co-ordination commission is a key milestone in the run-up to any Games and it was great to receive such an emphatic thumbs-up from the IOC on London’s progress to date.
What was particularly pleasing was Jacques Rogge’s recognition of London 2012 as a “legacy blueprint” for future Olympic and Paralympic Games when he met with the Prime Minister, Culture Secretary and myself at Number 10.
Legacy is at the heart of London 2012. Since the moment Seb Coe stood on the podium in Singapore and presented our vision of an Olympics held in Britain, it has been in the DNA of the project. From the outset, long before the foundations of the first venues were laid, plans for how life will look after the Games were being made.
Long term goals
Admittedly at times the story of the legacy has been a difficult one to tell, not least because it is only after the event that the true long term benefits will be realised. But for the first time our legacy publication – Beyond 2012 – unveiled last week, sets out the full extent of the sporting, economic, regeneration and community benefits that will be delivered from hosting the Games. We’ve also launched a Beyond 2012 tumblr site, detailing one facet of the London 2012 legacy every day until the opening ceremony. It’s already showing the diversity of impacts that the Games are having up and down the country.
When I travel up and down the country it is always amazing to see how the Games are touching people’s lives in many different ways. The growing enthusiasm for sport is evident and we are working hard to lay the foundations that will encourage more people, particularly the nation’s youth, to be inspired by the Games and get involved in sport following the inspiration of the Games.
Passion for competition
The School Games competition is a key part of that. It is bringing a competitive spirit back to school sport and this passion was very much evident when pupils took on the Prime Minister at badminton and table tennis in the Downing Street garden.
With Olympians Denise Lewis, Darren Campbell, and Jason Gardener, and Paralympic star Ellie Simmonds all now signed up as School Games Ambassadors too, we have made a great start in encouraging young people to have a sporting habit for life.
Of course there is a lot of work to be done between now and 27 July, and still more building blocks to be put in place on the legacy front. But I am proud of what has been achieved so far – and I know that there is a lot more to come.