September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
COMMENT: OLYMPICS 2012 ” GO FOR IT!
The decision by the Cabinet to back a London bid for the 2012 Olympics must be good, not only for the UK”s capital but for the whole country. The recent Commonwealth Games in Manchester showed that with enthusiasm, professionalism and a general lack of interference by politicians and civil servants vast sporting extravagances can be made to work and bring real benefits. When a great Olympic champion such as Maurice Johnson can be hired as a somewhat sceptical journalist and come away as a confirmed Anglophile there is real cause for hope. Manchester can act as a showcase for the London bid, a reminder that we, the British, can organise anything when we really want to, particularly when our backs are up against the wall. The 1996 European soccer championships were also a great success and every year Wimbledon (tennis now being an Olympic sport) shows what we can do. The bonus of a successful bid is the rejuvenation of a massive swath of East London. There is something in it for everyone.
The timing of the 2012 games is ideal. Many of the important components are already committed. By that date Terminal 5 at Heathrow would have been completed, as well as Eurostar, with its east London interchange at Stratford. The London City Airport extension and railway will be finished by 2006. Even the Dome might be sorted out. Hopefully it will still be there for Olympic use! And whilst the minister seems to have some doubts surely Crossrail, or at least some of it, can be sorted out over the next nine years!
Besides the Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport spectacle, two other events fresh in our minds demonstrate the good and bad of spectaculars and the result, on one hand of splendid leadership and on the other, government meddling. The Queen”s Silver Jubilee was put together by a devoted team who seemingly wanted to produce a first class product without profit and to a budget. It was good news. The Dome fiasco was wrong from day one, a political football with a seemingly endless list of experts and consultants, producing nothing at vast cost.
London has a history of successful Olympics. 1908, when the Marathon distance was first established, and of course 1948, where a war ravaged society rose to the occasion and succeeded.
There are two aspects to the 2012 Olympic Games. The bid and the event itself. The Manchester Commonwealth Games and the Queen”s Jubilee prove that we can manage the actual event. The real problem is the bid.
What is needed to lead London”s submission for the 2012 games is a leader with the tenacity, drive and determination to convince a sceptical and highly political world that there is only one real choice for the event. Not a failed politico but probably a successful business person with the experience in international sporting affairs that the role demands. Not only has that person to be responsible for all the details of the bid, but also, and indeed a much more difficult task, is required to lead a team able to convince the majority of the Olympic nations that London deserves the accolade of 2012 Olympic City.
The 2012 Olympics in London may be a dream that might never be realised but at least we have made a start. Away with the sceptics. True we have a mountain to climb, but like the great explorers of old we want to climb it because it is there. Throw away the politics. March forward for the common cause!