Legacy, sustainability and Olympism: crafting urban outcomes at London 2012

Gold, Margaret and Gold, John Robert (2014) Legacy, sustainability and Olympism: crafting urban outcomes at London 2012. Staps Revue Internationale des Sciences du Sport et de l'education physique, 3 (105). pp. 23-35. ISSN 0247-106X


The staging of the Olympic Games has, since the outset, been intended to produce positive and lasting outcomes, but each age has seen the Olympic movement and their appointed host cities recasting the ways in which they have sought to achieve such outcomes in light of their own values and needs. Seen against that background, this paper opens with an historical overview that spans the period since the re-establishment of the Olympics in 1896. It traces the ways in which four notions – memory, regeneration, sustainability and legacy – have progressively emerged as issues that shape the agenda of desired urban outcomes, particularly exploring the evolution of the dynamic, continually evolving but uneasy relationship between sustainability and the overlapping concept of ‘legacy’. The latter part of the paper illustrates these ideas with regard to the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. It analyses the ‘One Planet Games’ concept, how this was developed for the bid, and how it was subsequently put into practice, commenting particularly on the carbon footprint, the creation of the Olympic Park (as sustainable legacy) and the promotion of sustainable living. The conclusion comments on the continuing challenges encountered in maintaining the visibility of sustainability plans while addressing long-term legacy.

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