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No 2012 opportunity for sports clubs - 'not a surprise'

84% of 2000 sports clubs in a survey conducted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance do not expect any benefit from London hosting the Games. 'We are disappointed that 84 per cent of clubs do not see the Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity,' said Chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Tim Lamb. 'However, this does not come as a surprise. We've been highlighting just how vital legacy is to the future of sports clubs.'

Neal Underwood, the chairman of the Sharks Canoe club in Middlesex expressed disappointment with the Olympics Lea Valley White Water facility, which will be prohibitively expensive for youngsters, and said: 'The Olympic money is generating around the elite athletes but it doesn't filter down to the youngsters or to help the youngsters, it seems that there is no strategic overall plan that links the elite and grass roots.'

Why should anyone be surprised? The same point was made back in 2004, specifically about the benefits to sports clubs, by Fred Coalter in London 2012: a sustainable sporting legacy? which was included in After the Gold Rush: 'trickle down benefits from the Olympics are not automatic” (Hindson et al., 1994: 22). Unless the Games are embedded in a longer-term developmental strategy they are very unlikely to have any general, and only limited sports-specific, impacts.'

The government's Game Plan report, also quoted by Prof Coalter, made a similar more general point: ‘it would seem that hosting events is not an effective, value for money, method of achieving . . . a sustained increase in mass participation’.

Hearing isn't the problem, it's listening.


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