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  • Coe Says Legacy, Sustainability Are Same for the Olympics


    London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe on the video screen at Legacy Lives. (ATR)  
    (ATR) The head of the London Olympics says plans for a legacy from the Games are moving ahead, telling the Legacy Lives conference in Barbados that the concept of legacy means much the same as the buzz word “sustainability”.

    “When we talk about sustainability, we really do talk about the DNA of these Games,” Coe said.

    “We’re a lot further down the road than we were certainly two years ago,” said Coe, ticking off a list of projects that combine legacy with sustainability, spurred by the coming of the 2012 Olympics. He mentioned new housing, cleaned waterways and scaled-back venues for post-Games use.

    “People recognize that we have to, as the Olympic Movement, we don’t just build big because our Games are big. We don’t leave things behind without thinking about how they are going to be used, who’s going to pay for them, what are they going to look like in 15, 20 years time.”

    Coe, not able to appear live in Barbados for the meeting, spoke in a videotaped interview with conference moderator John Scott from UK Sport.

    Coe said that legacy must be planned into the Games from the early stages, claiming that London is the first Olympics to use a master plan from inception to post-Games.
    Barbara Pope of Legacy Barbados says the 2007 Cricket World Cup had a big impact on the island. (ATR)  

    “If you tend to address those issues once the party has left town,” Coe said, legacy becomes “non-existent”.

    While acknowledging that the attention being paid to some legacy issues may be outside the remit of an organizing committee, Coe says that is not possible for him to overlook the ability of the Olympics to create change.

    “There is a responsibility of an organizing committee to see beyond the day-to-day practicality of delivering the Olympic Games,” said Coe.

    Coe was the keynote speaker in London at Legacy Lives 2007, the inaugural edition of the conference, presented by pmpLegacy, the U.K. consultancy which has advised a number of major sporting events on legacy issues.

    One client, Legacy Barbados, was created to capitalize on the 2007 Cricket World Cup. In remarks prior to Coe, Legacy Barbados chief Brenda Pope said that the event last year has produced more than $163 million in benefits for a cost of around $62 million.

    Coe became the only Olympic organizing committee leader to appear on the two-day program when Vancouver 2010 CEO John Furlong was unable to make the trip to Barbados. Furlong was to deliver a closing speech for the meeting, which will be held in Vancouver in 2009.
    The BOCOG display at Legacy Lives presented examples of legacy from the 2008 Games. (ATR)  

    A presentation by representatives from BOCOG did not address legacy issues, of which there would seem to be many for Beijing. Instead, the BOCOG officials delivered a recitation of facts and figures for the Beijing Olympics, augmented with a video of venues for the Games that included Chinese captions as the only explanation for what was being seen on the screen. A display by BOCOG in the exhibit area of Legacy Lives was focused on Beijing legacy issues. 

    With reporting from Ed Hula  in Barbados 

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