London 2012 and the challenge of Olympic legacy

  • London 2012 and the challenge of Olympic legacy

    Professor John Gold

    The creation of a lasting legacy was a pivotal issue for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    Whilst the debate will continue as to whether London will meet its commitments, a concern for enduring positive outcomes has been at the heart of staging the Olympics since the birth of the modern Games in 1896.

    Professor John Gold‘s research demonstrates how host cities have repeatedly framed, and reframed, their pursuit of those outcomes in light of the perceived values and needs of their particular times.

    Drawing on his work, Professor Gold has made significant contributions to public and policy debate about the lasting impact of London 2012. This has been done firstly by identifying the challenges posed by demands for achieving a discernible legacy from staging the Games. Secondly, by helping to build a critical understanding of the formal and informal procedures by which knowledge is transferred from host cities to their successors.

    Professor Gold was a founding member of a team that was established to study the steep learning curve that the four-yearly movement of the Olympics and Paralympics from one host city to another imposes on the organising committees responsibility for staging the Games.

    Unprecedented cooperation

    This involved unprecedented cooperation from the key Games-making agency - the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG). Key data was drawn from interviews conducted with senior members of LOCOG between November 2011 and December 2012, thereby spanning the planning, implementation and wrapping up phases of the Games.

    Professor Gold‘s particular area of responsibility was closely based on his urban historical expertise and concerned with the key Olympic venues.

    He and Dr Vassil Girginov of Brunel University co-wrote the final report for the project, which was delivered to Podium in May 2013 and published in June 2013. Its analyses pointed to the exceptional nature of LOCOG as a fixed-term task force organisation and the demonstrable importance of knowledge acquisition for its functioning.

    Professor Gold has made significant contributions to the lasting impact of London 2012

    Professor Gold has served as a specialist advisor for a number of areas related to Olympic legacy. This included acting as chair and rapporteur for a high-level meeting entitled Olympics and Paralympics 2012: Creating a UK Legacy for the Future, Today, organised by Inside Government. Professor Gold also contributed to the Economist Intelligence Unit‘s prestigious report on London 2012 entitled, Legacy 2012: Understanding the impact of the Olympic Games.

    Future Olympics

    Further to his involvement with London 2012, Professor Gold was invited to provide expert opinion for to the team that successfully bid for the Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020 and for a Winter Olympics bid considered by Tromsø in Norway.

    Professor Gold’s reputation as an expert commentator has been recognized by the frequent work he continues to undertake for the media both nationally and internationally.

    His work with Games organisors continues – especially after the successful application of Tokyo 2020 – and serves to highlight the value of Professor Gold’s historically based analyses of Olympic legacy.

    Read more about the full Impact Case Study on RADAR. Further information on Professor John Gold can be found on his Profile page