21 January 2011
What happens after?
Andrea Bertorelli writes:
With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games over a year away, questions about the legacy of the Olympic Stadium have suddenly taken centre stage. Will the venue become the new home of West Ham United or Tottenham Hotspur football clubs?
The controversy hinges on the athletics track. West Ham pledge to keep it; Tottenham want to demolish the whole stadium and replace it with a sixty thousand-seater purposely built for football (and with no athletics facility). In return, the Spurs promise the investment of a considerable amount of money to rebuild the athletics stadium at Crystal Palace and set up an “athletics legacy” fund.
Not unnaturally, all the stake holders have been campaigning hard, arousing considerable media interest. To dismantle a stadium costing £547 million sounds madness. However, an article published in the Guardian suggests that doing this would benefit the athletics community in the long run: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2011/jan/16/olympic-stadium-tottenham-west-ham)
The spectre that inevitably haunts the Olympic authorities is that the London Olympic stadium will join a long list of “white elephant stadiums” (c.f. Montreal, Atlanta and South Africa) which have been used for a single event and then abandoned. It's not a good look for the Olympic and Paralympic Games movement.
An upsurge in interest in athletics after the Games may well require a huge facility, but is this a feasible proposition? Research is going on already into this aspect of the Olympics legacy and the debate is set to run and run. I invite you to read and click on the links below and engage with the controversy:
Roult, R and Lefebvre S. ‘Planning and Reconversion of Olympic Heritages: The Montreal Olympic Stadium’ in International Journal of the History of Sport Nov/Dec2010, Vol. 27 Issue 16-18, p2731 17p.
Lending collections shelfmark : 4542.282000
Adler, D. ‘Parisian Delight’ in Panstadia International Quarterly Report Apr 2004: Vol. 10 Issue 4. p. 44-46;48-49 5p.
Lending collections shelfmark: 6357.476500
Tottenham hit back at critics over plans to move to Olympic Park: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/tottenham-hotspur/8263280/Tottenham-hit-back-at-critics-over-plans-to-move-to-Olympic-Park.html
Mike Lee: Only Spurs can stop Olympic Stadium becoming a white elephant: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/jan/16/mike-lee-olympic-stadium-white-elephant
Tottenham bid for Olympic Stadium 'makes sense long term', say AEG: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/oct/05/spurs-olympic-stadium-aeg-bid
West Ham and Tottenham's 2012 stadium plans criticised: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympic_games/london_2012/9366610.stm
South Africa's World Cup venues are 'white elephants': http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/south-africas-world-cup-venues-are-white-elephants-1840958.html
'White elephant' stadium will drain public cash years after Olympics: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article5705047.ece