London 2012: A Games “for everyone by everyone” says Seb Coe
A Games for everyone by everyone is how London 2012 chief Seb Coe has described the Olympics.
Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committeee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), was speaking this morning at a post-Games press conference with Mayor of London Boris Johnson - who did his version of Mo Farah’s Mobot during the event - and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
He said: “I would like to thank everyone in the UK who has made what we have witnessed and will witness possible.
“We said at the beginning of this that this would be a Games for everyone, and I think by the end of last night we were able to say these were a Games by everyone. And that is exactly what we set out to achieve seven years ago.”
The trio spoke about the legacy of the Games, saying there would be a focus on getting young people to participate in sport.
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Mr Hunt said: “I think we have got to be very realistic about the fact that it is unbelievably important to get more young people playing more sport.
“It’s not something governments can solve on their own, in the end it’s about parents wanting people to get off the sofa, and get out and be fit and active, it’s about culture and values inside schools as well as at home, but government has a role.
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“Education policy has a role, sports policy has a role, what we do to help clubs and tap into that legacy that’s very important, money has a role, but it’s not the only solution.
“This is one of those things, a bit like the Games we just hosted, where everyone pulls together we can turn it around but I also think we shouldn’t underestimate the challenge.”
Mr Johnson spoke about how London had broken records, not just in competition but across transport networks and in tourism. He said more than 60million journeys were made on the Tube during the Olympics, and that transactions were up nearly 20 per cent in London restaurants and almost 25 per cent in the capital’s nightclubs, while theatre and ticket sales were boosted by 114 per cent.
Tribute was also paid to the volunteers at the Games, and the members of the Armed Forces who stepped in at the last minute to provide security for the Games.
Asked what their favourite moments of the Games were, the three men all picked different things.
Lord Coe said: “For me unquestionably the British spectators in all those venues. They were the ones who created the theatre.”
Mr Hunt picked watching Kate Grainger win her rowing gold, while Mr Johnson picked Mo Farah. The mayor said: “First on Super Saturday then a couple of nights ago when he did it again.
“It was stunning to watch it, you genuinely felt he was gaining speed because of the support of the crowd.”