Sport and Politics In Great Britain

Authored by: Kevin Jefferys

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679

10.4324/9781315761930.ch17

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Abstract

The London Olympics of 2012 were a spectacular global phenomenon. Extravagant pledges were made in advance by politicians and officials of a tangible Olympic “legacy”, promising sustainable regeneration in east London and lasting improvements for British sport. Huge sums of public money, in excess of £9 billion, were committed for the construction of purpose-built venues and to help ensure the success of a few weeks of sporting endeavour. Although some criticised the scale of funding ahead of the Games, the medal-winning exploits of British Olympians and Paralympians – seen by television audiences around the world – helped to create a favourable public reaction. The whole picture was very different when London previously staged the Games. In 1948 Britain was still recovering from the ravages of the Second World War. The government of the day provided moral but little financial support, television coverage was in its infancy and the idea of building a dedicated Olympic park or making expansive legacy promises was a non-starter. The 1948 Games proved successful but are commonly remembered as “the austerity Olympics” (Hampton 2008).

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