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Did The London 2012 Olympics Really Make Britain Sportier?

  • The London 2012 Olympics were a huge financial success – boosting the UK economy by £9.9bn!
  • But did they inspire Britons to participate in sport and get fit?
  • There are pros and cons to each side…
  • Did the Olympics inspire YOU to get fit? Let us know in the poll!

We talk a big game about how incredible the London Olympics were in 2012, but how successful was it really? Did the Olympics inspire Britons to play sport?

Some people claim the population was captivated by Olympic drama and inspired 1.4 million people into picking up the sports themselves, whereas others call it a “wasted opportunity” - a flash in the pan sponsored by junk food companies, and something longer term as needed to actually leave a lasting effect.

It’s a divisive subject… So let’s break down the pros and cons below.

London Olympics 2012 Men 100m start

The legendary Men's 100m final was a highlight of the London Olympics, but did it inspire anyone to take up sport?

The Pros

Besides football stadiums, the odd gym and sports hall, London wasn’t really rife with sporting options.

The huge regeneration of east London was a success in bringing more activity options to the nation’s capital. Now there was literally no excuse for future generations to get involved!

London Olympics 2012 stadium

East London was transformed for the Olympics, providing many great sporting venues for people to get active.

The government claim that 1.4 million more people were playing sport each week than when London won the Olympic bid.

After £1bn of public funding into grassroots sport over the last five years, there’s definitely a case here to say the Olympics have “inspired a generation.”

The Cons

Okay… We’ve heard this “inspire a generation” rhetoric a lot, but we’ve actually seen the number of active people go DOWN since the Olympics.

According to Sport England’s ‘Active People’ survey, there was a rise in people participating in sport once a week by 1%. However, that rise has all but disappeared by October last year.

London Olympics 2012 cycling

While the nation was inspired by the Olympics in the short term, nobody really picked up sports like cycling in the long term.

The problem is while they did work hard to inspire people over the Olympics, that’s just a short window of a few weeks… They could have done more to keep the momentum after the games ended.

Unfortunately, they didn’t – and the stats show the growing decline in people getting active because of it.

Take the poll

So did you get inspired to be sportier because of the Olympics? Do you still stay active now? Take the poll!

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