News / Europe

East London Still Waiting for Olympics Legacy

East London Still Waiting for Olympics Legacyi
X
August 07, 2013 11:41 AM
London is marking the first anniversary of what were widely hailed as very successful Olympic Games. Officials say the promised long-term benefits from the games are being delivered. But VOA’s Al Pessin found that many people who live near the Olympic Park are still waiting to see them.
Al Pessin
— London is marking the first anniversary of what were widely hailed as very successful Olympic Games. Officials say the promised long-term benefits from the games are being delivered.  Many people who live near the Olympic Park are still waiting to see them.

It seems like a long time ago that people crowded the Olympic Park, decked out in national colors and ready to cheer for their favorite athletes.

Now, there are some events in the Olympic Park, but the stadium and iconic tower stand mostly silent behind homes in the Stratford neighborhood.  There is a shiny new shopping center, but the nearby High Street looks much as it did before the Olympics.

Steve, a demolition expert, has lived in the area for 20 years. “It was like a building site while they were doing it.  It was like a holiday park when it was on.  And when they’ve all gone, it’s like the circus has left town,” he said.

Construction of expensive new housing doesn't impress many local residents, who are disillusioned about the promised Olympics legacy.

“It created a lot of revenue, but that was a one-off.  So, in the long term, I don’t think it’s done a lot for this area at all,” said student Maria.

“It’s brought lot of jobs but let’s just see how it goes in five years’ or 10 years’ time,” said Frances, rehabilitation worker.

Frances has the right idea, according to Professor Allan Brimicombe of the University of East London. He's been studying the "Olympics Effect" for years.    

“It will come but it’s not going to be immediate.  And those types of benefits gradually grow," explained Brimicombe. "It’s on the politicians, to make sure that the benefits that can come from this are actually obtained.”

One of the key politicians with that responsibility is the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He claims the city is already getting an Olympics boost. “I think that it is very largely, or at least partially, as a result of those Olympics and Paralympics that we are seeing what I think is an unquestioned surge of confidence and optimism about investment in London,” he said.

Officials claim there has been more than 15 billion dollars of job-creating investment directly linked to the Olympics, with more on the way.

And it would be wrong to say everyone in the Games’ neighborhood is a skeptic. Andrew, an umemployed laborer stated, "I’d say it’s a pretty positive impact, because it’s sort of like brought the area up to speed.”

“It’s just great for everybody, just fantastic,” added homemaker Linda.

For some, the aura of the Games lingers as they wait for tangible benefits the organizers and politicians have promised.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid