Games Produce Full, Noisy Venues; Debate Arises On How To Continue Legacy
London Games officials claimed they have delivered on their promise to have packed and noisy venues, despite criticism earlier in the Games about empty seats in accredited areas reserved for officials and media, according to EUROSPORT. Organizers also announced that 2.7 million people have attended one of the capital's live sites and that 160,000 watched the men's triathlon, 120,000 the women's marathon and 60,000 the women's triathlon. LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said, "The passion and spirit of the British public has been outstanding" (EUROSPORT, 8/9).
CONFLICTING IDEAS: Meanwhile in London, Hélène Mulholland wrote London Mayor Boris Johnson has "put himself on a collision course" with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and all sports-averse children. Johnson suggested students should do "a compulsory two hours of sport every day" to secure the sporting legacy of the London Games. Johnson said that he believed the government shared his passionate belief in the importance of sport. Johnson: "I hope they will build on the amazing spirit of these Games to encourage participation in schools in London and across the country...I would like frankly to see the regime I used to enjoy, a compulsory two hours of sport every day -- that's made me who I am." Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell called for cross-party consensus on the Olympic sporting legacy, as well as the reintroduction of PE taught by properly trained teachers in primary schools, funding to promote partnerships between schools and investment in school sports facilities (GUARDIAN, 8/9). Also in London, Kiran Stacey noted Johnson undermined Cameron, who has been defending the government's decision to remove the previous government's target of two hours a week. His words "fuel a growing debate on how the government should build a legacy and capitalise on the enthusiasm generated by the Games." Jowell has also called on ministers to reverse the decision to drop the two hours of mandatory sport a week target. Jowell: "We can only realise the promised legacy if we work in a cross-party way and commit to the long-term. We need to reinstate school sport for a start." Great Britain's heptathlon Gold Medalist Jessica Ennis added, "You don't want it to be too competitive at the start. It's all about the love and enjoyment of the event" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/9).
WORLD VIEWS: "While the British have been overwhelmed by the record-breaking success of Team GB, what do the rest of the world think about the London Olympics?" Here, the London Daily Mail looks at a cross-section of the foreign press coverage (DAILY MAIL, 8/9).