Following the London 2012 Olympic Games (27 July to 12 August 2012) and the Paralympic Games (29 August to 9 September 2012), members of the Lords debated the games’ long-term legacy for the UK.
Baroness Doocey (Liberal Democrat), former chair of both the London Assembly and Metropolitan Police committees responsible for monitoring the Games, tabled the debate. She explained: 'A major reason why London won the bid to host the Games was its promise of a lasting legacy.'
She said: 'London originally promised in the bid document that "the most enduring legacy of the Olympics will be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there." It is also promised that the Olympic Park will provide local people with significant improvements in health and well-being, education, skills and training, job opportunities, cultural entitlements, housing, social integration and the environment.'
She congratulated LOCOG for helping to fulfil a sporting legacy for disabled people by 'delivering the first fully integrated Games, with the Paralympics as much a part of the games as the Olympics. The result was the most successful Paralympic Games ever, which inspired large numbers of people and did much to raise the profile of disabled people.'
She added: 'However, to provide a legacy for children with disabilities who are being educated in mainstream schools, as most are, we need PE teachers to be appropriately trained, to know what specialist equipment is available and where to get it.'
Lord Bates (Conservative), who walked from Olympia in Greece to London's Westminster to raise awareness of the Olympic Truce, spoke of the importance of its commitment to promoting global peace. He said: 'The Olympic Truce was not just part of the ancient Olympic Games, it was the entire point of the ancient Olympic Games. I believe that the Olympic Truce can again be a catalyst for peace around the world.'
He spoke of the success of securing every member state of the United Nation 'not only to sign the resolution but to co-sponsor it.' He added: 'I believe that the bar has been raised significantly in London 2012, and that is something of which we can be proud.' To ensure the legacy is not diminished he said: '... we hand to future hosts a legacy measured not only in medals won and records broken but in lives saved and hope restored: a legacy which is truly more than gold.'
Other speakers who contributed to the debate included:
- Baroness Benjamin (Liberal Democrat), board member of the Olympic Diversity & Inclusion Committee
- Baroness Ford (Labour), chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company
- Baroness Grey-Thompson (Crossbench), former Paralympian with 11 gold medals and an executive committee member of the British Wheelchair Sports Foundation
- Lord Hall of Birkenhead (Crossbench), member of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, and chairman of the Cultural Olympiad Board
Image: Press Association