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Legacy of London Games can last two decades: Sydney Olympic Park Chief Executive

Legacy of London Games can last two decades: Sydney Olympic Park Chief Executive
July 30, 2012

An Olympic Games lasts two memorable weeks but its legacy can live on in buildings and people for decades to come if the experience of Sydney 2000 is anything to go by.

Alan Marsh, former Sydney 2000 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Ticketing Head and current Chief Executive of Sydney Olympic Park, said Australia was still reaping the benefits of the Games 12 years after they finished.

Marsh explained "the impact of the Games was felt right from the word go. In terms of the amount of investment in construction and preparing for the Games, it produced a very good economic benefit straight away.

"The legacy of the Games for Sydney has been outstanding. In preparation for the Games we learnt new skills in building venues, new skills in managing precincts, new skills in big event management. And those skills are now being utilised for every event since the Sydney Olympics."

Marsh said the venues built for the games, particularly the Olympic stadium (now ANZ Stadium), and the confidence Australia had garnered from the Games helped in the staging of the Rugby World Cup in 2003 which generated $300 million of economic benefits.

Marsh believes that it is not just the showpiece stadium that is still benefitting the city, stating "our venues, which were built for the Games, are all thriving. The indoor stadium, which is called Allphones Arena, is consistently number two in the world in terms of the box office. The stadium has introduced new events it is now a cricket venue. Our aquatic centre has over a million people coming per year. All our venues are actually going gangbusters."

The legacy has also been felt by the Australian people in the decade since the Games.

Marsh, adding "the number of school children participating in sports here has doubled. It's up around the 454,000 mark now, and there's also been a massive improvement over that time in the non-school sports. That's increased by about 30% up to about nearly a million people."

Some of the Australian competitors in the London Olympics were inspired by the Sydney Games.

"James Magnussen, who incidentally trains at Sydney Olympic Park ... was inspired by Ian Thorpe's swim in the 100 metres - four by 100 metres relay. Likewise, Sally Pearson was inspired by Cathy Freeman's 400-metre run. So the sports people, especially the successful ones, do inspire the young people."

Sydney Olympic Park is now a thriving commercial, residential and sporting venue. But for Marsh, one of the greatest aspects of the legacy of the Sydney Games is the opportunities it offers other Games hosts to learn and plan for their own Games legacy.

"One of the clear pieces of evidence of the success of Sydney Olympic Park is the number of people from overseas involved in staging events who want to come through for technical inspections, to talk about how to stage events. In excess of 10 years later they're still coming here and, in fact, there's more coming of late. We've had people from London, from Rio, from the Russian republics and from throughout Asia. They are all very interested to learn some of the success stories of the Sydney Olympics and especially what to do after the event.

Marsh concludes "a two week outstanding sporting event is one thing, but the true success is what happens after that event."

Australian expertise will be showcased to global decision makers at a special event in London during the Games, during which a free app detailing the 'who's who' of the Australian major sporting event industry, Track Record will be launched. The event will be held under the banner of Australia Unlimited, the nation brand which highlights Australia's creativity, innovation and sophistication.

A special edition of the Australia Unlimited iPad magazine app celebrating Australian contribution to the London Olympics will be published on the day of the Opening Ceremony.

For more information go to www.australiaunlimited.com 

10th September 2010 - FORUM CONSIDERS THE LEGACY OF THE SYDNEY OLYMPICS

9th September 2009 - ELITE SWIMMING LOSES COACHES: CONTRACTS TO BLAME? 

7th October 2008 - AUSTRALIANS BACK OLYMPIC SWIMMING


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