24 August - Olympic Legacy musings

Well I wouldn't fancy sharing a beer with the LOCOG officer who described the recent Games as 'a sporting overlay for the biggest regeneration project in Europe'. Strangely enough over the 16 days of competition in nearly 30 sports that wasn't foremost in my mind.

Will it ignite a sustained sports participation boost in a nation that becomes ever more sedentary and ever more obsessed with quick wins and celebrity based on nothing in particular? The last seven years of basically standstill figures in sports participation suggest it will not be easy or quick.  The basic maths - simplifying on a total cost of £9 billion over the UK population of 60 million gives about £150 per head, and the nation has had seven years to raise this sum. Maybe less obvious value if you live in Aberdeen or Pembrokeshire than if you are in East London or Essex but it's not a vast sum once it's broken down in this simplistic way. And of course a swathe of East London has a load of major newbuild even aside from the sports venues.  From a purely selfish perspective I spent two fantastic mornings in Hyde Park watching the triathlons, free of charge.  With hindsight just those four hours were worth £150 of my money though if anyone working for Seb or Boris invoices me for this I might be less magnanimous. A smart columnist in The Economist explained much more eloquently how some special moments are worth having just for their own brief value rather than for what, if anything, may follow: " The life of a country is made up of moments and the golden ones can be cherished even if they change nothing"