IOC chief hails London example of regeneration
London: IOC president Jacques Rogge said
London 2012 was a "beautiful example" of what the Olympics
should be about, with a Games that breathe life back into a
tacky part of a host city.
The International Olympic Committee chief said the
regeneration of the "polluted, derelict" quarter of east
London at the heart of the Games was a "remarkable" project.
The Belgian said he was confident London would be able to
fix the IOC`s concerns about transport problems, and insisted
the new Olympic Stadium must remain as an athletics venue as
2012 chiefs work out what to do with it later.
"It`s a beautiful example of city regeneration and I
would say of a positive legacy," Rogge told AFP in London, at
the signing of a 10-year sponsorship deal between the IOC and
US consumer goods giant Procter and Gamble.
"East London was totally polluted, derelict, and we are
going to revive it. We are going to put back a heart, a soul,
life, housing and a local population. That`s what`s
"They will revamp it with new access roads, building and
social housing. That is a positive legacy of the Games.”
"We always demand that there is a legacy which is not
purely sporting, with one or two stadiums, but also has an
economic, urban and human legacy."
At the IOC`s latest check-up on London earlier this
month, Olympic chiefs said they were happy with the progress
but said their chief concern was the British capital`s
congested road network.
"It`s true that transport in London is difficult because
there is lots of traffic but the roads are not very wide,"
"But the organisers, along with the city and the public
authorities, have come up with a transport plan which, in my
opinion, could work well. I`m not worried."
The original Olympic Stadium pledges presented to the
IOC in London`s 2005 bid had the 80,000-seater venue`s top
tier removed to leave a 25,000-capacity athletics arena.
But its future is still uncertain, with local English
Premier League football side West Ham interested, and other
plans for concerts, entertainment use and even cricket have
But Rogge was adamant the athletics function would
remain. "We insist that they should not leave `white
elephants` and the scale and size of the venues must be really
meant at after Games use," the 68-year-old said.
"We are sure that there will be an athletic legacy and
another one -- could be football, could be entertainment,
could be something different. You can perfectly have a
football pitch of highest quality with an athletic track
"You can combine both, which in terms of legacy is
absolutely perfect, so we have no concerns about that."
The London Games are on schedule and running within
their budget of 9.3 billion pounds (14.5 billion dollars, 11.2
"I expect that budget to be on balance," Rogge said.
"We`re not speaking about overspending."