Celebrating the Olympic legacy
This summer the best of the worlds athletes joined us we all celebrated the London 2012 Olympic Games.
And in Newcastle we were delighted to host fantastic women’s football teams, including tournament winners USA, along with other great teams like New Zealand, as well as men’s tournament Gold and Silver medallists Mexico and Brazil along with those such as Honduras and Gabon who won the support of local fans.
It’s a tribute to the city and its people that so many international visitors were given such a warm welcome and a lasting impression of Newcastle to send around the world, especially from our 300 Newcastle Ambassadors.
However, as the light goes out on the Olympic flame we can all pat ourselves on the back and celebrate the benefits the Games have brought to our city.
It all started when over 40,000 people turned out to see the Olympic Torch Relay as it made its way through the city centre helped along by local people with inspirational stories, finishing on top of the Tyne Bridge with an exciting zip wire relay by Bear Grylls.
As well as seeing significant increased occupancy in our city centre hotels and businesses, the Games helped inject over £1 million into the local economy after the creation of over 500 jobs to protect visitors stay in our city following the challenges after the withdrawal of G4S.
The Games have helped to inspire a whole new generation of athletes as around 5000 children from 57 schools took part in Schools 500 games in 2011, and will continue to do so in future events.
Also 400 of Newcastle’s young people were given a once in a lifetime chance to visit the Olympic Stadium.
And during the Games more than 25,000 children and parents watched Olympics football for free providing a unique opportunity for many who would have not had the chance to be part of the celebration.
The Olympic legacy will continue to provide opportunities for all through the Active Newcastle Give it a Go campaign giving everyone the chance to try out some of the sports which secured those 29 Gold, 17 Silver, and 19 Bronze medals.
Initiatives like this will mean the people of our city will get the chance to take advantage of sports facilities at Newcastle University following an £400,000 investment by Games organisers LOCOG.
Newcastle’s own legacy will also continue beyond the city boarders as our schools helped to raise around £20,000 during the Gold Challenge Program which has helped to secure the provision of educational buildings in Third World countries.
As we congratulate all our medal winning athletes I would like to wish our Paralympics team well as they look forward to the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and hope they too can inspire the next generation.