2012 Olympics


In 2012 the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games are coming to London. The medals above have been made in Wales at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant and the first event even before the opening ceremony in London will have kicked off in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. But how will the Olympic games affect Wales? Will the positives be greater than the negatives? Or will we suffer in Wales as London and England benefit?


2012 Olympic Medals

Royal Mint Brain Box

In the 12th century the minting of coins became concentrated in London and in the 13th century the mint became established in the Tower of London. Almost all of the nation's coinage was minted in the Tower from the 14th century onwards. The site however was too cramped for steam powered machinery and during the industrial revolution the mint moved in 1810 out of the tower and onto the site of an old monastery on Tower Hill. As well as making the coins and medals for the UK the Royal Mint as it became known also gained the contracts to make coins and medals for other countries and even this site became too small. In 1968 the new Royal Mint opened in South Wales in Llantrisant. Today it is the world's largest export mint; making the coins for over 60 different countries.
Millennium Stadium - Cardiff
The Olympic Games today are seen as an opportunity to boost development or regenerate an area. The London bid was successful on the grounds that it would regenerate part of East London called Stratford. Stratford is in the London Borough of Newham where the average salary is just 20% of that in nearby Kensington & Chelsea. For every stop on the Jubilee underground line from Westminster to Newham an adult male will lose a year of life expectancy for each stop; 7 stops = 7 years. It is clear that Newham and Stratford needed help.

The Newham area used to be dominated by industry linked to the old London Docklands. Both the Barcelona and Sydney Olympic games had been used to successfully regenerate very similar regions. The Olympic project as planned should create 40,000 new homes and create 50,000 new jobs helping Stratford out of its economic troubles. Great for London but where is the money coming from? Some of it unfortunately from Wales as both Lottery and Westminster Government money is diverted from other regions of the UK to the Olympic project.

There will be some massive opportunities for Wales; increased uptake in sport could improve the health of the nation and reduce our healthcare costs. This is sometimes referred to as the Olympic legacy. Welsh businesses could take the contracts for the Olympic Games creating jobs. Overseas teams could base themselves in Wales paying for accommodation and facilities. Wales could also benefit from a boost in tourism numbers. So the question remains to be answered. How will Wales benefit from the Olympics in London?

  • undefinedLegacy - refers to the benefits that will be left behind after the Olympic Games.
  • Sporting the Welsh Government has a policy to boost participation using the games to increase both the 5x60 and Dragon Sport programmes in Schools as well as the Gemau Cymru project led by the Urdd.
  • Cultural; the 'Cultural Olympiad' has been a four year UK-wide cultural celebration of the Olympics running from 2008 to 2012. In Wales the Arts Council of Wales has led 5 major projects in Wales under the £2.85 million Power of the Flame programme aimed at young people and disabled people.
  • Economic; at the time of the one year countdown, over 40 of the 212 Olympic contracts had been awarded to Welsh firms including providing the steel for making the main Olympic Stadium as well as the medals. Major teams such as New Zealand and the Australian Paralympic teams have chosen Wales as their training bases. And over half of the expected £2 billion from tourists are expected after the games so Wales is marketing hard to get more than our fair share.

undefinedLondon Olympic Park

At the start an estimated £1.7bn would be spent on transport and regeneration costs for the London Olympics. Under the Barnett formula where UK funding in England needs to be matched with proportionate funding for the devolved countries; at least £165m would be due to Scotland, more than £100m to Wales and about £65m to Northern Ireland. Sadly the old Westminster Government exempted the Olympic funding from the Barnett formula meaning Wales misses out. Extra funding allocated by the current coalition government has been included in the Barnett formula so for Christmas 2011 the Welsh Government had a late present of £8.9 million.

However it is estimated that up to £100 million of lottery money that should have come to Wales has been diverted to the Olympics and Plaid Cymru estimate that if all the funding diverted from Wales from the Olympics were added up it would come to a staggering £330 million!


What do you think?
  • Olympics 2012 will be a great celebration for the UK

  • It will bring huge opportunities for future business

  • More people in Wales will take up sport making us healthier

  • Wales can market itself on a global stage like never before

  • Welsh athletes are really going to be at the front of team GB

  • You will probably have a great summer and really enjoy and remember it.

Look at the pros (advantages) and cons (disadvantages) for the Olympics of Wales. Decide if the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are good or bad for us here in Wales.


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