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2012 ambassador slams plan to demolish Olympic Stadium

Bid leader Seb Coe (centre) and 14-year-old Amber Charles (right) prepare to board the plane at London City airport with the 600-page document
Charles joined a host of British stars in the Olympic bid team

A basketball player who led the publicity for London's 2012 bid says tearing down the Olympic Stadium after the Games is an "appalling" idea.

Amber Charles, from East Ham, was 14 in 2005 when she accompanied the British team to Singapore for the IOC meeting that awarded the Games to the capital.

Tottenham Hotspur have said they will demolish the stadium if they win a bid to take it over.

Charles told the BBC: "To pull it down would destroy the whole idea."

In an interview with BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan, she added: "I think it's appalling really. A lot of our bid was about it being a lasting legacy for London and it being there for years to come."

Charles, who is now on a basketball scholarship at Temple University in Tennessee in the United States, became a youth ambassador for the 2012 bid, presenting London's 600-page proposal to members of the International Olympic Committee.

"The stadium is meant to be something for London to be proud of but that's not going to be the case if Tottenham win," she said.

"What's going to be left to say the Olympics have been here at all?"

Spurs have revealed they would take down most of the new stadium if their bid is successful because it is unsuitable for their purposes.

The Premier League club argue that the seating is too far from the pitch because of the presence of a running track.

Olympic Stadium
Tottenham say they will develop the stadium site with their own cash

West Ham United are also bidding to take over the stadium after the Games but say they will retain most of the structure, although they will reduce the venue's capacity from 80,000.

They want to create a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use in a collaboration with Newham Council.

The Olympic Park Legacy Committee will make its recommendations on the site's future to the Mayor of London and the government by 28 January.

Tottenham have promised to invest in London sport as part of their proposal to take over the stadium, pledging to contribute to the refurbishment of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace.

But Charles, who hopes to represent Great Britain at the 2012 event, said the club's plans would mean east London misses out on a valuable sporting facility.

"Having the stadium in east London would be a massive thing for the area, something to be proud of," she said.

The Tottenham bid has been submitted in collaboration with entertainment and sports giants AEG, which runs the O2 Arena beside the River Thames in Greenwich, south London.

The Spurs proposal has already attracted criticism for its lack of provision for athletics, with UK Athletics (UKA) labelling the initiative "completely unacceptable".

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see also
Palace unveil new stadium plans
20 Jan 11 |  Crystal Palace
Spurs 'to dismantle 2012 stadium'
12 Jan 11 |  London
Gold fears 2012 'white elephant'
23 Mar 10 |  West Ham
Olympic legacy plans 'unclear'
16 Feb 10 |  London

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