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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Friday, 14 January 2011

Frankie Fredericks wants 2012 Olympic track retained

By Dan Roan
BBC sports news correspondent

Frankie Fredericks
Fredericks is now a senior figure within the IOC

Frankie Fredericks has told BBC Sport that the London 2012 Olympic Stadium should keep its athletics track after the end of the Games.

The sprint legend, who is an International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board member, has come down on the side of West Ham United.

Tottenham want to demolish the £500m arena and build a football stadium, while West Ham would retain the track.

"I hope they don't demolish it and that they keep the track," said Fredericks.

Meanwhile, three-time World and Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt echoed Fredericks's stance, saying on Twitter: "London needs to keep the track in the Olympic Stadium after 2012. It would be good to run there after. Keep the track."

The Olympic Park Legacy Company will announce its decision on a preferred bidder on 28 January.

That decision will then be agreed by London mayor Boris Johnson and the government.

But Fredericks, 43, chairman of the IOC's athletes commission and a silver medallist in both the 100m and 200m in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996, said: "Keeping the track so it can be used for both sports would be a better legacy… but it's up to them. The people of England must decide.

"We don't want a white elephant, they have to do what's best for the country... [the stadium] can't be empty in 20 years."

Premier League clubs Tottenham and West Ham have both submitted bids to occupy the Olympic Stadium after the Games.

The Hammers have vowed to incorporate athletics, rugby and cricket if they are successful, while also allowing entertainment firm AEG use the venue.

West Ham plans to reduce the 80,000-seat venue in Stratford, east London, to a 60,000 capacity stadium after the Games.

Spurs meanwhile have confirmed that they will demolish most of the stadium and redevelop it for their own purpose.

Architect David Keirle explained that it would be an easier and cheaper solution for Tottenham to go to the Olympic Stadium rather than redevelop its ground White Hart Lane, as the club would spend about the same but get more for its money.

Fredericks said he would feel sad for 2012 Olympians who compete at the stadium if it is demolished or revamped without a running track.

"I have an empty feeling as I can't show my kids the stadium in Atlanta where I won a medal in 1996," he explained.

"It's the same in Manchester. I won a gold medal there in the 2002 Commonwealth Games but I can't go back to see the track where I ran."



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see also
Track uncertainty angers UK chief
14 Jan 11 |  Olympics
Spurs 'to dismantle 2012 stadium'
12 Jan 11 |  London


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