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 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 14:58 GMT
Could London host the Olympics?
Could London host the Olympic Games successfully?
British athlete Paula Radcliffe has spoken out in support of London's bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012.

Could London make the grade?

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Paula Radcliffe triumphed at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester earlier this year.

And she feels that the event showed Britain is more than capable of staging the biggest events in the sporting world.

But the recent Picketts Lock fiasco, where the government's refusal to bankroll an athletics stadium cost the UK the 2005 World Athletics Championships, could cast a shadow on Britain's credentials.

And the political wrangling and funding problems that have delayed the construction of the new Wembley Stadium have also put British sport in a bad light.

Could London prove the doubters wrong?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appears below.

What depresses me is that the minute the Commonwealth Games where over, the BOA came out and said it would back London, and only London.

This seems such an inane thing to say. Look at the facts, conjestion, Wembley fiasco, Millennium Dome fiasco, Millennium bridge fiasco, how many more mess ups can London get away with? It is too expensive, too crowded, and it would take too long to plan anything.

Why not let Manchester have another crack? The IOC keeps going on about 'downsizing' the Olympics to allow more cities to bid for it (At the rate its going, the Olympics will end up going between US cities, and Sydney all the time)

In the time it took London to make up its mind over Wembley, which is 1 single building project, Manchester had not only bidded for, but got, organised, built, ran, and made a success of, the largest multi-sports event in the country. Ever.

If only the BOA would realise that the UK extends past the M25, we would all be a lot happier.
Paul Woodcock, Manchester, England

London for the Olympics is a joke. London is over-crowded, doesn't have the room, and the existing infrastructure is overloaded with no room to increase capacity. Manchester has most of the facilities in place, transport there has the capacity and there is plenty of room to expand all the facilities which may be needed.

They've proved they can do an excellent job by the way they handled the Commonwealth Games and of course it would cost a lot less to build in Manchester than London - better value for the taxpayer.

As for this red herring about the IOC not wanting Manchester, remember that last time round not only was Manchester up against both Sydney and Beijing when it was felt that it was that part of the world's 'turn' to hold the Olympics.

London is not fit to host the World Bowls Championship

Phil Howden, England

But, the London-based media, sports hacks and politicians were queuing up to rubbish Manchester, not because it wasn't an adequate location but because it wasn't London. No contest. The only sensible option is Manchester.
Steve Bennett, UK

London is not fit to host the World Bowls Championship, never mind the Olympics. Perhaps if you knocked the whole place down and rebuilt it so that transport improved and attitudes changed (putting in some more friendly people) then the IOC will just laugh at us.

And, once again, the people of great cities like Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham will be tearing their hair out as the country is made to look a joke once again, thanks to our dreadful capital.
Phil Howden, England

I would like to see Manchester or Birmingham bid, but experience shows the IOC aren't interested. If there's a British bid it has to be London.

However, the next World Cup in Europe (2014, probably) is England's for the asking, and unlike the Olympics it makes a healthy profit. But Fifa won't give the World Cup to a recent Olympics host. Forget the Olympics for now.
Gordon, Scotland

London is one of the greatest cities on earth, but it is too big and overcrowded already without having to host all those extra people. Manchester gets my vote.
George, UK

I reckon that the tax money being ploughed into the bid should be developed for other areas, such as education and health. If these games cost too much money, let other countries have them.

It is only logical and the right thing to do to give New York the 2012 Olympics

Frank Kile, USA

Why have stadia that will not be used - look at Japan's 300T loss because of their stadia and they don't even use them today. Catch on lads.
Frank McCabe, Scotland from Ireland

Yes.....if it wasn't such a dump!
Iain, Scotland

Considering the history of sympathy of the Olympics in giving Antwerp the 1920 Games and London the 1948 Games, it is only logical and the right thing to do to give New York the 2012 Olympics.

New York has most of the structures already in existence and would be very well organized especially if former Mayor Giuliani heads the NYOC. The only other cities that even should be considered are Cape Town, since the Olympics have never been in Africa, or Moscow since the previous Olympics there were spoiled.

Of these cities New York would have the resources and the venues most capable of holding the Games. The only drawback I can see is that the IOC may not want to put the Olympics in the U.S. since they made the boneheaded move of giving it to the unqualified city of Atlanta in 1996.
Frank Kile, USA

London, don't even waste your time. New York City want the 2012 Olympics. Nothing short of Zeus roaring down from Mount Olympus will keep them out of America.

Rather than adding "we won't have enough tourists during the summer a decade from now" to London's list of problems, why not use the money to get "traffic jams" and "no money for public education" off said list?
Grant, United States of America

Somewhere like Manchester, Birmingham or even Cardiff would be a more suitable venue

Paul Hill, England

When it takes me four hours to get from Wembley arena to Oxford on a Saturday night, I can't help but laugh at the idea. When is the penny going to drop that we don't have the infrastructure to stage these kind of events?

Stadium Australia = 80m. Stade de France= 125m. New Wembley = 800m and rising. Enough said.
Patrick, England

I feel that the UK would be a good host for the Olympic Games. The only thing is that I don't think that London would be the best venue. I feel that somewhere like Manchester, Birmingham or even Cardiff would be a more suitable venue.
Paul Hill, England

Of course London could host the Olympics, as could Manchester. The Commonwealth Games was well organised (compare them to the chaotic European Athletics championships in Munich) and the crowds gave all the competitors their support (compare this to Atlanta Olympics where the crowd were only interested in American victories).

However, the IOC will not award the Olympics to London. No doubt New York will get the sympathy vote and we will have to put up with yet another American Olympics.

No country should be allowed to host the Olympics more than once every 50 years. One thing American Olympians don't need is home advantage. As a very rich nation their athletes have enough advantages already.
Kevin, England

I think London have the capabilities to host the Olympic Games. However, I would advise caution. There must be full government support for the matter, a commitment of full stadium capabilities and much-needed finance.

I can't see London getting being fully equipped with a bid by 2004

Stephen, Ireland

The one thing a London Olympic bid does not want to do is fall into the same trap the Ireland/Scotland bid for Euro '08, where a bid was made and not all the necessary criteria was available.

Maybe 2012 is ambitious though for a couple of reasons: by that time, the American continent will have not hosted an Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996 and it would be my bet that they would be more favoured. Also I can't see London getting being fully equipped with a bid by 2004.
Stephen, Ireland

I will tell you all now that you can forget a London Olympics in 2012 and for any other year for the foreseeable future. Why? Because it simply isn't in the government's interest to stage the Olympics as the money generated would not be substantial enough to justify the costs of hosting it.

And before anyone thinks that it isn't up to the government as to who gets the 2012 Olympics, think again. Where do you think the British Olympic committee hopes to get most of it's funding from? Exactly!
Paul, England

I think that England proved itself to be a worthy country to host such an event with the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Having the Olympics in London would be great for British people.
Ian Willoughby, England

The IOC, I believe, want to give London the Games. Britain continues to be a major player in the sporting world, both on and off the field. All it needs is serious political backing, and a leader who is willing to put the required time and effort into fronting it. Previous campaigns show that the lead has to be from the PM/President, not its Sports Minister.
Tim, UK

It's wrong to consider spending 2billion pounds at a time when the country's transport infrastructure and health service are struggling for funds. I love sport, but until these major problems are solved it would be very wrong to bid for 2012.
Nick, Milton Keynes, England

London has all the facilities and also has the scenery

Nirali, 15, England

When are the top sporting officials and politicians going to realise, London is not the centre of the universe! 90% of the population agreed the National Stadium should have been in the Midlands. Cardiff and Manchester also have excellent venues too.

London has an awful travel network and the 'success' of such ventures as the Wembley fiasco and Millennium Dome highlight London hasn't a hope of staging a memorable games. Mr Clegg is a disgrace to say the only city to receive the BOA's backing is London.
Malc, UK

I think London is very capable of holding the Olympics. It would do well for tourism and money. London has all the facilities and also has the scenery.

It has great athletes such as Dwain Chambers and Jonathan Edwards. I think it will hold the Olympics and those Olympics will be very successful just like the Commonwealth Games.
Nirali, 15, England

I think London would be a fantastic choice for the venue. The area of the Millennium Dome (North Greenwich) is ideal as it already has the infrastructure built in.

By replacing the Dome with a new athletics stadium it would settle the argument of athletics at Wembley. Thus, the capital would have two world class stadia that do not compete with each other.

Also, by replacing the Dome, events such as the rowing and sailing could also be based centrally with the athletic based events and thus would get better coverage. Twickenham can hold the rugby, Oval the baseball and Wembley all other pitch based events.

North Greenwich has the infrastructure and London has the heritage to pull it off

Colin Bulpitt, UK

The 2012 Olympics could be just what London needs and I think it merits the event more that New York considering the USA hosted the 1984 and 1996 Olympics, both seen to be quite poor.

North Greenwich has the infrastructure and London has the heritage to pull it off. I say it's about time we stopped being so classically British negative and were proud of what we can offer the world.
Colin Bulpitt, UK

Hang on - shouldn't we work our way up? Invest at local level for those that want athletics (instead of money just going into supporting football) and go from there.

If the athletics community grows and produces a few more persistent winners, then maybe it will win back support.

More TV coverage of Grand Prixs etc would help sustain interest. That way, facilities will already be here and we won't be left as a country with a massive debt.
Sandra, UK

Despite being a rather small country tacked on to the side of Europe, the UK is still seen as a world force in commerce, technology and in certain sports such as sailing, rowing, and track and field athletics.

It would be a very sad indictment of young Mr Blair's vision for the future of this country if we could not use the opportunity to prove that British is best by hosting the best modern Olympiad to date.

Let's give the whole country something we can be proud of

Ben, England

We could do this, we just need commitment from on high!
Mark Rossi, England

I say let's go for it. Stop wasting money on beaurocratic nonsense and art for the rich, and give the whole country something we can be proud of.

London is also the only city in Britain capable of complying with the IOC guidelines so any British bid would have to be there.
Ben, England

Manchester is far better-suited than London, as they already have the infrastructre in place and excellent transport links, something that London will never have. Just look at the roads around Wembley - appalling!
Ian Shakeshaft, England

We should support any bid made by the UK whether it be in London or Manchester etc. If it's staged mainly at Wembley, it will be situated in an amazing stadium that offers great viewing. We should be proud of Wembley and support it.
Samsuri Hunak, UK

London is too expensive, overcrowded and is the most aggressively natured city in the UK

Al, England, UK

Of course London could host the Olympics. Other British cities don't stand a chance. The IOC only chooses cities that are in some sense 'world cities' or the base of the main sponsor or the place where it all started. So, London is one of the places in Europe that can in the future host the Olympics. In 2012 however, New York is going to get the vote.
Frans, Netherlands

Every city, outside of those in the United States, that has hosted the Olympics recently has made a huge financial loss. There may be a large range of first-class facilities left in the wake of the games but local government will not be able to afford to maintain them so they will soon fall into disrepair. Let the games return to Athens in perpetuity; this would stop the senseless chasing after financial ruin. Olympic records would also mean something as they would always be achieved under similar conditions.
Eddie, U.K.

They could bid to hold it, but what's the point? Could they not use the taxpayers' money for something better, that would actually benefit people? Why did they have to destroy Wembley Stadium? What was wrong with it?
Zaynab, Barbados, West Indies

I would have thought Manchester would have been the better choice, it already has most of the facilities in place, and the Commonwealth Games this year were an unparalleled success. London is too expensive, overcrowded and is the most aggressively natured city in the UK. Has to be Manchester for me.
Al, England, UK

Yes I do think England is capable of hosting the Olympics, but London, no. OK it may have good transport facilities but they are always congested. I feel that it is time England's second city, Birmingham, got to hold something. It is always second best and as Manchester proved with the Commonwealth Games, other cities can do it as well!
Martin, England

Of course London could host the Olympics in 2012, if they are stupid enough. Why spend 500m staging an event that benefits thousands of politicians, socialites, officials etc. when the money could be spent on youngsters in sport for facilities, coaching, equipment etc? Only the fat cats want free perks and lurks.
Mal Walker, Australia

I'm afraid based on recent history that the UK couldn't organise a drink-up in a brewery, never mind the Olympics. It's also the same old story about staging it in London. Contrary to popular southern belief, there are other cities in the UK that are infinitely better suited to holding major sporting events.
Mark Rillands, UK

Frankly, no! We can't even demolish an old football ground without making a mockery of it. And surely, people like Ken Bates would get involved and make life hell. Give it back to Sydney, Australia, they did a superb job of it.
Chris, London

My heart says yes but my head says no. There are just too many negative factors involved in trying to stage such a large sporting event in London. Our track record with major projects is shocking, the infrastructure is already under great stress (in 10 years it will be far worse) and the climate just isn't warm enough.

The other possibles of Birmingham and Manchester just don't have that special attraction to win an Olympics as previous bids have shown.
Andy Carter, UK

I would rather the money spent on this bid was invested into youth sport throughout the UK. Let's provide every school with qualified coaches to spot real potential and give our kids the chance they deserve. Leave elitist events like the Olympics to those who can afford it. Please keep politics out of sport!
Spider Nicholls, People's Republic of Portslade

London, New York, Paris and Rome are all frankly totally unsuitable to host the Olympic Games in 2012, unless there is a gold medal going for solving the biggest logistical nightmare! The only city less suited to host is Athens.

London is probably the most unsuitable of all the candidates. Transportation is bad enough now without athletes, spectators and IOC officials getting in my way to work every morning.

Birmingham and Manchester can forget it as well. Why is an IOC member going to vote to go to one of these cities when they can go somewhere sunny? Recent Games prove that this is what really matters for them.
Joe Morrison, UK

Yes, London should definitely bid. It's ridiculous that we haven't hosted the Games since 1948, or any world sporting event since '66, while America has had two of the last five Olympics, and the World Cup in '94!
Dave, Paris

You must be joking! The track record is appalling - the Dome and Wembley to name just two examples of recent failures.

Surely London has more important things to do than pump millions of pounds of taxpayers' money into another disaster.

I suggest - roads, railways and airports all need to be improved before they even think about the Olympics.

It may allow 'Red Ken' to go around the world for free but there are bigger issues at home to sort out!

In short get a grip on reality and pay some attention to the bread and butter issues and leave the Olympics to those countries that feel they have millions to waste!
Rob Thomson, UK

Of course Britain CAN organise the Olympics, but why on earth would it want to?

The IOC will only allow the Olympics to go to the capital cities of countries other than the US and the legacy of the Olympics will have relatively little impact on the already outstanding facilities of London.

Put the money into sports development in areas of genuine need and hope Britons shine in a foreign Olympics safe in the knowledge countless communities have benefited even though they have not produced Olympians.
Stella, Yeovil, UK

They're already wasting nearly 1billion building an unnecessary stadium in the wrong part of the country (Wembley). I dread to think how much they'd waste on the Olympics.
Dougal McKinnon, UK

No doubt this page will be full of people moaning that London is unable to stage the event. As long as the Government (that the people moaning voted in) plays no part whatsoever then it's sure to be a success.

The Games would provide a much-needed focus for regeneration

John, UK

The British organise mass events every weekend (motorsport etc). The financial clout is there despite what people say, if the Lottery fund can award 80m for an opera hall then there's no excuse.
Kris, England

We mustn't underestimate the challenges or the competition but now is the time to be positive and bold. London must bid. The Games would provide a much-needed focus for regeneration, a major boost to the economy and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people in Britain to participate as spectators, volunteers and athletes.
John, UK

Yes, London should have Olympic Games. London is the must important city for the European economy; London's victory will be a big European success. London's victory will be sport's triumph!
Tommaso Debenedetti, Rome, Italy

With the right funding and organisation in place, any city in the UK could stage such a major event, and do everyone proud. To do the best job possible would require the government to take a back seat rather than imposing their own ideas and limitations, such as London having to be the venue.

Manchester, Cardiff or Birmingham would make more sensible locations. Manchester already has most of the facilities needed. All three have much better transport systems than London.

I believe it would cost up to five times as much to build the necessary infrastructure in and around the capital - Wembley has to be proof of that. The simple fact is London will not stage the Olympics anytime in the foreseeable future.
Bill, UK

See also:

09 Dec 02 | Athletics
28 Nov 02 | Sport Front Page
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