Support for Games offers promise of social legacy for UK

August 12th, 2012 - 12:13 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 11 (IANS) The Olympic Games have slowly but surely won the hearts and minds of the British public over the last 16 days.

If less than half of Britons thought the Games were worth the nine billion pounds before the opening ceremony July 27, the ceremony itself ‘Isles of Wonder’ swung the balance in favour of the Olympics. And following polls saw a majority of Britons backing the huge investment, which has taken place during an economic crisis, reports Xinhua.

The success of Team Great Britain, which has claimed its best medal haul in over 100 years and the excellent around the clock coverage on BBC has further helped the balance.

It seems there is nothing like success to evoke approval, so the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Jess Ennis and Mo Farah and many others can all take a bow with the release of the latest poll, which shows 55 percent of British citizens now believing that the Olympics was “well worth the effort”, with only 35 percent still against staging of the event.

Young people under the age of 35 are even more positive about the Games, with over 60 percent supporting the Games.

Meanwhile, the performance of athletes such as Farah, who came to UK as an eight-year-old refugee from Somalia, and Ennis has helped to subtly alter perceptions of benefits of multiculturalism in Britain.

Some 68 percent of Britons now believe that modern Britain is a better place, thanks to being a country of many cultures, with those numbers rising to almost 80 percent in London and to above 80 percent among people aged 18-24.

Anyone who has visited the Olympic Park cannot fail to have noticed the diversity on view among the British supporters and also among the “Games Makers”, the volunteers who have sacrificed, on many occasions, their chances to watch the Olympics in order to ensure that others are able to get the most of their London 2012 experience.

With “Legacy” the watchword for these Olympics and attention turning on to how the country can build on the sporting achievements that have thrilled spectators over the past fortnight, the enduring legacy of London 2012 could be a greater understanding of what it means to be British in the year 2012 and what it will mean to be a Brit in the future.

The 2012 Olympics will go down as a major success on organisational and sporting levels, but if managed carefully the pride of the achievements at these Games could also be channelled to make Britain a more diverse and yet cohesive national in years to come.

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