In Summary
  • The Olympic Village, where athletes stayed during the competition, has been turned into thousands of flats.
  • The LLDC plans for 10,000 new homes to be built in the area by 2030.

LONDON

Five years on from the 2012 Olympics, the area of London where they were held has a new train station, a luxury shopping centre and vast green spaces.

A swathe of post-industrial land in Stratford, east London, was given a new life but for local residents, the reality is a lot less perfect.

Penny Bernstock, an expert in housing and regeneration at the University of East London, said there were now "two worlds that co-exist" — the old, poor, Stratford and a new, wealthy one.

But Hugh Robertson, Britain's sports minister at the time of the Games, told AFP the legacy of 2012 is clear: "The area around Stratford has been completely transformed."

The aim for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) going into the Games was to regenerate the area — once deprived and blighted by high unemployment — by ensuring the infrastructure would have a life after the Olympics.

According to the LLDC, it's job done after billions of pounds were poured into the area.

The 2012 organisers were determined they would leave none of the white elephants that have littered host cities of past Olympics.

The Olympic stadium has been leased to Premier League football club West Ham for the next 99 years — and hosted the World Athletics Championships in August.

The futuristic Aquatics Centre designed by the late award-winning architect Zaha Hadid was scaled down after the Games and is now a popular facility for locals that can still host international events.

The Olympic Village, where athletes stayed during the competition, has been turned into thousands of flats.

"This is heaven! Look around you; look at this garden," Richard, a 29-year-old local resident, told AFP before making his way into the Olympic Park for his daily jog.

The LLDC plans for 10,000 new homes to be built in the area by 2030.

London seems to have avoided the fate endured by Athens — where the Games are synonymous with financial ruin — and Rio, where just over a year since the Olympics took place, the feel-good factor has vanished amid scandal and rotting venues.

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