Opinion: Daft to demolish Olympic Stadium

Grant Prior 13 years ago

Cash was always the worry during the Olympic bid as public purse watchers stressed over the 2012 investment programme not delivering value for money during tricky economic times.

But now it seems we are taking seriously Tottenham Hostspur’s bid to demolish the main £450m Olympic Stadium after just a couple of weeks of use.

The whole long-term sales pitch for the Games was regeneration of a fairly run-down part of East London and the creation of a lasting athletics and sports legacy for future generations of Olympians.

Now Spurs are a serious rival to West Ham’s bid to occupy the stadium post-Games and Tottenham want to tear-down all Sir Robert McAlpine’s hard work and replace it with a football ground of their own design.

It seems such an obscene waste of all that tax payers cash and would renege on all our promises to the Olympic authorities and athletes across the country.

Keeping a running track at the stadium was a promise set in stone during the UK 2012 bid.

West Ham realise that the pay-off for a new stadium and the surrounding infrastructure built at someone else’s expense is to keep the track despite the doubts of die-hard fans who worry about being too far from the pitch.

Spurs want the best of both worlds. They want the Olympic site, but not the ground in its current design so the solution in their eyes is simple – rip it down, build a new stadium and chuck UK Athletics some cash to keep them quiet by funding a revamp of Crystal Palace.

This smacks of football clubs thinking they are a law unto themselves and that money talks at every level.

But in this case cash could make a mockery of the whole Olympic ideal.

Pictures of demolition crews moving in on the Olympic Stadium just hours after the final 2012 ceremony would cause bewilderment across the globe.

A whole generation of athletes would also feel cheated by the hollow promises of politicians and officials who guaranteed a track and field legacy at the site.

And for what? So a north London club can move to east London to save a few quid on its previous plans to redevelop White Hart Lane – a venue dear to most Spurs fans’ hearts and one they don’t want to leave.

If Spurs win the race for the stadium and go through with their demolition plans where will it end?

The Velodrome is surely wasted on cyclists so why not turn it into a Tesco Metro and make the Aquatics Centre a casino while we are at it.

Legacy was a word bandied around constantly during the bid. Demolishing the stadium could leave us with a legacy as an untrustworthy laughing stock among the global sports community.

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