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Boris Johnson

Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

Part of Stay Ahead of the Games

1st August 2016 London, UK

From London to Rio

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Stadium in Stratford

Four years ago tonight I watched in awe as Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony in Stratford launched the start of what would become the most amazing Olympic Games the world had ever seen. London 2012 proved a defining moment for our country.

The inevitable pre Games gloom – problems with the M4 corridor from Heathrow into London, security guards who didn’t turn up, the American athletes who ended up in Southend, even the weather – evaporated in an instant as Boyle’s history of our country came to life. From the industrial revolution to the NHS, from the Beatles to Brit Pop, the evening was a celebration of an outward looking global Britain.

We started to win medals, gold medals, heaps of them, and by the end of the Summer people were celebrating the Olympics and flocking to the Paralympics.

In the event the gloomy predictions were banished – both the Olympics and the Paralympics set new standards in design and delivery.

Since then we have seen the most sustainable post Olympic legacy ever. All the venues on the QEOP are in private hands, housing and job creation in East London has boomed, and over the next few years London will deliver on the cultural and educational legacy of 2012 with huge investment in the ‘Olympicopolis’ project from the likes of the V&A and UCL.

And of course we’ve been able to harness and export much of what we learnt before, during and after the Games in order to help Rio as that great city prepares for another summer of sport. Next week it begins again. Good luck Rio, good luck team GB!

London 2012 Legacy

At London 2012, Team GB won 65 Olympic medals and 120 Paralympic medals: Britain’s greatest Olympic performance since last hosting the Games in 1908. Inspired by victory, 1.75 million more adults now regularly participate in sport and over 10 million have visited the sport facilities at Stratford’s in East London.

The legacy of London 2012 has also reverberated beyond the sporting world. Since hosting the Games the UK has created 70,000 new jobs and revitalized East London. Even four years on, an additional 3.5 million tourists have continued to flock to the UK’s vibrant, diverse and open cities thanks to the Games. The total economic impact of London 2012 is expected to be between £28 – £48 billion gross value added to the UK economy by 2020.

As the baton has passed to Rio, the UK has forged what is now recognised as the closest ever relationship between two host cities. Together, London and Rio have signed seven formal government, commercial and sporting agreements and hosted over 200 Games-related visits. These have included UK experts from Heathrow Airport and the Emergency Services, to anti-doping specialists and waste management planners. All have openly collaborated with their Brazilian counterparts, leading to significant new political and commercial relationships.  Such close cooperation has opened the door for UK businessmen to win more than 60 contracts in Games-related projects in Rio, worth over £650 million to the UK economy.

2 comments on “From London to Rio

  1. The 2012 Olympics seemed to be a peak in British culture. The UK was positively vibrant during this period. Sadly the Rio Olympics appeared to be overshadowed by infighting in the UK. Hopefully now we can all put that behind us and look forward to a united and Great Britain once again. We’ve done it before and we can do it again!

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