Colin Grainger

London 2012 – Olympics & Paralympics

The greatest shows on earth.

Christine OhuruoguWe’ve faced the final curtain and the Greatest Shows on Earth are over. And now is the time for Newham to face its future.

The Paralympics closing ceremony was spectacular. And the change in attitude, perception and, in our borough, has been equally spectacular.

The message from the majority of people in our borough is unanimous. We will never have a better chance to change things for the better. The feel good factor must not just fade and die.

The Games legacy will be measured against the promises made. In 2005, it was children from Newham to went to Singapore to help win the bid.

Now the Golden Generation has our future in their hands. The young and not so young in our borough can make a difference.

One Paralympian told us after the games: “Stratford is such a lovely place. It has exceeded all my expectations. I  just want to go back to the beginning and start again.”

Almost all of our news pages following the games in the Newham Recorder have a “golden generation” themed story on them or have a complete page in that vein.

When Paralympic stars visited one school, one pupil remarked: “We have disabled children amongst more luckier ones like me… we have so much to learn from them.”

When gold medal heroes visited another, it was a pupil who told us: “This has been just a fantastic time. I want every day to feel like this.”

Despite the cynicism that surrounded everything before it began, the doubters have been won over.

Nearly all the local people we have spoken to love the fact that our borough is on the up and we all want to keep it there. We no longer want to the rear end of the universe.

Now we have to build on that success.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “London 2012 exceeded expectations. It wasn’t just the outstanding medals haul. There was a genuine warmth as we welcomed the world.

Newham’s volunteers took to the streets to inform and guide athletes, officials and visitors, while our residents, in the most multicultural place in the world, embraced the Games.

“Every school sent children to the experience, thousands took part in the ceremonies and thousands more watched.”

But now, said Sir Robin, we want future generations to take part in sport.

“And we want to transform the East End. Employment is the key as Newham needs 20,000 more people in work just to match the London average. Workplace, our jobs brokerage service, helped 5,000 into jobs this year. We have made a strong start  but securing the legacy remains a challenge for this and future generations.”

It is  up to all of us to ensure the positivity continues…


First published by Colin Grainger,  September 2012.

One of my favourites - the Pet Shop Boys playing at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

The Pet Shop Boys at the London 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony

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This article was written on 06 Feb 2013, and is filed under London, Newham, Olympics & Paralympics.

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