299 - Do Londoners Love the Olympics?

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent):

Next month London will host the Olympic Games, for the third time. But how do Londoners feel about the event? Are they excited about a massive international sports festival that coincides with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, or are they concerned about the high cost of building the Olympic Park in Stratford in London’s East End at a time of crisis? After all, it is said that Greece’s financial problems began after the Athens Olympics of 2004.
In order to find out what Londoners think we took to the streets and asked a random selection of people. The first person to speak is Richard, a student.

Richard (Standard British accent)
I think it will be a good thing. Generally, I just think it will be good for tourism and get everyone a bit happier. I’m probably in a minority, you know, with their past like Greece, it didn’t really go too well for them, although Australia are doing quite well. So, you know, swings and roundabouts, but I’d say that the majority of people are a bit…
particularly people who live here ‘cause of all the tube strikes that are bound to happen and the increased risk of, God, you never know what’s going to happen, but, generally, I’m quite optimistic about it.

Kate is an office worker:

Kate (Irish accent)
I think it’s a waste of money. I think Stratford could do with something else, with the homes being improved, and people’s lives, and I just think it’s wrong. Shannon is a student: Shannon (Northern Irish accent) I think it’s good for like the spirit of the country, like. Maybe long-term it’s not the best, but I think for right now, yeah. Anne is an office worker: Anne (Standard British accent) Again, I think it’s a complete waste of money. I think they could have done a lot better with that kind of cash, and we’ll be paying it off for years, and for what? Jim is a builder: Jim (London/”Cockney” accent) I think it’s good, yeah, I think it’s good. Yeah, I won’t be going ‘cause I can’t afford the tickets and things, but I’ll be watching some of it on the TV. Edwin is a student: Edwin (Standard British accent) I’m more or less unfavourable, I think. I think there’s a lot of people will certainly enjoy it, but in a way it’s a bit like bread and circuses. It’s just, you know, we’re constantly told at the moment that we’re in a recession and we can’t afford to spend on the welfare state and then, at the same time, we’re spending billions of pounds on this huge event. I think also, if anything, it’s just going to make the conditions worse in the east of London. I think a lot of money is going to be made by large corporations like McDonalds, who have a monopoly on the Games, and it’s not going to go back into housing and so on in the East End of London, which really needs it.

Nick is also a student:

Nick (Standard British accent)
I’m for the Olympics. You know, I enjoy watching them and that kind of thing. I’m not too fond of the whole pomp and ceremony of it all but, then again, that comes with the territory, I guess. London? Probably going to be a bit of a nuisance with the congestion, that kind of thing, but I’m planning on making a bit of money out of it anyway renting out a flat for exorbitant prices, that kind of thing, so!

And Roger is a teacher:

Roger (Standard British accent)
I’m very much against this sort of jamboree approach to sport. My idea of sport is that it’s something people do together, you don’t need to have a big elitist, very expensive jamboree type of event. And indeed at the moment loads of money is being spent on that, whereas round the country you find people’s swimming pools get closed, their sports facilities get closed, people are not getting the sport they need in their lives; instead they’re getting a possibility of sitting and watching some in London 2012, maybe at a huge price, and that’s not my idea of sport at all. People are being advised not to cycle to the Olympics by Transport for London because it’s too dangerous. Isn’t that incredible, when we’ve got one of the best cycling teams taking part in the Olympics and yet we can’t provide proper cycling facilities for everybody in this country to get out on their bikes and enjoy cycling? That just sums it up, really.