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24 Jul 2013

Loughborough academics support Olympic legacy research

Image: Vaughn Ridley/SWPix.com

Academics from Loughborough University have played a key role in a consortium evaluating whether there is a tangible legacy being achieved from the London 2012 Games.

Professor Ian Henry and Doctor Paul Downward from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences were both involved in the London 2012 meta-evaluation reports produced for the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The research is the biggest ever legacy evaluation of a major event such as the London 2012 Games, and focuses on a number of key areas such as the UK economy, the regeneration of East London, volunteering and sustainability, as well as the sporting legacy.

The work has been carried out by a consortium led by Grant Thornton, who approached the Centre for Olympic Studies and Research, based at the University, to support the research on sporting outcomes, specifically around elite performance and participation.

Professor Henry focused largely on factors related to elite performance, with Team GB and Paralympics GB both exceeding their medal targets and legacy programmes. Doctor Downward analysed the findings from the Taking Part and Active People surveys to examine the effects on participation.

Speaking of the research Professor Ian Henry said:

“We were delighted to be approached by Grant Thornton to contribute to this landmark research project. Due of the size of investment made to stage the Games, the government clearly wanted to evaluate whether the Games were value for money.

“There have been a number of positive elements to the outcomes, including the successes achieved at an elite level and a number of legacy programmes. Knowing what the key mechanisms were for generating that success is important moving forward.

“The ambition of UK Sport is to re-produce our London performance at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.  That would be the first time that this has ever been done by a hosting nation. In order to do this it is important to establish what produced our successful London outcomes.”

Five reports have been published as part of the London 2012 meta-evaluation, with the latest and final report, the Post-Games evaluation, focusing on impacts up to the end of 2012.

Full details about the meta-evaluation can be found on the DCMS website here.

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Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 13/147

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. It has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league, and in recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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