After years of preparation and build up, the Olympics start next week in London. The bunting and flags have begun appearing throughout the city and the torch relay is just days away, promising a day of celebration for Londoners.
The worlds media and the thousands of athletes have already started to arrive through Heathrow. ‘Gamesmakers’ are everywhere in bright purple and red outfits, ready to try their best to help make the Games a success. Many Londoners have tickets to events, are involved in the myriad of cultural events or see the Games as an opportunity for their business to thrive for summer in the midst of a difficult economic climate.
However, with recent problems with G4S failing to fulfill their security contract and the armed forces called in to provide assistance, tales of athletes getting lost on their way to the Olympic village and the recent court battle over missiles on the roof of a residential block in East London, nearly as many Londoners are not so keen on the Games, the sponsors and the potential transport mayhem they bring with them. Many feel their city has been taken over by a gigantic corporate jamboree.
So, a once in a lifetime opportunity or weeks of doom and gloom? ELL reporters went out to the streets of South London to ask locals for their view, with one question: Do you think the Olympics will be a great event?
A narrow divide in people’s opinions saw 60 per cent of the 100 people asked believing that it will be a great event with the other 40 per cent opposing the Games altogether.
Here’s a sample of what they had to say:
Marcia, over 50 who is unemployed, from New Cross, doesn’t think that the Olympics will have a good impact on London.
“ I wasn’t able to get tickets, so for me I don’t think it’s a good thing, but for the economy it’s going to be great event for London, compared to last years riots. However I do think that it will be a waste of money and will probably be quite shambolic.
Hillary Rosser, 68, retired from Deptford (pictured above):
“ No I don’t agree, I think the Olympics will be a cause a big problem for London, the traffic is going to be dreadful. I think the legacy of the Olympics will also be completely overrated”
Larry Matthew, 32 Masters Student from Charlton, believes that the Olympics will have a significant positive impact on London.
“ Everybody’s coming to see London, every one is excited for the event. Everything is well organised, hopefully there wont be much traffic but I do think everything will be well planned out.”
Annabel Dixondewflall, 26 a Student from New Cross:
‘’I think there will be a lot of transport issues that might overshadow the games, for local London people its going to be difficult trying to commute. I’m not really bothered on the event itself”
Kofi and Ben Mills both 16 and students from New Cross:
“ We both think that it’s a great opportunity for London, its going to be great to watch something that’s happening were we live”
Windy Lee, 21 Student from New Cross:
“I think it will be great for London, it will promote the city in a positive way so I think it will have a great impact for London”