The country may be carried away with Olympic fever at the moment, but it raises questions about the lasting legacy of the UK hosting the Games in 2012.
Back in 2005 the Government was considering plans to encourage community groups, schools and pubs to hold Street Olympics meetings across the UK, but since then the idea seems to have gone cold. Streets Alive feels the time is right to resurrect this scheme – what better way to get people involved that to incorporate games for all ages and abilities into street party-style events?
“If you can close off streets from cars they become fabulous public spaces for all sorts of informal games and sports,” says Chris Gittins of Streets Alive.
He recommends that street party organisers consider traditional events such as tug-of-war, egg and spoon races, hula hoop-athons and three-legged races alongside a range of Olympic-inspired sporting activities like football, badminton, table tennis and cycling. Street Olympics would provide a chance for people who are good at sport and those who are not to participate equally; everyone could join in, and get physical, just for the fun of it. The events would help create lively, inclusive neighbourhoods and could advance the Government’s efforts to fight social exclusion while promoting more exercise.
“The Olympics is still an elite sporting event,” Chris adds, “But the lasting legacy could be to encourage people to join in a range of traditional games and Olympic-style sports at the hundreds of street parties held around the country every year. The run up to our 2012 games would be a prime opportunity to launch Street Olympics as an annual activity in thousands of events across the UK.”