28 March 2022

A decade on from the glorious summer of 2012, the University of East London is keeping alight the Olympic torch, promoting the sporting legacy that the East London games promised.

UEL vice-chancellor and president Professor Amanda Broderick outlined some of the initiatives taking place at the campus which opens its doors to the community to take advantage of its top class facilities.

Professor Broderick was speaking at a special conference convened by the Centre of London at the new City Hall on the Royal Docks. The East x South East conference, which counted UEL as one of its sponsors, brought together key stakeholders from the public and private sector to discuss the progress of regeneration and economic opportunity in London’s fastest growing sub-region.

Professor Broderick, pictured, chaired a session on the legacy of the Olympic Games and picked up on the theme of sport, reminding delegates of the University's role in 2012, not least playing host to the Team USA basketball team and the Team GB medical team.

Professor Broderick said, "The University of East London now works with over 2,000 primary school children weekly in the borough to raise aspirations as part of our Sport in the Futures programme; it is supported by Sport England to run the East London talent hub for athletes with economically disadvantaged circumstances; it is London's talent hub for Basketball England and sponsors East London Phoenix, the founding member of the professional British Wheelchair Basketball Women's Premier League."

UEL vice-chancellor and president Professor Amanda Broderick

Since 2016, 800 students have completed 35,000 voluntary sport-related experience in 150 organisations in the Olympic boroughs and 36,000 users of the UEL's SportsDock have used equipment on which the US all-stars trained.

Joining Professor Broderick on the panel were Lyn Garner, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham, Neale Coleman, former board member of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and Dr Penny Bernstock, co-chair of the Olympic Strategy Group Telco.

In a lively, challenging and constructive debate, the guests discussed whether the London Olympics had lived up to their promise, reflecting on housing, the social and economic impact, and the shape of the Olympic Park itself, with the London Stadium at its heart alongside a number of iconic sporting venues.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said, "The spirit of London has evoked by 2012 was right for its time and then life gets in its way. As a global city, East London is constantly evolving, it's an amazing place. We need to be asking how we now evolve the spirit of London that's fit for purpose, 10 years on as opposed to 10 years back, and that's the lens through which we in Newham are looking at legacy. It's just really exciting."

In a straw poll among delegates asking about the biggest legacy of the Olympic Games, the winners were tied at 34 per cent tied between "more housing development" and "boost in London landmarks and international tourism".

Professor Broderick concluded the session by reminding the delegates of a unique asset that the University holds.

She said, "At the University of East London's Archives and Special Collections, we actually house the British Olympic Association's archive collection with documents and memorabilia that goes back to 1908 through to 2012 and these historical treasures are open to the public.

"As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Olympics, what better time to come along the University and to view them."

Watch a recorded stream of the conference from Centre for London.

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