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Barry Hearn criticises the Government's failure to build an Olympic legacy

Docklands campus

The Government has squandered the opportunity provided by the Olympics, to build a sporting legacy for east London.

This was the opinion of former Leyton Orient FC chairman and sports promoter Barry Hearn, when he visited UEL to speak to an audience of students this month.

“When we write the history of this country, the Olympics will go down as one of our greatest lost opportunities” he said.  “We invested in the Olympics, we had this wonderful event, but if you look at the numbers of people participating in sport post-Olympics, they are disappointingly low.”

The entrepreneur who grew up on a council estate in Dagenham in east London, received an Honorary Doctorate from UEL last year. He described the awarding of his Doctorate in November 2014 as “a huge shock” but also a “tremendous honour”.

He spent much of 6 February at the University’s Docklands campus, to speak to sports students in the afternoon, followed by an ‘Evening with’ event.

Throughout his two sessions Dr Hearn was free with his opinions on a variety of topics.

“I’m old and I’m rich.  I no longer have any reason to lie,” he explained.

Before the event he had said that he wanted to ‘light a fire’ of ambition when he spoke to the students, and he offered advice to those who would soon be entering the job market.

“What I’m look for in job applicants” he said “is confidence and self-belief.  From the handshake, to the body language, to the eye contact. It’s so competitive nowadays, if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to believe in you.”

He also offered the student audience his top ten tips for progressing in life and in business.

Amongst them was ‘tell the truth – it’s easier than telling lies’; ‘sheer work ethic can make you look like a genius’; and ‘avoid being a secret - if you’re good admit it, and if you’re great, then shout it from the rooftops.’

Hear more of Barry's top tips here

To see the full 'Evening With' Barry Hearn event, watch it here 

Barry Hearn on Olympic legacy
Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.