Managing Sport Participation Legacy at the Olympic Games

Palgrave Macmillan
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Managing the Olympics, 2013, 1, pp. 66 - 83
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One particular strategy employed by governments and government agencies to promote sport participation has been to support the hosting of international sport events. Governments and their agencies afe increasingly identifying the promotion of grassroots-sport participation as one of the opportunities, and anticipated outcomes, of hosting a mega-sport event such as the Olympic Games. For example, in regard to the London 2012 Olympic Games, UK Sport (2005) has stated that 'a comprehensive development strategy will encourage participation and boost all levels of a sport - everything from assisting potential medal winners to inspiring children to take up sport' (p. 74). Given the considerable amounts of public funds that are spent in the staging of mega-sport events, it is inevitable that there will be calls for evidence of the effectiveness of such events in delivering the promised outcomes, including sport-participation outcomes. While sport-funding agencies and governments have, in recent years, become more active in planning event legacies, including increased sport participation, research has demonstrated that there is little empirical data to show that the strategies employed to date have been successful. An extensive review of the literature has found little evidence that international sport events have a positive impact on stimulating physical activity and sport participation (Weed, Coren and Fiore, 2009). With this context in mind, the purpose of this chapter is to examine the impact that hosting the Olympic Games has on sport participation. The chapter starts by reviewing the research published to date in this area, and then presents a case study focused on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
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