The modern Olympic Games are regarded as more than just a sporting and cultural event that acts as an international showcase for the host country.
Today the Games must prove their potential to deliver longlasting social and economic benefits. This is especially the case for London as the city's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games had a strong emphasis on regenerating the Lower Lea Valley and Stratford and acting as a catalyst for the development of east London and the Thames Gateway.
Many of the sporting facilities built for the games will be scaled down and re-used. The Olympic Village will become affordable housing for key workers, creating up to 9,000 new homes; the Olympic Park will form one of the largest new green spaces in a European city for 200 years; and the Ecopark in the Lea Valley will provide a strategic and environmentally sound solution to the remediation of contaminated land.
Overall construction costs for the Olympics are estimated to be around £2.4bn, with £7bn of transport infrastructure planned for completion by 2012. This includes the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the extension of the Docklands Light Railway and East London Line.