Three legends of British athletics have signed an open letter calling for the athletics track to remain at the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games are over.
Dame Kelly Holmes, Daley Thompson and Sally Gunnell, all Olympic champions, along with 13 other Olympians and Paralympians, argue it would be “unacceptable” if the stadium were to lose the track.
The said it would become and Olympic Stadium “with no Olympic connection or legacy”.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company, the body responsible for deciding the future of the £537M venue, is looking at plans for the stadium submitted by Premier League clubs West Ham and Tottenham.
West Ham’s joint bid with Newham Council plans to covert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.
London rival Tottenham’s bid with sport and entertainment giant AEG, in contrast, has no plans to keep a track.
The letter reads: “One of the most compelling aspects of our bid back in 2005 was the promise of an athletics legacy in the form of a world class stadium. This promise made the idea of legacy real. It showed that the Games would continue to touch the wider community long after the Olympics and Paralympic spectacular had left town.
“What made the legacy more persuasive was the fact that this wasn’t just about the top end of the sport and giving our top athletes a ‘home’ stadium to be proud of. This was about the community, about making a facility work as hard as possible and be as accessible as possible to a wide range of people from a wide range of sports.
“There is no doubt a legacy of bricks and mortar can work. Look to the Velodrome in Manchester, a true legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games that is paying dividends every time British cyclists compete on the world stage.
“As Olympians we are all ardent sports fans and that is why we believe the Olympic legacy HAS to be the Olympic Stadium complete with track. It would be unacceptable for the stadium to lose the track and effectively become an Olympic Stadium with NO Olympic connection or legacy.
“We urge the decision makers in this process to ensure the track remains post 2012 and bring to life a sporting promise made to a whole community for generations to come.”
The letter is also signed by Steve Backley, Jamie Baulch, Roger Black, Steve Cram, Lynn Davies, Brendan Foster, Tanni Grey Thompson, Katharine Merry, David Moorcroft, Alan Pascoe, Wendy Sly, Ian Stewart and Alan Wells.