But, with the London Games just two years away, none of the Open Weekend events planned are being staged in Croydon.
According to the press release issued this morning by the London Games organisers, “Open Weekend is a series of exciting sporting, arts and cultural challenges taking place across the UK from Friday July 23 to Sunday 25.
“Now in its third year, London 2012 Open Weekend follows the success of the two previous years, in which over a million people across the UK unleashed their creativity across a series of sporting, art and cultural activities.”
Or not, if you live in Croydon.
Despite being less than an hour by train or the new tram link from the Olympic Park at Stratford, Croydon might as well be in the Outer Hebrides as far as being at the centre of London’s Games are concerned, with no Olympic events in 2012 planned for the borough and not even any overseas teams booked in to base themselves here in the build-up.
“Currently, we do not have any listings for Croydon,” a typically cheery young press officer from Olympic organisers LOCOG’s Canary Wharf HQ told Inside Croydon this morning, “but there’s still plenty of time for organisations to get involved, right up to the weekend itself.”
Given that LOCOG’s call for events to register went out in February, the obvious question which presented itself was why has Croydon not got itself more involved in this year’s Open Weekend of arts and other cultural events, as well as sport?
Despite being contacted on the matter this morning, by 4pm today no one at Croydon Town Hall was able to answer that question.
Got to be in it to win it
The Open Weekend is an integral part of LOCOG and the London Mayor’s office’s promotional campaign to ensure, rightly, that the whole of the British public buys in to “our” Games.
Given that Croydon council tax-payers, in common with the rest of London, are providing our fair share of the £9.3 billion cost of staging the Olympics and Paralympics, the borough’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for the Open Weekend is more than disappointing.
With sponsorship from BP (don’t tell Barack Obama), “London 2012 Open Weekend will give people access to a range of opportunities including building your own boat; performing in a ballet; running a leg in a 3k relay race; making your own stone sundial; and talent contests”.
There really is no reason why even the most obscure event in Croydon that weekend could not be included in the Olympic-linked activities.
Because the organisation that brought us probably the most derided sporting logo of all time have given less prominence to other events on the Open Weekend which can have only the most tenuous connection to the Olympics, such as a cheese tasting session in Caerphilly (seriously), an introduction to stonemasonry (honestly), or an outdoor festival of Chinese culture in Cambridge (obviously).
Full listings can be found at www.london2012.com/openweekend
For this morning’s launch, LOCOG chairman Lord Coe was with a bunch of freerunners (pictured). Given the concrete jungle that is central Croydon, you’d think someone might have come up with such an event for the borough.
Lord Coe said, “Open Weekend 2010 is another opportunity for thousands of people to join in with the London 2012 Games.” Though not if you live in Croydon, it would seem.