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The Olympic Games always generates a great deal of enthusiasm and expectation. Hosting 'the greatest show on earth' is seen by some as a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide new infrastructure and deliver benefits to local residents and communities. Those organising the London 2012 Bid are no different, claiming a Games would deliver a elgacy of new sporting facilities, thousands of new jobs, new businesses, a 'step-change' in the nationa's physical activity and ultimately a transformation of the East End of London.
But an analysis of pas Games reveals that there is no automatic Olympic dividend, with the benefits often failing to flow to the people and places most in need. What is clear is that those cities that have secured a more sustainable legacy, have embeded the Olympics within a broader urban strategy. the challenge for London is to integrate the preparation for and hosting of the Games into a broader social policy agenda from the outset.