TV & Radio
London wins Olympics; gay athletes celebrate
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Wednesday 6 July, 2005 13:37
The UK's lesbian and gay community are joining the chorus of celebration today, after London won the chance to stage the 2012 Olympic Games.
The announcement, made earlier today, came after months of growing support for the bid, which was believed to be a close second to Paris throughout the process.
The 116 members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made their vote in Singapore, backing the capital as the choice for the games.
Those who had been working to engage directly with the capital's LGB community said they were "thrilled" with the result.
Ivan Bussens, the LGBT ambassador for the 2012 bid said the win was vital for bringing people together.
"The Olympics are a unique opportunity for the country and all communities in the capital. In the spirit of the Olympic movement, our win brings people together in friendship and will also inspire people for generations to come," he told Gay.com UK.
"I applaud the London 2012 bid team for their broad inclusion of minority communities - including LGBT communities - in their superb bid success."
Fellow 2012 ambassador Allison Livingstone-Whitton told Gay.com UK that the Games would allow lesbian and gay people to become more involved in sport.
She said she was "thrilled and emotional" at the result.
Acknowledging that the city had been slower to "get in the groove of support", she said the capital's diverse communities were now backing the event.
"My role was to communicate with the LGBT community," she said.
"No previous Olympics has gone out of its way to reach LGBT people. At 2012, we are making a commitment to diversity and showing that every community that lives in this great city counts."
She added that the event will bring in people from across the UK, and help ensure the country has a bedrock of talent for the future.
"The Olympic Games have to leave a legacy. The legacy of 2012 will be athletes from across the country will have a chance," she said.
"Our young people wherever they are, will be able to reach their highest level in sport."
Her comments were echoed by Athens Olympic Games' only gay Team GB athlete, Rob Newton.
The 24-year-old hurdler said the event would help improve facilities for young people.
"Hopefully it will spur on youngsters to get involved in sport," he told Gay.com UK.
"We need them to get involved, so we can produce more champions. This news is absolutely fantastic."
Newton is confident that he will see success at London 2012.
"I should be at my peak by then, so I'm really looking forward to training and hopefully taking part," he said.
Power lifter Chris Morgan said it was a "wonderful opportunity for this wonderful city".
Morgan, the most successful out British athlete competing, said he was hoping his sport would be added to the Olympic Games by 2012.
"It's every athlete's dream to compete in the Olympic Games," he said, adding that he "can't imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like".
"This is a chance to motivate people to enjoy sport, motivate athletes to do well and motivate gay athletes to push harder," he said.
The effects of 2012 he said will be felt across the UK.
"This will have a knock-on effect on the whole country. The games legacy is all about enjoying sport and getting a younger generation into sport."
"The fact we will do that has won us the competition."
London 2012 will take place in the eastern area of the capital and will see the regeneration of a vast expanse of space.
London beat Paris in the final round of the bidding process, after Madrid, New York and Moscow also fell out of the race.