The Olympic Physical Activity, Sport and Health (OPASH) Legacy Project
Commissioned by the Department of Health, SPEAR's award winning worldwide systematic review of research and practice evidence has had a significant impact on the implementation of the Government's 2012 Legacy Action Plan, setting out plans to achieve post-Olympic targets in a range of areas.
Key findings of the OPASH Report:
- The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have the potential to play key roles in increasing participation and improving health - but only as part of wider initiatives and strategies.
- For current or lapsed sports participants, the Government's Legacy Action Plan needs to capitalise on the 'demonstration effect' (athletes acting as role models to inspire increased sport participation) and boost the local range and availability of new sports activities particularly less traditional ones.
- For the sedentary and least active, informal physical activity participation in the community can be encouraged by capitalising on 'festival effects' that promote informal celebratory involvement at events that do not necessarily involve participation in Olympic and Paralympic sports.
- Use should be made of the national platform of celebration by promoting locally-owned and culturally relevant 2012 'festival effects'. This will develop and maintain the public's positive feeling towards hosting the 2012 Games and tap into the 'once in a lifetime' experience.
- Legacy efforts must be robustly evaluated to set a benchmark for the evaluation of future Olympic and Paralympic events.
The OPASH Legacy research conducted by SPEAR was awarded the prestigious accolade of a Bronze award at the Podium Awards, an inaugural celebration recognising the very best of London 2012 projects across further and higher education.
A Quick Reference Guide to the Report is also available.
Mike Weed, Esther Coren and Jo Fiore.