he mayor‘s US tourism and trade tour saw him throw the ceremonial opening pitch for the San Francisco Giants, having already announced an agreement for Major League Baseball games to be staged at the London Stadium.
His aspirations go further still in making London the “sporting capital of the world”, and he wants the biggest showpiece of all – the Olympic Games – to return.
Just a decade on from London 2012, he’s setting his sights on the Games of 2036, for which the host city has yet to be chosen by the International Olympic Committee. The next two Games are to be held in Paris and Los Angeles respectively, by which point all three cities will have been host three times each.
Mr Khan talked up the environmental justification, telling ITV London: “If it’s the case we want to have a world that is green, that is sustainable, but also includes having Olympics that are sustainable – not building stadiums that sit empty but reusing stadiums and facilities that already exist.”
It’s a worthy case, albeit omitting to mention some significant developments in the last ten years. The 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium is now the 66,000-capacity London Stadium – West Ham’s football ground, which according to reports might soon see UK Athletics vacate permanently.
The Aquatics Centre, which once held 17,500 spectators, has also been repurposed as a community-use pool with space for just 3,800 fans. The Basketball Arena and Water Polo Arena were both taken apart and recycled after the Games, while Earls Court Exhibition Centre was demolished five years ago.
Outside of the sporting venues, the athletes’ village, which accommodated 17,000 competitors, is now home to Stratford residents who might not fancy taking in some sweaty house guests.
While the return of the Olympics would undoubtedly bring some much needed cheer to the country as it so memorably did a decade ago, the notion of London being ready and waiting on the starting blocks may be more a case of the mayor boxing clever.
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