The Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

The strategy for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and the economic, sporting and social benefits delivered.

Strategy for the games

In 2008, a Northern Ireland 2012 Strategy for the Games was developed and agreed by the NI Executive to maximise the potential benefits for NI.

The Strategy set out the region’s ambition to use the catalyst of the Games to engage young people; to encourage and inspire participation in sport, the arts, volunteering and wider cultural activity, and to support local businesses to get fit for purpose.

7 key themes

The Strategy explored 7 key themes, with the relevant stakeholder organisation taking the lead in their particular sector as follows:

Sector Stakeholder
Culture Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Sports Sport NI
Tourism NI Tourist Board
Business Invest NI
Education Department of Education
Skills and Employment Department for Employment and Learning
Volunteering Volunteer Now

Strategic objectives

Strategic Objectives for the North included:

  • increasing participation in sport, especially amongst young people
  • achieving high athletic performance
  • creating better infrastructure (facilities and people)
  • maximising the local economic and social impacts of the Games

Economic and sporting benefits

The different ways the 2012 games benefit the local economy and sport.


The 2012 Games provided an important platform for the North to provide significant local cultural and business opportunities.

There was over £40m worth of London 2012 related contracts won by over 45 local companies.

All of our successful contractors have boosted confidence in NI business. Their experiences have helped to showcase the business talent and capabilities possessed by companies from the North of Ireland and can be utilised and built upon in relation to bidding for future local and global projects.


Involvement in the London 2012 Games presented a prime opportunity to showcase the North to a global audience and challenge and change perceptions repositioning it as a positive place to live, work, invest, study and visit.

While it is fair to say that the full tourism impact may not be known for a number of years, local activities associated with the 2012 Games have created the potential to realise tourism benefits into the future.

In 2013 DCAL will seek to build on the positive impacts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with the North hosting the 2013 World Police and Fire Games and Derry~Londonderry City of Culture celebrations.


The Sports element of the NI 2012 Strategy aligned with the objectives contained in the Sport Matters: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation, 2009 – 2019. The Strategy focussed on the 3 key sporting themes of Participation, Performance and Places.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games provided a unique opportunity to accelerate the development of sport and deliver improved athletic performance locally. In addition, the Games offered an opportunity to encourage physically active lifestyles among the wider population, particularly our young people.

Benefits include:

  • increased participation, especially amongst young people
  • increased awareness of Disability Sport
  • increased awareness amongst those involved in sports development of gaps, deficiencies and weakness in maximising athletic performance
  • showcasing of local sporting venues and facilities to an international audience through the hosting of 17 Pre-Games training camps and a number of qualifying and training competitions

Social benefits

A memorable programme of events and activities around the Games was successfully delivered here, offering young and old the opportunity to feel ‘part of it’ and helping to bring our communities together in shared celebration.

Olympic torch relay

Over 300,000 people lined the streets for the Olympic Torch Relay in June 2012 and over 12,000 participated in Paralympic flame celebrations in August, providing important opportunities to develop social cohesion.


With more than 20 world class events having taken place across the North, from Belfast to Derry~Londonderry, Enniskillen to the Giants Causeway, the Cultural Olympiad provided opportunities for people that had never had the opportunity to engage with the arts before to do so in their own communities.

The programme inspired over 40,000 participants to get actively involved in its projects which were presented to an audience of over 850,000.

More than 1.8 million people participated in Games-related activities, a host of new Olympic and Paralympic role models were created, hundreds of thousands of young people were inspired, ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their community have had their moment to shine, and the sharing of our local arts, culture and sport on a world platform has been achieved.

Local arts

All of the important work that has gone into the local Cultural Olympiad programme over the last 4 years has significantly helped to increase capability, capacity and has developed infrastructure for the local arts sector to deliver large scale events in the future.

Get Set education programme

The Games have provided important opportunities for developing our young people through the ‘Get Set’ education programme, which over 600 local schools registered with, and the Young Ambassadors Programme which, to date, has developed 248 young ambassadors across 61 local schools.

Skilled volunteers

The Games have facilitated the development of a skilled pool of local volunteers with around 500 local people having participated as Games-Makers at London 2012.

Inspire programmes

Local Inspire projects have created almost 1 million opportunities for young people and communities here to get involved with the Games and help to bring about social cohesion.

Websites of interest

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