The 2008 Legacy Action Plan stated the government’s intention to make the United Kingdom (UK) a ‘world-leading sporting nation’ by using the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire population changes in physical activity. It set a goal of encouraging two million more people to be active, and responsibility for achieving the target was divided between the sport and health sectors. However, data from the Active People Survey do not confirm a ‘legacy effect’ on participation as a result of the Games. Despite failure to achieve the target, the Legacy Action Plan was the first UK policy to set a shared national goal for the health and sport sectors and since its publication, the agendas of the two sectors have become increasingly aligned. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for the two sectors to work collaboratively towards the common goal of improving population health through physical activity. It is possible that this coalescence, if maintained, has the potential to create a more sustained legacy on physical activity than may have resulted from the short-lived ‘inspiration effect’ of hosting the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Rather than dwelling on the ‘failure’ of the Olympics to achieve the legacy target, efforts should focus on the policy congruence that has developed since the Games, and how to maximise partnership working to achieve a sustained shift in population levels of physical activity.
- SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences