TWO local MPs have spoken about their pride at being involved in the lobbying for London to host the Olympics.
Barry Gardiner (pictured) , MP for Brent North, was the first chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Olympics, which was set up to lobby the then-Labour government to consider bidding for the Olympic Games in 2012, despite resistance at top levels.
He said: There was a lot of opposition at that stage and people said it was a waste of money, it wont improve the health of the nation and wont deliver for the UK.
As I was involved in the bid to keep the national stadium in Wembley, I knew the importance of a strong bid as a bad one could do a lot of damage. I knew there was a lot of work to do, such as a proper feasibility study and looking at how it could attract business to the UK.
MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas, set up the group in 2003 after Tessa Jowell had agreed to go for a bid after years of lobbying from the MP.
Mr Thomas, who got tickets for athletics, canoeing and volleyball through the ballot, said: I thought at the time it would be fantastic for London and it has surpassed even my expectations. It was great to see people from Harrow getting involved as well.
The British Olympic Association and a number of sporting organisations contacted MPs to form a group supporting the idea and the bid was eventually won in 2005 after more than three years of hard work.
Mr Gardiner is no stranger to Olympic legacy as his father, Jack, was an Olympic footballer for Great Britain at the 1936 games in Berlin.
He still has an autograph book with the signature of Jessie Owens the renowned US track and field athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.