Darren Campbell says Olympic Stadium must host athletics

Last Updated: 24/10/12 4:33pm

Former sprinter Darren Campbell hopes the continuing uncertainty over the future of the Olympic Stadium will help to safeguard an athletics legacy at Stratford.

A decision on whether West Ham can move into the stadium has been postponed as negotiations over the cost of modifying the facility continue.

The Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has revealed that the spending on the Olympics came in under budget by at least £377 million pounds and the figure may be as high as £480 million.

However Robertson says that money is unlikely to be used to convert the stadium for use as a football venue and he admits there may be no permanent tenant in the stadium.

Campbell, who won gold for Great Britain in the 2004 Olympic 4x100m, told Sky Sports News it is essential that any decision on the stadium's future isn't rushed.

"What I wouldn't want to happen is for the Olympic Stadium to be given to the wrong hands and afterwards everybody turning around and thinking 'that's a mistake'," he said.

"Maybe everybody needs a little bit of time now to really analyse all of the different opportunities that are in front of them and come to the right decision.

"For me it should be an athletics stadium. It's now iconic with one of the greatest Olympics ever witnessed, so for me that would be fantastic. Is that realistic in the current economic climate? Probably not. So I think it's about everybody sitting around the table and deciding what is right for everybody.

"But the most important thing always should be legacy and the people in that area continuing to be inspired by what they witnessed in London 2012."


Campbell is an Ambassador for the Sky Sports Living for Sport campaign, a free secondary schools initiative that uses sport stars and sport skills to empower young people.

A third of the UK's secondary schools are now signed up to the initiative and 96 per cent of teachers running projects said students' self-esteem has improved as a result.

Campbell explained why he is so passionate about the scheme. "When I became an Ambassador four years ago it was about working with disengaged young people; initially I was going in there telling my story, trying to get these young people back engaged and back focused and inspire them and empower them to try and work hard in school.

"I've seen the scheme grow and grow and grow over the four years and it's now not just about disengaged young people, it's about all young people and giving them the tools to go out and express themselves and be the best they can be.

"That's what makes Sky Sports Living for Sport so special - you have mentors who have been through different things and have gone on to enjoy sporting success.

"By having these mentors going in and sharing their stories of adversity and how they got through it really gives the pupils the feeling that anything is possible and you really see their mind-sets start to change.

"Living for Sport is not about finding the next sports person; it's about empowering, inspiring and motivating young people to believe in themselves."

If you're interested in signing your school up for the Sky Sports Living for Sport scheme you can find out all you need to know at www.skysports.com/livingforsport