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Olympics brought £50m boost to Hampshire
7:00am Wednesday 5th December 2012 in News
HAMPSHIRE has reaped huge rewards from this summer's Olympics, it has been revealed.
Local businesses pulled in £36m by winning 183 different contracts, according to figures from the Olympics Delivery Authority.
Among them was a deal to supply 4,000 trees in the Olympic Park in London - creating a growing Hampshire legacy.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Torch spent more time in Hampshire than any other county, boosting the local economy by an estimated £10m, according to a report to the county council's Culture, Communities and Rural Affairs select committee.
Almost 500,000 people are believed to have turned out on to the county's streets to catch a glimpse of the torch.
Councillor Keith Chapman, who is responsible for leisure services at the council, said: “The Olympics may be behind us but they have left a fantastic legacy not only in Hampshire but throughout the country as a whole.
“The achievements of Team GB Olympics and Paralymic athletes have inspired the nations as well as helping to change public perceptions around disability and wider health and wellbeing issues.”
Dozens of Olympic events were held throughout the county, including “Winchester Live” which saw a total 8,000 people watch the opening and closing ceremonies on big screens erected in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, as well as a concert at Southampton's Mayflower Park.
Organisers also reported crowds of up to 2,000 people at some key medal-winning highlights for Team GB.
In addition to the financial boost and feel-good factor, crime levels dropped across the county by 16 per cent during the Olympics and 10 per sent during the Paralymics.
Hampshire had 32 Olympians - more than any other county and around 10 per cent of Team GB's medals in both the Olympics and Paralypmics came from 44 athletes with links to Hampshire.
Their haul of four gold, three silver and 10 bronze meals make Hampshire the second most successful Olympic county after Yorkshire.
Of these 44 athletes, eight had received support from the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme, run by the county council.
Meanwhile 491 schools took part in a Get Set Network, an education programme to celebrate London 2012 in schools.
Now county chiefs are looking at ways to extend the benefits, including inspiring young and old to become more active.
Proposals include working with schools and the military to increase access to their sports facilities and developing a cycling strategy.