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Manchester getting its share of Olympic glory

FOOTBALL MATTERS: Old Trafford is a 2012 venue

IT HAS been almost 10 years since Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the city is still realising the benefits from successfully staging one of the biggest events in UK sporting history.

So impressive was the hosting of this large scale event held in New East Manchester, that it contributed to London winning the bid for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012.

In the run up to this summer’s Games, Manchester is benefiting from hosting several events, including the 52-mile cycle ride, which took place over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.

The biggest basketball event ever to hit Manchester arrives when the men’s and women’s USA Olympic team play Great Britain on July 19 at the Manchester Arena.

The two American teams will also hold training camps in the city, as part of a pre-London 2012 tour that sees them play the Dominican Republic, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. Stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard will be in attendance.

Old Trafford stadium will also be hosting the Olympic football tournament, which takes place between July 25 and August 11, with nine of the matches including a Team Great Britain men's group match, plus a men's and a women's semi-final. The first match on July 26 sees Team GB take on Senegal.

The Olympic Torch will be carried through Greater Manchester and Manchester city centre from now until June 24, where residents will be able to cheer the torchbearers on and celebrate the work they have done to improve life in their neighbourhoods.

To celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Torch, there will be a spectacular free show in the city centre on June 23. Many top athletes are also training at Manchester’s world class facilities, including the Manchester Velodrome for leading sprint track riders and para-cyclists and the Manchester Aquatics Centre used by the world famous Australian swimming team.


BACK IN THE DAY: Modahl (right) with Kelly Holmes

Former 800m Commonwealth gold medallist Diane Modahl said: "Manchester is already experiencing the positive effects of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“The real success of the Games though, will be measured long after all the medals have been handed out. This is when we can measure what the real legacy is.”

Modahl also runs the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation, which supports and shapes talent in Manchester and across the North West.

The Manchester and North West region had the highest number of exceptional projects outside London for recognition by the London 2012 Inspire Mark, an award inspired by the Games to do something special in local communities.

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