Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, has hailed the "legacy blueprint" laid down by the London Games before Wednesday's meeting with the prime minister, David Cameron, and its final inspection visit.
It was the legacy promises made by the London 2012 chairman, Lord Coe, in Singapore in 2005 that helped secure the Games, with the IOC particularly concerned to engage with a new generation.
In order to create continued competition among potential host cities, the IOC also recognises the need to prove that investing in an Olympics can be a driver of regeneration and leave a lasting legacy. Rogge said that London had delivered on its promises and created a new blueprint for future hosts.
"London has raised the bar on how to deliver a lasting legacy. We can already see tangible results in the remarkable regeneration of east London. This great historical city has created a legacy blueprint for future Games hosts," said Rogge.
Cameron said the opportunity to deliver on the myriad legacy promises made on behalf of the Games was the government's biggest challenge and the greatest opportunity.
"Legacy has been built into the DNA of London 2012. But by definition, of course, the true legacy of London 2012 lies in the future," he said. "Though much has been done, I am acutely aware that the drive to embed and secure the benefits of London 2012 is still to come. That is our biggest challenge. It's also our greatest opportunity."
The focus on legacy is part of a government drive to reframe the debate and highlight the benefits as justification for investing £9.3bn of public money in them at a time of austerity.
The government has been stung by criticism over areas of the promised legacy, most obviously in sports participation where a target introduced by Labour to use the Games to inspire one million more people to play more sport had to be dropped amid negligible progress, and will today publish a new 80-page document called Beyond 2012 as part of an attempt to redress the balance.
Cameron and the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, are expected to highlight the progress made in securing a lasting legacy for six of the eight permanent Olympic venues, despite the ongoing debate over the future of the iconic stadium.
Another recurring theme is the extent to which the Olympics have proved a boon to British business and acted as a calling card for the UK economy, as well as driving the regeneration of east London.
There has also been criticism of the decision to slash the dedicated school sport budget by more than half only 18 months before the Olympics.
But Hunt and the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, will counter it by pointing to the new School Games scheme backed by Sainsbury's – a network of inter and intra school sports competitions culminating in finals in the Olympic Park – and a reworked plan to encourage more grass-roots youth sport.
The IOC's co-ordination commission delegation, led by its chair, Denis Oswald, will start its final two-day inspection visit following the meeting at Downing Street, which will also be attended by Lord Coe.
It is the last of 10 visits to monitor London's progress that began in 2006 and, like those that preceded it, will largely consist of a series of in-depth updates on various aspects of the London 2012 preparation.
As well as the latest "Get Ahead of the Games" transport campaign to try to prepare businesses and the public for potential bottlenecks during the Games, the IOC will also be updated on the plans for the last phase of the sometimes controversial ticketing process.

-Owen Gibson

Source: www.guardian.co.uk