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Gordon Brown to blame for Olympic budget ballooning

Former Mayor Ken Livingstone blames Gordon Brown for increase in Olympic budget Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone hasblamed Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown for the dramatic increase in the budgetfor the London Olympics.

The estimated cost of staging the games rose from £2.2bn in 2005 to £9.3bn in 2007. Mr Livingstone, as Mayor of London was one of the leading figures in Britain's bid, was giving evidence today to the House of Lords Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee.

He said:

"We had huge problems with Gordon Brown. No Olympics has ever been told to pay VAT before, so that added another £836m, a completely non-sensical decision to have made.

Also, and this was driven very much by the Treasury and Gordon Brown, he insisted on a much larger budget for emergencies and cost over-runs and I was hostile to this."

Pride in our Games Makers

File photo of Games Makers in the Olympic Park, London Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

A third of people wish they had volunteered to help out at last year's Olympics following the success of the so-called Games Makers, according to a study. A similar number said the Games Makers positively changed the way they viewed volunteering, a survey of more than 2,000 adults found.

An estimated 873,600 volunteering hours have been put back into communities by the Games Makers since September, said the report by Olympic legacy charity Join In.

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OBE will be "pride of place" for Christiansen

Triple gold-medal winning paralympic equestrian Sophie Christiansen has been awarded her OBE by Prince Charles. She said the award would take pride of place with her gold medals.

"I like to look at my medals and for them to be out for everyone to see, particularly young kids," she said. "I have found that for people to be able to touch and see a Paralympic gold medal is a really special thing so I make sure that I take it in to schools for children to see.

"The slogan for the Games was to inspire a generation and trying to do that is an important part of the legacy."Christiansen said she was not nervous when collecting her latest award because being involved in sport has made her more and more confident over the years.

Royal honour for 2012 stars

Cyclist Laura Trott receives her OBE medal from the Prince of Wales Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Prince Charles recognised Laura Trott as he presented the 21 year old with her OBE, saying the athletes had done "really good" work at the London 2012 Games. He asked her if she had to watch what she ate. Trott, still smiling, replied: "No I ate Maltesers."

Cyclist Laura Trott with members of the Yeoman of the Guard Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

She said she was nervous but excited about the day, "there is no pressure in this and I got to see my mum Glenda getting ready to go to Buckingham Palace which is not the sort of thing that happens every day." Laura began cycling with her mother, who took up the sport to lose weight.

Cyclist Laura Trott after receiving her OBE medal Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Trott, 21, made a stunning Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games where she rode away to gold in the omnium and team pursuit.

The dominance of the world-beating trio of Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell, has seen them break the record six consecutive times in the team pursuit.

Trott: "All I do is ride a bike"

Great Britain's Laura Trott celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's Omnium Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

A nervous but excited Laura Trott collected her OBE at Buckingham Palace today and said "I do not really feel I should be here. All I do is ride a bike."

After picking up her award from the Prince of Wales, the double Olympic cycling champion said: "I was talking to a soldier who was being honoured and thought maybe I do not deserve this because all I do is ride a bike - that is my day job. I love it but this is so amazing.

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Equestrian star becomes OBE

Sophie Christiansen arriving at the Paralympic Ball 2012 Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Equestrian Sophie Christiansen, 25, becomes an OBE today.

Christiansen, who was born with cerebral palsy, won the team, individual and freestyle golds at her third Paralympic Games.

She previously won two golds and a silver at Beijing in 2008 and a bronze in Athens in 2004, and was made an MBE in 2009.

Top honour for Laura Trott

Laura Trott with Dani King and Joanna Rowsell Credit: PA

Cyclist Laura Trott will be made an OBE for services to her sport following her exploits in the velodrome last summer, when she won two gold medals at her first Olympics.

The 21-year-old, who was born with a collapsed lung and only took up sport on the advice of doctors, repeatedly smashed the world record on the way to the team pursuit title alongside Dani King and Joanna Rowsell, before standing atop the podium again after winning the Omnium two days later.

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