What has been the legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth games and could Manchester host the Olympics?

Video report by Granada Reports Sports Correspondent Chris Hall

Two decades on from the stunning success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, athletes have reflected on its remarkable legacy - asking whether the city could host the Olympics.

The games, which were the largest in history, sparked huge excitement,.

Beth Tweddle, a 2002 Commonwealth Champion in Gymnastics said: "To be honest, I thought it was the best I was ever going to get and the closest I was ever going to get to competing in front of a home crowd.

"It does make a huge difference.

"When you walk into the stadium and hear those roars - it was an amazing stepping stone in my career."

Karen Greig, Head Coach and Manchester Thunder Netball, said the Commonwealth Games were transformational for the area and the sport - around 2,000 fill the centre every week.

She added: "The friendliness of the city, the community feel, it was just a real buzz.

"I think anybody that comes from Manchester always says that it is the best city in the world and I truly believe that."

The success of the games is still keenly felt by local people and international teams alike using its infrastructure. Credit: ITV News

The winning bid to host the Commonwealth Games was led by Sir Bob Scott in 1995, he believes the Games should have opened the doors to hosting the 2012 Olympics.

He led two unsuccessful bids to bring the Olympics to Manchester in 1996 and 2000.

He said: "The legacy of the Commonwealth Games and what would have been the legacy of a Manchester Olympic Games would have dwarfed a few changes to the East End of London.

"The President of the International Olympic Association on the opening of the Commonwealth Games said: 'Bob, now is the moment to make your third bid for the Olympic Games.' But it was not to be."

Sir Bob Scott who led Manchester's successful bid, believes that the 2012 Olympics should have come to Manchester. Credit: ITV News

Manchester 2002 was the largest Commonwealth Games in history and was also the first to fully integrate para-athletes into national teams, with their success included in the medal table.

Costing £330 million, the Games transformed East Manchester with the Co-op live arena bringing more investment to the area.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, saysthe area of Manchester that struggled with low unemployment and low investment was given a new lease of life.

She added: "Over the last 20 years, over 10,000 new homes have been created and the population has doubled."

The infrastructure the Games built still has long lasting impacts two decades on.

The Games' venues have allowed local communities to train side by side with elite athletes, with many sports moving their national headquarters to once neglected neighbourhoods, like Belle Vue Sports village.

Karen added that the venue trains international teams like Australia.

Over 10,000 people volunteered to help in the games with huge investment brought into deprived areas of Manchester. Credit: ITV News

Whilst there were economic benefits, the Games also uplifted Manchester's view of itself.

Manchester tour guide Jonathan Schofield saw a boom in tourism after 2002, but also noticed a cultural shift.

He said: "It's the fact that the city itself feels better about itself, that sense that we can live back up to our reputation of being go-getters and doing - rather than saying we're going to do.

"It was cemented by the success of the Commonwealth Games."

As a result, some are hoping that Manchester may make an ambitious third bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics.

Many sports have moved their headquarters to once neglected neighbourhoods, like Belle Vue Sports village, to revitalise communities. Credit: ITV News

Karen said: "We're known to be a city about sport, music, community and to see the Olympics in Manchester would be immense."

Sir Bob, who attempted twice to bring the Olympics to Manchester said: "Please God, when Britain is given the (Olympic) Games again, then it must be Manchester.

"It has to be Manchester."

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