Simon Jenkins writes in today’s Evening Standard
“This summer £97 million was spent on a “cultural Olympiad and festival”, overwhelmingly in a city largely denuded of tourists. The audit of this huge sum remains obscure and, given the Olympic mystique, it will probably never be revealed. Yet The Art Newspaper bravely reported this month that the 2012 organisers claimed seven million attendances at the top 10 events, and “more than 19 million participants” in total. These figures, the paper indicated, were totally fabricated to justify the original budget.
Thus the British Museum claimed 3.1 million visits to its show of Olympic medals and the Tate claimed 3.3 million for three free exhibitions during the Games. The newspaper pointed out that these figures implied the most sensational shows in museum history, outstripping Tutankhamun or any other blockbuster. An Olympics official vaguely “revised” them when challenged.
It is a measure of the fantasy extravagance of the London Olympics that no other paper dared question mendacious statistics worthy of a Chinese apparatchik.”