Planning for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Public Health Laboratory London was based on the requirement to meet potential increased demand with scalable capacity. The aim of this study was to determine the impact on demand for microbiology gastrointestinal diagnostic services during the Games period. Retrospective cross-sectional time-series data analysis was used to assess the number of gastrointestinal specimens received in the laboratory and the number of positive results. There was no increase in the number of gastrointestinal specimens received during the Games period, thus the Games had no impact on demand for microbiology gastrointestinal diagnostic services at the laboratory. There was a decrease in the number of public health specimens received for culture [incidence rate ratio=0.34, 95 % confidence interval (CI)=0.13–0.86, P=0.02] and a decrease in the number of culture positive community specimens (odds ratio=0.59, 95 % CI=0.40–0.85, P=0.005), suggesting a decrease in gastrointestinal illness during the Games period. As previous planning assumptions were not based on actual specimen activity, the results of this study may modify the extent of additional planning for microbiological services required for mass gatherings.