Inspiring a generation
7 August 2012
“When’s Tom Daley on?
Did you hear about thebadminton?
I was watching theswimming all day.
Did you see the Judo – amazing right?
We’ve just got a medal in…
That footballcrowd was the largest ever…”
This week has been dominated by sport and talk of the Olympics: engaging in excited chatter about the opening ceremony, Rowan Atkinson and the “James Bond bit with the Queen”; going over the various nuances of different sporting disciplines that we’d previously never given a second thought to, with young people who admit they don’t generally care about sportbut are a little taken-aback that they’re watching it now; being in awe alongside our year 8 girls at the skill and daring of Tom Daley and the rest ofthe teams in the Olympic diving; organising trips to the men’s table tennis medal matches and the beach volleyball thanks to a last minute surprise gift oftickets; having great fun down at Rosemary gardens messing about with basketballs, footballs and creative interpretations of tennis. There was a buzz about the tennis courts last night and the young people had what felt like extra energy to devote to playing sport. Spending time with young people this week I’ve noticed a unified interest and appreciation from our young people for the skill of athletes and most of them seem to have caught a pride that all these athletes and spectators from all these different nations are here in London, their city, their home. There has been much talk of the legacy of these games for London being in the infrastructure and finances – but I think the real legacy for our young people will be in the pride and inspiration that they are experiencing – an interest and discovery of the joys of sport, encouragement from hearing the courageous stories of the athletes, a fresh sense of belonging to their city and their nation and being able to say to their children and grandchildren that they were here.