Monday, 16 May 2022

Important legacy of the 2012 Olympics

WHAT stands out most when you think back to the Olympics here in Britain?

WHAT stands out most when you think back to the Olympics here in Britain?

The most astonishing aspect was not how well we did in the medals table, but how the slogan “Inspire a Generation” really worked, and on three levels.

First, we were able to gaze upon true heroes — not the usual vacuous, self-infatuated celebrities who dominate the TV channels, famous only for being famous — but those who had worked hard to qualify as Olympians and were modest and friendly.

Second, the Paralympics were amazing, showing the able-bodied how much they could learn about motivation, discipline and stretching themselves as well as reminding those disabled in various ways that some of them could aspire to more than they were currently settling for.

If ever there was an example to every single individual in the UK of how not to give up, how to make the most of oneself, how to concentrate on what we can do rather than what we cannot do… we had it.

Third was what happened off the track: the thousands of volunteers who found the distinctive red and purple uniform rather ridiculous at first but quickly turned it into a badge of honour.

By their own admission, they were surprised at how much fun it was helping others, while by the end of the Olympics many other people were wishing that they too had volunteered.

It also showed us that we do not have to be a Mo Farah or Jessica Ennis-Hill to make our mark: we can achieve gold in our own way, in whatever field of community life suits us best... and not just once every four years, but in-between and on ordinary days too.

The Games did something that no one expected; they made us feel good about ourselves and our neighbours. We should not let it be limited to 2012.

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