London 2012 may have appeared to finish but there are two strands of the story that remain to be told. On the 29th August, for twelve days, the Paralympics take place when hundreds of athletes who are unable to compete on the same level as able bodied athletes will get their chance for glory. If you thought the athletes at the main games were brave, determined and self-sacrificing then just wait for the Paralympics to begin. They’ll get as dazzling an opening night and a heartfelt send off to congratulate them on the blood sweat and tears shed in pursuing Olympic glory.
What is on the lips of many is what is being called the ‘Olympic Legacy’. Part of that is hoped to be an improved perception of the UK that will draw new business to the country and attract visitors keen to see the country that was portrayed so vividly and perhaps whimsically in the opening and closing ceremonies.
Whether the anticipated £13bn of legacy receipts will be seen is open to discussion but there’s a further legacy that can involve all of the people of the UK through the buildings, facilities, projects and funding that aim to encourage adults and children to pick up where the athletes left off and take up a new sport or push for competitive success in a sport they already enjoy. Schools, especially state schools, are being encouraged to look to the future, identifying potential in young children and channelling their talents to produce world champions in years to come.
Almost everyone agrees that there is a problem with obesity in the UK and what better way to deal with it than by taking up a sport which will enable you to get fitter, make new friends and do something you’ll really enjoy. Several organisations are taking up the challenge of bringing people and sport together including the supermarket chain ASDA who have been promoting ASDA Active, details of which can be found on www.asda.com.
Elsewhere, many sports facilities around the UK are still promoting the chance to try a new sport for free before deciding whether to take it up seriously.
And who knows, with the oldest competitor in the Olympics being a sprightly 71 year old, it may not be too late to chase and maybe fulfil that dream of an Olympic medal.