Passing On The Flame: Can The Olympic Legacy Continue?

Mo Farah won the 10,000m gold medal

The Olympics has thrown up its fair share of great moments, those kind of moments that we will look back on in 12 years time as the BBC plays a grainy highlight reel backed by Chariots of Fire, from the distant past that was 2012.

Team GB has achieved an incredible feat indeed, surpassing the Beijing medal tally and creating sporting legends. The hope now is that the Olympic fever captivating the nation will translate in to further sporting success with young children taking up sports. Several politicians and athletes have called for the need for sports in schools to be improved.
I would like to take you back to Super Saturday, the day that Farah and Ennis won their gold medals. I was watching this event with my family whilst sitting down on the sofa, stuffing my face with some kebabs, chicken curry, samosas and an array of home cooked delights courtesy of my aunties and uncles. I was on to my fifth beer when Farah won the 10,000m and an inspired thought crossed my mind – “I will go for a run tomorrow”. Naively I made this brave remark convinced that my liver will be unstoppable and help me avoid the hangover.
The next morning, as I awoke at about midday from an alcohol induced coma with the food still sitting in my stomach, I rubbed my eyes and streched looking outside at the dismal weather. The gallantry and concivtion with which I told myself that I would undertake a run today had disappeared, replaced by the need for a strong black coffee and some biscuits. The rest of the day was spent in an lethargic stupour, waiting for the energy to “reschedule” my run.
In my experience, inspiriation is like the flu, it comes an goes in very short bursts. Only a few people will grab this inspiration by the scruff of the neck and use it to great effect. When Wimbledon comes around, I feel inclined to play a few games of Tennis. When there is a major Cricket match taking place I feel the urge to get into the nets. And so it happens that when the Olympics appear in all their glory, I feel the need to run, to get fit and obtain that six pack to grate cheese off of. But the feeling for me personally is shortlived, not merely because I like socialising with friends and family, but because of a whole host of factors: time, work, and responsibilties. The trouble is sustaining this desire to do sport.
I am not idle. I do archery on a cometitive level and that is where my focus lies. But many adults that time restraints stop them from playing enough sport or exercising. In this high pressure world this is increasingly becoming the case.

Jessica Ennis won gold in the Heptathalon event

So the focus turns to children. They must be our fitness saviours and there is no wonder why many have called for the review of children’s sport. Many state schools have had their playing fields sold off, facilities in tatters, and no resources to fund lots of sport.

Recently statistics revealed that half of Britain’s gold medal winners in Beijing were privately educated and this sparked furious debate. We cannot begrudge people who went to a private school and were priveleged enough to recieve the best sporting facilities. But what we must do is take example from athletes like Ennis and Farah, both from state schools, who have made it to the biggest sporting show in the world.
Focus must be turned to the ways in which state schools can produce world class athletes on a regular basis. Attention must be on funding for sports in schools because this will give the opportunity for people to try sports out. This is the problem for many children, that they do not have the opportunity to play new sports, especially those that are traditionally assocaited with the more priveleged classes – rowing and horse riding for example. At my secondary school, we played football for 90% of the term and then in the summer we had a go at some running. This kind of level of disinterested and monotonous sporting has to be eradicated for grass roots sports to thrive.
The Olympic spirit is a great thing. Britain feels proud, alive and excited because our athletes are delivering the goods. But this flame needs to stay alight to be passed on to our budding athletes so the legacy of London 2012 will continue to burn bright.
Do you think the Olympic legacy will survive? What do you think needs to be done in order for the legacy to continue? Let us know what you think.

One response to “Passing On The Flame: Can The Olympic Legacy Continue?

  1. Pingback: Why Boris Johson Would Make A Great Athlete | The News Desk·

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