London 2012: Inspire a Generation Featured

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Last Friday, 27 million UK viewers alone tuned in to witness London show off all its glory during the Olympic Opening Ceremony and the whole world came to a standstill. It was crystal clear to all watching, that the message London 2012 is trying to promote: ‘we can inspire a generation’, began as soon as Bradley Wiggins stepped on stage fresh from the Tour de France. His casual, nonchalant northern attitude proved to the rest of the world that Britain does not have to be huge to succeed, nor extravagant to entertain. And neither does its athletes.

Amongst the flashing lights, loud cheers and long parades of competitors, Danny Boyle successfully showcased a collaboration of humour, history and true British style: even to the extent of our very own Queen joining 007 for a quick sky dive. Some of the audience breathed a sigh of relief as all potential disasters slowly began to dissipate before our eyes while others gasped as the incredible show reflected what Britain does best: hard work, revolution and victory.

At the time of writing, Team GB has won fifteen medals, including five glistening golds. And so, after only a few days into the Olympic Games it is obvious that it won’t just be one generation to become inspired. Watching and witnessing emotional successes, while hearing amazing stories such as rowing champion Helen Glover commenting on her win: “Oh, I only started rowing four years ago... But here’s my gold medal” (somewhat paraphrased), has made even the most unmotivated couch potato dig out their bright white trainers from the back of the wardrobe and start training for Rio 2014. Sport has the capability to bring out the most admirable qualities in our human race. To merely compete against others, be it in running, rowing or even handball, these Olympic athletes recognise the importance of integrity. They show determination, dedication, compassion and modesty. When combined with the winning attributes of competitiveness and ambition, there’s something in an athlete for everyone to aspire to be.

Sport and athletes provide a foundation for everyone in the country to build from, whether they’re ten, ninety, a beginner or an expert. If you’re a musician you can take inspiration from Chris Hoy who has spent years perfecting and refining his talent; or if you’re a budding writer with huge ambitions, nineteen year old cyclist Philip Hindes (who is younger than me and has a gold medal under his belt) should provide hope that you can reach success at any age.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an athlete, or whether you merely watch sport after a hard day in lectures; without enthusiasm for your hobby, skill and for yourself, you will not reach the levels you have the potential to, and you most certainly will not defy expectations. This is the truly important message which London 2012 is delivering. After all, you may not be an athlete physically, but with commitment, ambition and hard work you can emulate athleticism in mind, skill and success – all in your own unique and individual style. “Inspire a generation” suggests that we should be focusing on the young members of our community – to push them, and to promise them that they can grow into the next champion of our nation’s hearts. And whereas this should definitely be encouraged, we shouldn’t forget that champions come in all shapes and sizes.

If there’s anything that London 2012 has taught us, it’s that sport is not predictable. And neither is life. So go out there: play your instrument, run your mile, write your novel; be inspired.

Jessica Baggaley

I make the incoherent coherent through punctuation, adjectives and irony.

Website: jbwp91.wordpress.com

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