8 August 2012
No more gold medals today as the Games draw to an end, we did however increase our number of silver medals to 13 as indeed we also did with our bronze medals. There is of course a chance that we will pick up more medals in these dying days but the likelihood of our being displaced from third position in the medal league-compared with 4th. in Beijing-we are told, is remote. So, well done Team GB-an inspiring result
In terms of involvement with the Games themselves, leaving aside the hundreds or thousands of volunteers of bag carriers or just being available to help a particular team over any local difficulties, I think my family was fairly representative. In other words, the young’ balloted for and successfully obtained tickets for three or four events, the rest was on television. Full marks to the BBC for the quality of their presentation.
Chloe and family obtained tickets for the hockey-semi-finals in which Team GB played Argentina in a fast moving exciting game which the visitors won by the narrowest of margins, 2-1. This physical exposure to an event would be sufficient for the children to recall for the rest of their lives, as there is nothing comparable with being there, for being swept along with the enthusiasm of the surrounding crowd.
There has been much discussion about the’ legacy’ from these Games and this, physical exposure, I suggest, is one of them. I remember being taken to a baseball match in the USA. I think it was a final of some sort in the famous Rose Bowl Arena. I was merely visiting on a business project and my hosts had obtained the ticket for me as good hosts should. I knew very little about the rules of baseball and nothing about the two competing teams.
Yet, very soon I found myself standing cheering myself hoarse with the rest of the surrounding supporters of one team or another. The point being that I was absolutely swept away by the drama of the occasion and indeed will have never forgotten the rise in my adrenaline and, no doubt, in my heartbeat, as my excitement level rose in keeping with my hosts when the team they were supporting did something challenging to their opponents.
So, there is the legacy of physical attendance at an event or other by an individual but far more important is the effect it might have on the population of a particular town or region. The Games are deliberately designed to be partisan. No matter how famous is the participant, all that matters, in this particular event, is as representative of his/her country.
There is, no doubt, that, in watching the effect of these Games on thousands of youngsters is quite dramatic. The little seven, eight, nine years seriously believe that they too can become champions of the world and receive their own gold medal. This raises the level of enthusiasm very quickly from the masses who decide that they are going to be the best shot putter in the world or 10,000 m runner, or other. Unless the infrastructure to follow through on this enthusiasm, maintain its height long enough for this new enthusiast to be swept along, is in place, this new passion will quickly pass. So, in terms of legacy of inspiring future generations to dedicate, day by day, the hard work of practice and exercise to build up this new enthusiast’s strength, six months or so later I suspect that the flame of enthusiasm will have all but burnt out.
That leaves me with the all abiding sense of achievement – there were as many stories of the hardship suffered by someone who had by dint of personal sacrifice and hard work found themselves in the Olympic arena. It was, I believe, these individual stories that will inspire a generation of youngsters, the small residue of which will go on to compete for this country.
Finally, I suggest, that the whole affair, coming at a time of extreme global financial uncertainty, will have affected most people in this country with a realistic sense of being able to get through this present financial crisis and the sheer believe that we can make it will be sufficient, in itself, to get through the crisis, safely and securely.
‘ What the mind of Man can conceive, and believe, Man can achieve’.