London 2012 Olympics - The Legacy
Firstly, congratulations to Team GB on some great performances and an unexpectedly large medal haul. The host nation surpassed expectations.
Before the games there were two ‘scientific’ evaluations of Team GB’s medal hopes, in one, based on GDP and population per head the forecast was 32 medals and 8th place.
The other, undertaken at Colorado College, suggested a medal haul of 45 and a fifth place in the table; adding past record and home-nation advantage into the mix. The eventual tally was 65 medals (29 of which were gold) and a stunning third place overall (perhaps a further (bronze) medal should be awarded for that achievement).
There have been many truly inspiring performances; not all have led to medals; that's part of what sport is all about. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, said that the important thing in life is not the victory but the contest; the essential thing is not to have won but to have fought well.
The truly inspirational Oscar Pistorius exemplifies de Coubertin’s philosophy. Pistorius had to battle for years just to be allowed to compete; no medals but what an inspiration.
The hundreds of thousands of people who cheered competitors are also being lauded throughout the world. Although it is only to be expected that the loudest cheers of encouragement were (mainly) reserved for GB competitors, everyone got a warm welcome… or nearly everyone. It seems that football matches were very much the exception with plenty of derision and booing of non-GB players (especially Luis Suarez), and even of Craig Bellamy. What did Craig Bellamy do to cause offence? He was a Liverpool player, representing team GB but had the misfortune to be playing at Manchester United’s ground; absolutely pathetic. In fairness, he was applauded when he was substituted.
There has frequently been talk of whether or not football should be an Olympic sport. This is very much a ‘GB’ issue. The problem is that there is no football 'Team GB' as the home nations are individual members of FIFA. Football has been a featured sport at every summer Olympics bar 2 (1896 and 1932); it very much has a place in the competition. Perhaps it’s just football ‘supporters’ who should be banned.
So what about the legacy?
Obviously the infrastructure that was built at a huge cost must be put to best use; that’s almost the easy bit.
Politicians are now far too keen on making sport much more important in school curriculae; the usual knee jerk reaction which will, no doubt, be reversed as soon as something else comes along.Continued on the next page