Monday, 30 July 2012

London 2012 – inspiring a generation?


   So after all the road closures, public sector strikes, G4S recruitment problems and Mitt Romney’s international ‘charm offensive ‘ – or offensive charm perhaps - London put on a hell of a show on Friday.

Then on Saturday I was at the Olympic Park for Team GB in the women’s handball which was an amazing day too. That was partly about the handball which I hadn’t seen before and is a great sport in which we’re showing some early potential (we need to change the goalie though). But for me it was mainly about the atmosphere at the park where there was a great buzz and everyone seemed happy and friendly, which is an increasingly rare experience these days. I thought the volunteers made a great contribution to this, being friendly themselves, offering to take photos and clearly being keen to help out when they could.

If we manage to keep this up, the rest of the two weeks should be fantastic too.

There’s still the legacy of course. And that’s going to be even harder to deliver – and there are some disconcerting signs that we won’t manage it (see Mr Romneyshambles, I can say this, you can’t).

Any legacy will be partly about the infrastructure, and I hope West Ham are finally successful in taking over the stadium after the events. But being based in West London rather than the East I’m not clear about the potential for the rest of the site.

And the legacy is partly about people, hence the games’ tagline, ‘Inspiring a Generation’. And that’s probably going to be much harder to do – certainly more demanding that handing on the torch to a group of young athletes which was the one bit of the opening ceremony I did find a bit naff.

From an HCM perspective, it’s about increasing engagement (in society – yes, in business – we’ll still have to see), and probably health and wellness too. This is something the Olympics could definitely make a difference too – particularly with around 30% of children aged 2 to 15 (in England) being classified as overweight or obese. (See Mitt I could have talked about the US here, but I’ll choose not to do that).

It’s something else I was talking to people about at Monster Buzz where I to think Gareth Jones made the point that there was nothing overt being done to encourage young people to engage in sport (and I did look under my seat in the handball for something but there wasn’t anything there).

But perhaps we don’t need this – eg with the current upsurge in cycling to get around the extra traffic in London, plus all the interest in Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Sir Chris Hoy and Lizzie Armitstead, we shouldn’t need any more promotion to get more people on their bikes.

And it’s early days so far, but from the way my daughters have been playing with their Olympic footballs on way back and since we got home, I think we’ve got it about right.




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