Just over a week ago, the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games took place; it passed me by completely, not only because I was asleep when it was televised, but, unlike 4 years ago, I seem to have not engaged with the build-up. I thought I would only have a passing interest in the Games; I like sports but would I really sit and watch cycling for hours on end when I can’t remember the last time I got on a bike?
Well, now I am hooked and have been for some days. In fact I am really in awe of the dedication and achievements of Team GB. We are reminded how these athletes dedicate their entire lives to training for such huge sporting events as the Olympics and World Championships – real dedication to achieve that elusive medal, training 10 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week.
And you can see how much it means to them, the disappointment of not coming out on top for Greg Rutherford and Louis Smith, and the tears of joy shown by Andy Murray and many of his compatriots after their successes.
The discussion in the aftermath will centre around inspiring the nation to take up sports and how we can build on our Olympic success. But why does this have to be confined to sport? How many children at school are told that they will not achieve what they want to because they are bottom of the class in maths or misbehave during their lessons? How many teachers, teaching assistants, parents and community youth leaders are looking at the younger generation and pushing the notion that they can be whatever they want to be, if they have the will, determination and desire to work at it?
What disappoints me, as I look at our political leaders is they are not taking a leaf out of the book of jaw dropping achievements of our athletes to demonstrate to the younger generation what can be achieved. Instead, the Labour Party are internally combusting and the Tories are sitting back and enjoying watching the Opposition rip themselves to pieces. As the peace and quiet of the summer continues and exam results are published, I am hoping to see some stirring speeches and comments from our political leaders to inspire the next generation.
Let’s bring our athletes on board to inspire the next generation, whether that is in the pool, in the boardroom or frankly in front of a computer. Let’s give them the belief to push themselves so that Team GB doesn’t just refer to our Olympians but entrepreneurs, business men and women, authors, actors and many other professionals pushing themselves to succeed.