The finish line of the London Olympics is fast approaching, so perhaps now is a good time to look ahead to the legacy of London 2012.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the media was bombarding us with stories about security and how the Games would only benefit London, but now, with Team GB putting on a spectacular performance, thousands of people across the country have been inspired to take up sports.
That’s a fantastic achievement in just a handful of days (which took years of planning, preparation and training), but inspiring people simply isn’t enough – inspiration needs opportunity. The government now needs to make sure that all those people who want to take up sports, or generally be more active, have the necessary facilities available to them. That doesn’t just mean people in London, but everybody across the country, young and old.
There needs to be significant investment in school sports so that young people get into sports while they’re still enthusiastic. However, the government seems intent on selling off assets for short-term gain, rather than making a real commitment to the future. I believe that attitude needs to change.
Although, I think the government should only be responsible for changing sports in schools. For the rest of the population, businesses should use their force to get more people engaged in sports.
Local gyms and sports centres can make sports more of a social event, something to do with friends, but it also needs to be affordable to make sure it really is available to everybody, not just those who are reasonably well off. The older people in our society also mustn’t be forgotten; perhaps some facilities should be made available for free.
Making facilities available to everybody wouldn’t just encourage people to become more physically active and improve the health of the nation, but would also provide businesses with a boost as more people would be coming through the doors.
So maybe the economic benefit from the Olympics could be felt in local communities all around the country, as well as equipping people with real opportunities to get more physically active.
One thing that is certain is that the Olympics isn’t a solution in itself, but does provide the government and businesses with a fantastic foundation on which they can begin to tackle growing issues in our modern society, whilst also equipping young people with real role models.