Lessons from the Olympics

Now that the dust has settled round the parks, tracks, arenas, fields and coasts used by the Olympics, across what is now GREAT Britain, a few comments and questions.

On games sponsorship, was it worth it? For BMW, BT, CocaCola and MacDonalds yes, but it isn’t good enough just to argue intangible benefits for the rest. The real winner was the BBC, superb coverage, involvement across all media and the opportunity to learn so much more with all the online links!

Did the London centric games touch the hearts and minds of the rest of GB? I would say yes, but it could have done better. The North West had some football but lost the velodrome activity share it should have had and the BMX too. Regional rail links were not as active as they should have been in promoting easy access (in the North West due to the franchise rebid). But the BBC did its bit and kept us away from spending.

Team GB’s success across such a wide range of sports is also testament to the great strides the UK has made on diversity and inclusion, not perfect, but considerable when measured alongside other countries.

The Games’ legacy will be measured on how its success translates into community cohesion, how happy we are about ourselves and how we start to regain control of the nation’s waistline. There are some scary statistics about how 60% of us are going to be obese by 2050 if we don’t and the fastest growing age group is kids.

Can our state schools learn to teach more than the usual football, rugby, cricket, swimming, netball and hockey to our kids? They’ll need the time and a bit more effort to find talent beyond pushy parents and reducing playing fields.

And Pele is in danger of doing a ‘Ringo’. To be part of the closing (and his nation’s pre-opening) ceremony and then to say, probably honestly, Brazil’s infrastructure will struggle, Pele is not the sort of spokesperson they need right now. He needs to get more completely ‘on message’ before his next press appearance.

Team GB; we can all be proud. Unforgettable! And my money is on ‘Fly-Mo’ or the volunteers for Sports Personality of the Year.



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