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Inspire a Generation

I think when the PR people came up with that slogan they were thinking of children, the next generation. I expect the Olympics has genuinely inspired many many children, it’s even inspired mine and they are pretty small, but it’s also inspired me.

Not just to try and run a bit faster, although certainly the thought of Mo Farrah’s incredible performances does make me think the I can do a 10k in a better time, but in many other aspects of my life. Commitment, dedication and discipline can clearly get you a very long way. Must work on those.

What I’ve loved about this Olympics has been the overwhelming passion and enthusiasm. The amateur athletes who’ve truly believed they can achieve great things and have gone on to do so like Jade Jones  who won Gold in the Taekwondo. But actually even if they haven’t won medals they’ve given it a bloody good go, and Britain loves a tryer. I certainly do.

So we missed much of the first week of the Olympics, being on holiday in France, but we arrived back on ‘Super Saturday’ and saw the great British victories of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford. Amazing. Some great pictures of that day’s events can be found here. Then, as many others, I became hooked on this sporting orgy. I let the girls do gluing, glittering, painting, sticking, cutting and god knows what other messy pursuits so that I could watch Andy Murray beat Roger Federer on the Sunday, then Eliza and I watched the gymnastics on the Monday. She has since been climbing, jumping and balancing like there’s no tomorrow.

I decided that all pole vaulters and divers should get medals just because their sport is so bloody scary. Holy shit did you see the height those poles get? And you could do yourself a serious injury on the diving board if you missed your footing by just a millimetre.  Yet again – amazing. Since I’m on the subject let me just say that Tom Daley did a fine job. Is he really just 18? Blimey.

I loved the triathlon and the Brownlee brothers, if I’m worried about sibling rivalry imagine how their mother felt all those years. I seemed to miss most of the cycling events because life got in the way, but I’m pretty sure Laura Trott will inspire a great chunk of the next generation.

And the pentathlon is just such a bizarrely extraordinary mix of events that you just have to watch it to see how anyone can be good at running, swimming, horse riding, shooting and unbelievably fencing. Bizarre and how cool that the British woman Sam Murray got the silver today?

I’ve loved the sportsmanship, the performance, the showmanship of Usain Bolt, the cool assuredness of David Rudisha and his eloquent interviews after his huge win in the 800m. (We won’t dwell on the BBC interview of Blake and Bolt actually during Rudisha’s medal ceremony because that was grossly disrespectful.)

For me the athletics were probably the most exciting part but I did love watching Nicola Adams’ controlled performance in the boxing and although I’m not sure where I stand on women’s boxing she really is a great example of someone who’s passion and commitment has led her to victory. Plus she smiled and smiled and smiled and there were no tears when she won Gold which was impressive.

As for my next generation?  Well Tilly has declared that;

“Mummy I would get an Olympic medal for eating strawberries.” That’s true, she would.

And, as I’ve said before, Eliza thinks she’d give Usain Bolt a run for his money,  ”I can faster than an ostrich, a cheetah and a Peregrin Falcon so I’d definitely beat him Mummy.”

From being openly cynical about London’s ability to hold the Olympics, handle the traffic and my own ability to cope with the inevitable delays on public transport, I have been pleasantly and wonderfully surprised.  It’s been pretty damn amazing having the Olympics on my doorstep, I’ve felt something close to pride going to work in London. It’s a pretty great city isn’t it really?

For what’s it worth I’d like to say a bloody great big well done to our Olympic team. You were exciting and inspiring to watch. So were lots of other Olympic teams admittedly, but Team GB did some amazing things and made us all rather proud to be British.  In this house anyway.

And of course we couldn’t have a closing ceremony without ‘A day like this’ by Elbow could we? Which is what I’m now watching, so I’ll go and enjoy our success and toast all the Olympians of 2012.

I’m raising a glass to them all.

And I’m leaving you with one final question.

Why are all the announcements in French first then English?



  1. The Olympics have been fantastic and have really focused the nation on the positive. I’ve enjoyed cheering them on.

    Apparently the reason why it’s French is because it is the primary language of the IOC. It is part of the contract that the host city must sign in order to host the games.

  2. Thank you The Boy And Me – wondered about the French announcements first!

    Back to the post – loved it and agree about how inspiring it was – never had tv on so much!

  3. Very inspiring! We loved the Olympics in our house, even more than the children’s channels (yay for me!!)

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