Two weeks before the Olympics started, it seemed the media were looking for anything that could possibly go wrong for LOCOG (organisers of the London 2012 games). Listening to LBC 97.3 fm there seemed to be an essence of whining, moaning and complaining about the games from Security G4S failures to Games lane fiascos. Disappointed with the negative rhetoric regarding the experience I believed London should have been embracing the opportunity.
As this is the third time we have had the games in London, I doubt we would host it again. Armed with the power of positivity I found myself defending the games at every opportunity, I even called LBC to make a statement after peoples comments started to irritate me. Oozing optimism one of my friends suggested I should have been employed by the LOGOC in PR.
This enthusiastic spirit was even more evident at the youth project as I was trying to convince the young people to get involved in the games. Something had to be done. My initiative and passion combusted into a youth forum called Gold Medal moment. The aim was to convey to young people the Olympic message ‘inspire a generation’. Using the Olympics as a platform for discussion I encouraged the young people to watch as much of the Games as they could. During the sessions we replayed the amazing scenes we had witnessed, disappointing disqualifications, world records, photo finishes and TeamGB fever.
Feeding off ‘Gold Medal Moment’, I focused young people’s attention on their moment in the spotlight. I told them that gold medal moment might not have anything to do with sport, but would be when they achieved something they had worked exceptionally hard for. As they days went by the young people aged between 13 and 17 were getting more and more excited. When team GB started raking in the gold medals it lifted the mood, even those who were not really interested in the games started getting involved. Table tennis is the sport of choice at the youth project, after the men’s single final one young man came up to me and said after watching the games he now has the technique to beat me. I liked this new confidence so I made it more interesting I told a group of them who love playing table tennis if any of them could beat me they would be rewarded with JD Sports vouchers. Vouchers are normally for the young people who volunteer and participate in debates and workshops; needless to say the vouchers remain safe as none of them were able to beat me.
Once the Closing Ceremony signalled the Olympic Games were over it was time to regroup and talk about their Gold medal moments. One young person, Gloria aged 13, explained how Jessica Ennis winning Gold had inspired her. Although having little knowledge of the athlete prior to the games she had become captivated by her story and excited by her achievement. Gloria’s aspirations are not in Sport but Medicine – her dream is to be a paediatrician, so her Gold medal moment would be when is qualified and is able to help her first child patient. Ennis’s hard work ethic and deserving gold medal instilled in her motivation and determination to make her own dream a reality.
Nathan, 12 chose Luke Campbell’s Gold medal for Team GB in Boxing as his inspiring moment. Boxing is an interest of Nathan’s; portrayed in his attendance and involvement in the Youth Club’s newly established boxing sessions. Throughout the sessions it was evident Nathan is naturally gifted and has the talent to achieve greatness in the sport. Being stimulated by Campbell’s outstanding performance in his home town has allowed him to witness firsthand the rewards of dedication and training. His desire to be a great boxer has increased with his aim to also one day be an Olympic Champion.
These are two of the young people that have been inspired to chase their gold medal moment, to conclude I showed them the video of Derek Redmond. He was the 400m athlete in the 1992 Barcelona games, he was in the final and got injured half way through, but stood up to finish the race regardless. They really liked the video because it showed no matter what obstacles they face they should keep going. Greg Baum of the Sydney Morning herald newspaper wrote “Some Olympic sites become wasteland after the games, this one began as wasteland and is now full of possibilities.” I could not have put that better myself so now the topic up for discussion across the nation is of legacy, hopefully we live up to those possibilities.
So regardless of your age, whether you are in secondary school, college, university or in the middle of your career sit back and think about what your Gold medal moment is.
Are you doing enough to achieve it?