Wokingham Times

Well done to all our Olympic athletes. Thank you to their coaches, families, schools, Colleges and other backers. The nation has enjoyed the spectacle, taken pride in a games well executed, and shown pride in the great success of many competitors from Team GB.

Now there is discussion of the legacy. An important part of East London gains a fine new park, good new housing, and a range of glittering facilities. Let’s hope more jobs, enterprise and success follow in their footsteps. The organisers and government need to help find a new owner and user for the Stadium.

Many want to see more sport in schools and Colleges, to keep the flame of the Games burning. That may be possible. In the short term the massive television coverage will ensure many more young people want to take up competitive sports, and strive harder to raise their own game. We can only expect that to continue if parents and teachers, sports clubs and sports organisers, encourage and help young athletes to make the commitment and put in the time and effort. What seems possible or fun in a summer of Olympic success, may not look the same in a couple of years in mid winter when the young athlete has to choose between more leisure time and putting in those extra training sessions early in the morning or in the evening instead of going out with friends. That’s when the enthusiasm of family members, teachers and coaches matters most.

For most of us sport is a pleasure, a pastime, not a driving ambition. It is good to be sufficiently capable at a team sport to be able to play a satisfactory amateur game. Like all things in life, you get more out of it if you can find time to put more into it. If I practice my cricket a bit I do get luckier at it! We look to schools to make sport sufficiently accessible and enough fun for the many to want to be able to join in. We look to our specialists to identify the serious talent who want to be the champions, and to work with them come rain come wind come snow until they too can challenge with the best in the world.

It has been a pleasure to see a couple of weeks of good news bulletins. A succession of interviews with winning UK competitors – and the occasional ones who nearly won – has been heartening. Their message has been uniform. They have a great sense of achievement. They know they owe a lot to their friends, families and coaches. They always say you only win if you work and work and work again. That’s true of a lot of things in life, where there are no medals. There are other rewards for providing good service, running a successful business, or assisting the public good. It is always a pleasure to know a job has been well done, and to see the good response that produces in others.

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    John can I also recommend that you encourage your schools to engage with 21st Century Legacy (easy to find on the internet)?

    This outstanding charity was set up by David Hemmery at the request of Lord Coe and it has devise programs for school designed to encourage children to aim high and believe in themselves no matter what are of life they wish to succeed in. Schools pay a small amount for materials and a visit from an olympic or paralympic athlete who is properly trained to work with the children.

    Perhaps you have some local businesses which might sponsor this for children?

    This excellent project has received no funding. It has a general title because it is designed to be reinvented in conjunction with Glasgow 2014 and other major sporting and cultural events.

    It has also received little publicity because it doesn’t suit Michael Gove’s back to the 1950s curriculum but I have been to a presentation by its managers and I can vouch for its high quality. It will clearly have a significant positive impact on many of the children who engage with it – helping them to actively find out what outstanding people they have seen in the Olympic games have to teach them.

    Reply: Thanks for the tip. I will look it up.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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