By Nicole Hendry
BIRMINGHAM, England – ‘Inspire a generation’ has been coined as the official slogan for the London 2012 Olympics, and that it will.
Undoubtedly, thousands of children will be drawn to sport that had previously shunned it, myself one of them.
A previous sport phobic, only donning the trainers for the occasional sponsored run and avoiding P.E. lessons at all costs, I am now inclined to seek out what sports programs my university can offer me in September. I only wish I were young enough to take up a sport I might be able to take to such Olympic levels.
Aside from mere involvement, the extraordinary values of the athletes should, too, be taken as inspiration.
Not only does the completion of such punishing fitness and training schedules mean they are they incredibly dedicated and focused – traits we might all hope to emulate in our pursuits – they have about them a certain spirit.
Following placing fourth in the Men’s 10m Synchronised Diving event, British hopeful Tom Daley received abusive messages on the social networking platform Twitter. His steadfast reaction to this, along with his refusal to blame his teammate Pete Waterman whose entry to the pool on their fourth dive may have cost them the bronze, demonstrated an admirable state of mind.
Not only has it displayed an excellent level of sportsmanship, but also a resilience and refusal to be kept down. Both Daley and Waterman are set to dive again in the single dives later on in the competition.
Yet it is not purely in sporting terms that youth should be inspired.
In no other context can representatives from 204 different countries stand united. They may be drawn together under a common purpose, to perform and to win. The fact is, they are together and it should be noted by the next generation that it is possible.
Not just in athletics, but in the other areas, countries, no matter their differences, can and should cooperate.
The opening ceremony saw the United States and Great Britain stand by old and new foes: Russia, Germany, Iraq, Argentina and Afghanistan, to name but a few.
Yet despite historical differences and modern quarrels, Olympic athletes shall, over the 16 days of the Games, compete, win and lose. They’ll do it beside one another in a city once rocked by international terrorist attacks and home to the British parliament, whose decisions have lead to many a conflict.
If that is possible, then why not extend it further?
‘Inspire a generation’ is a very fitting slogan. Let’s hope the Games continue on the same positive footing and let’s hope their promised legacy is fulfilled.