Sunday 12 August 2012

What's Your Personal Gold?

London Marathon 2009
The massive success of the Olympics and the fantastic achievements of Team GB means that there is, quite rightly, a huge debate around at the moment about legacy - something I have been working on for some time in my lead role for the Olympics in Cambridgeshire.

At the moment much of that debate focuses on what Government are going to do and what they aren't going to do.  Quite right too, but I would argue that Government have responded:

  • Announcing plans to guarantee competitive sports in primary schools.  This is very positive.  But, alongside this Government have to show how sport will fit into the bigger picture - they have to show where the space to provide this is in the National curriculum.  They also have to recognise that a regime that only evaluates schools based on academic achievement will never deliver the sort of sporting legacy we need.  Ofsted need to focus on how schools are delivering the adults of the future; ones that, yes, have a high level of academic knowledge, but that have a good sense of morals, who contribute to society and who love physical activity.  The current OFSTED regime fails in that - a system that looks at academic data and pretty much has its mind made up before it even walks through a school's door is not the right one.
    The end of the (84 Mile) Dales Way
  • Announced continued funding for elite sport until 2016.  Here they are spot on.  Ed Milliband has taken an opportunist stance and suggested that a ten year programme is needed (he really should consider joining the Lib Dems!!).  He is wrong, sports organisations need to be challenged, they need to be held accountable for their achievements - a ten year deal will encourage complacency, a four year deal will provide the funding that is needed  to move towards Rio in 2016 whilst keep people on their toes.
However, legacy is not just something for Government to think about - it is for all  us both as individuals and parents.  Most of us know we will never be olympic medalists, but we can all aim for our own personal golds. It is something that is very important to me. 

Finishing the Edinburgh Marathon 2012
In October 2005 I sat with my wife watching the Great North Run on television and, despite the fact that I had not run since I left the Army some 20 years before and Angela had never been a runner, we decided to enter.  I lost a huge amount of weight and in the process of 8 months, ran my first half marathon.  I didn't get a great time - but I finished.  Since then I have run five marathons and  more half marathons than I care to mention. Again, none of them have been great times - but every time I have crossed the finishing line I have felt great because I have trained  and strained towards a goal - crossing the line in these events is my personal Gold.  I would say the same about finishing the London to Cambridge bike ride or completing the two long distance walks I have done (Hadrian's Wall next week!!). I have to say that setting these targets has become really important to me and, whenever I look back on a year, those events are always well up there amongst my highlights. 

That to me is how we should think about what the Olympics mean to us peronally. Of course we also have a responsibility to make sure our children are active and are given the ability to show their potential and to learn to enjoy being active - but what better example can we provide than aspiring for and achieving our own personal Golds - whether it is a 3 mile run or a half marathon, walking 5 miles or 85?  I promise, if you do this, you'll feel great about yourself and the feeling of achieving your personal Gold will make it worthwhile.

(Sorry if some of this seems a bit self-indulgent - it seems the best way of getting a message across).

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