Inspire a generation

Inspire a generation was the strapline of London 2012. And I think it’s worked. Everyone was excited while it was on, everyone was sad now it’s over. And kids are running, jumping, swimming and cycling with that extra bit of enthusiasm. They’ve discovered new sports – handball, volleyball, horsey stuff, archery and shooting.

Our kids are the ‘generation’ of the strapline and in 2020 or 2024, they could be bringing home the medals for Team GB. We need to strike while the iron is hot and get them sampling new sports or trying harder in old ones. They can’t all be Mo Farrah or Jessica Ennis, but they can all get fitter, healthier and stronger, more disciplined and more motivated. Olympic athletes aren’t born. They are the result of hard work and a desire to do well. And that’s something we can all learn from.

My own kids are no exception. On the first two working days of London 2012, I got home to find my daughter, who has a wardrobe full of pretty clothes that she loves wearing, dressed in a plain white Tshirt and plain white shorts. With a scarf tied round her waist. She was fighting with her brothers. But they hadn’t fallen out. It was all in the name of judo.

Then she saw Jessica Ennis. She wants to be Jessica Ennis. And I think maybe she could. She is fairly tall, fairly slim, with incredibly muscular legs. I don’t know where they came from. She runs like the wind. She is only 6, but she beats me in a sprinting race and keeps up with her 8 year old brother, who is big, muscular and fast. Daddy is stunned by her speed.

She set up hurdles in the hall – a chair and a bag – and charged up and down leaping them. Incredibly, without getting hurt.

My younger son, who is built like a swimmer, decided his Olympic event would be breastroke. Probably 100m. One slight problem. He hates swimming lessons and I’ve promised both boys they can give up at the end of this term in September. He can swim pretty well, but he isn’t vying for a place in Team GB 2020 just yet.

I’m a long distance runner, but it’s not easy finding time to train in the school holidays when you are either at work or have sole responsibility for three kids. Another mum in the village, who also runs, realised there was a problem, so set up a free boot camp in the park for mums while their kids played.

My daughter did every single one of those exercises with me – sprinting, squat thrusts, press ups and a lot more – in 26 degree heat. At the end, we did a lap of the park. My younger son joined in. He loved it so much, he did two laps. The 100m breastroke has been forgotten. He’s going to be Mo Farrah. He’s going to do long distance running. The next day, he asked to go the park specfically to run round it again. And his little sister wasn’t far behind.

I hope they keep this enthusiasm going. I hope they remember the thrill of seeing Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis running and getting their medals. I want them to keep running, keep jumping, keep swimming and keep cycling.

Even if they don’t make it to Team GB 2024, they will be fitter and healthier for it.

London 2012, you truly have inspired a generation.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Hello *waves* new follower, found you through 3childrenandIt.

    It’s great to hear of some children that have been inspired by London 2012. I think the games were fantastic. The GB athletes are so much better role models for our children to emulate than some of the Z list celebrities we see all over the media every day. If I had one wish, it’s that the lasting legacy of the games is that it does truly inspire a generation. With childhood obesity in this country on the rise, it would be wonderful if the games helped us turn a corner in getting more children active, out there, and off the sofa.

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  2. Totally agree – we have always watched the Tour de France since 2007 so Bradley Wiggins was no stranger – my son has been riding his bike since he was 6 (now 8) but now he is proper hard core! Cycling weekly, rides his bike everyday, has the history of the tour library book – he wants to be Bradley Wiggins and I can’t think of a better role model – we are also off to herne hill velodrome soon as its not far from us. My daughter enjoyed the javlin today at a free 2 sports session at our local surestart. Its all good. Behind every successful athelete there is a parent that drives them to their choosen sport week in week out – although I could do without the hassle of taking him every week I will do it and if he’s talented great if not it’ll be fun whilst it lasts x

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  3. Hello, Mummy Plum! Welcome 🙂 Thanks very much for following.
    I’m with you, it would be great if it could get kids up off the sofa and out being active. I’m lucky that my kids are pretty active anyway, but the Olympics has inspired them to be more active and think about other sports.
    Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it.

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  4. Good for your son, Natasha! That’s real dedication. Bradley Wiggins is a fantastic role model. Cycling is a new thing for my kids, although they’ve all been able to ride their bikes since they were little.
    You’re right – if the driving helps him be really successful, that’s great, and if it keeps him happy and healthy, that’s just as important. My boys are rugby players, so my driving will start off again in a couple of weeks! x

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  5. Good work, private! Boot camp sounds right up my street, and what a fab thing for one of the mums to set one up. I often find my two older girls beating crap out of each other too. Generally not in the name of sport, but hey, it’s a start.

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  6. That’s great. I grew up in SA where sport was part of everyday life. It meant that even tho’ some of us weren’t good enough to play for our country, we do have a life long love of sport x.

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  7. Thank you, Sergeant, ma’am!
    My kids also beat the crap out of each other for reasons other than sport. The judo was most definitely a step in the right direction!

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  8. Sport doesn’t seem to be quite such a part of everyday life here, does it, Lesley? It is for some people, but not for everyone.
    I love watching my kids doind sport, Mom of A and a – usually it’s rugby for the boys and dancing and swimming for my daughter, but this new interest in other sports is great.
    Thank you both for commenting, I really appreciate it 🙂

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