Olympic legacy – really?
Originally posted by Peter Inson at 00:00, August 11 2012
After the Atlanta games in 1996, John Major appointed sporting ambassadors to get the country’s children more involved in sport and now, once again , there is concern about the legacy of the 2012 games.
A Times leader (October 12th 1996) spoke of the true heroes being elsewhere. “Teachers have to be at school every day, not just on a flying visit. Until more are prepared to stay aftere school and to turn out at weekends to coach, to referee and to show interest in duffers as well as stars, sport will continue to be a losing activity. Until teachers rediscover the ideals of competitive sport as both fun and discipline for life’s great game, sporting ambassadors will have nowhere to leave their credentials.”
At an early stage in their careers both Ron Pickering – Lyn Davis’ coach (1964 record broken during these games) – and Wilf Paish, Tessa Sanderson’s coach, taught at Wanstead County High School where I was a pupil. Both, in their different ways were inspiring and, like many of their colleagues, gave up hours after school and days during school holidays to coach and inspire us.
Sadly, it is only in independent schools where such devotion to this cause is likely to be found. In the mid-nineties, as a deputy head of a state school, I was given the job of reminding colleagues that meetings after school had become the order of the day. One of them put me, and our political masters in our place. “Which of us,” he asked, “is going to tell the lads that I can’t take rugby practice becasue there’s a meeting?”
With further pressures on schools and teachers how much less likely is a legacy this time round.