Inspire a Generation. With the Olympics and Paralympics, that phrase has been seen on thousands of banners at venues nationwide. Sometimes banner slogans are just hype, but not in 2012.
Team GB athletes have certainly inspired. They have made us roar, cry and beam with pride.
None has been more inspirational than Olivia Breen, who runs with City of Portsmouth Athletics Club. Even among the success stories of 2012, her achievements stand out. And not only does she exemplify the most amazing self-motivation, she shows you can do it with warmth and a smile.
Early signs are that there will be a great sporting legacy from the Games – and not only in terms of the venues and facilities. The success in track and field, in the pool and in the hall can have a great impact on sporting participation.
Even before the Olympic Opening Ceremony, our own local schools had set a fine example with East Hampshire’s ‘My 2012’ Games at the Mountbatten Centre, Alexandra Park.
That event brought together literally thousands of pupils from our local primary and secondary schools, and I’m sure it’s an experience those youngsters will never forget.
But even apart from the success of the sportsmen and women themselves, there has been much else to inspire too.
The actual organisation has been truly outstanding, and enabled by the brilliant volunteers who gave up their time. In fact, so good was the organisation, I think it took many Britons by surprise.
Many of us will remember some doubts about how well things would go. The challenge was hosting the world’s biggest event, to stand in direct comparison to America and China. We took on that challenge and proved we were up to it.
Everyone has taken huge pride in our athletes, but also in the Games Makers, the organisers and our outstanding police and armed forces.