After concerns that the London Olympics would fail to deliver the legacy promised by its ‘inspire-a-generation’ tag-line, Lord Coe has hailed a survey that confirms the young people of Great Britain have been inspired by the Games to pursue careers as unpaid volunteers and menial assistants.
‘This is exactly what we hoped for when we brought the Games to London,’ said Lord Coe. ‘By showcasing to the nation home-grown talent like Jessica Ennis, Sir Chris Hoy and Mo Farah, we hoped that a new generation would dare to dream of one day carrying in the athletes’ tracksuits after a race, measuring how far the discus was thrown or working for free at sporting venues directing tourists towards the toilets.’
South London teenager Conor Turner admitted that he’d been inspired by the Games. ‘I’ve watched the Olympics on the telly and I now know what I want to do with my life,’ he said. ‘I want to be the man who rides the little electric scooter at the start of the keirin cycling race.’
His sister, 12-year-old Jade, agreed. ‘To think that I might have the chance to one day rake the long-jump sandpit, pull the arrows out of the target or maybe even drive the remote control car that carries javelins back to the competitors is awe-inspiring. I’m going to work hard and do everything I can to be in with a chance of doing that in four years time.’
However, former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell is worried schools are not doing enough to safeguard the Games’ legacy. ‘I know of some schools that don’t even have a rake, let alone a sand-pit,’ she said. ‘How can children become the best they can be without adequate facilities? If we don’t do something about it, sadly Britain is going to have far fewer champion helpers and administrators in Rio in four years time than we’ve had in London.’