The RSA uses cookies on this website. By using this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more read our cookie policy and privacy policy. More Info

2012 - the untold story

Blog

As I write Archbishop Desmond Tutu is speaking in the Great Room at an event organised with the Olympic Organising Committee. I have noticed a correlation between how much I want to hear a speaker and how likely it is that Barbara will have double booked me with another event. I was able to welcome the Archbishop but not to stay and I fear that however fascinating is the NCVO working dinner to discuss the role of third sector membership organisations, I will probably be left feeling I have missed out. I suppose there’s always the podcast and video.

My role was so minimal I didn’t even feel able to use to make my own brief comment on the Olympics. If I had it would have been this…..

" It may be a post hoc rationalisation but it seems to me that the Olympics we deem to have succeeded are ones we associate with a strong story about the host city and country. Think Barcelona and Spain’s emergence as a modern democracy. Think Sydney and Australia’s projection as a young and dynamic country. Think China and the demonstration of its status as a new superpower. But what was Atlanta’s story. And what was Athens’? 

In 2005 we won the bid on such a story – of London as a diverse city and our Olympic vision of inclusion and participation. But what has happened to that story since? As far as I know the latest statistics show that sporting participation in London has failed to increase since 2005. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I see precious few fruits of the Mayor’s much vaunted sporting strategy.

If we are to have a story to tell about Britain and London in 2012 we better start on it now. Because if we don’t have our own story, and if don’t make it real through a successful strategy to make the Olympics truly inclusive and a catalyst for participation then we will leave it to others to write that story for us. And what they say may be less than flattering."

Come to think of it, I guess it was best I didn’t get the chance to speak. There’s nothing worse than a party pooper.

Be the first to write a comment

0 Comments

Please login to post a comment or reply

Don't have an account? Click here to register.

Related articles