2012 was a great year for British sport and the Olympics and Paralympics were perhaps the most inspirational moments of all, as our sports men and women stepped up to plate in the most impressive fashion. With a total of 65 Olympic medals and 120 Paralympic medals, Team GB achieved an impressive third in both medals tables and there were enormous individual achievements all round, from Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny’s world record breaking individual sprints, to Mo Farah’s double gold on the track and Ellie Simmonds’ incredible achievements in the pool.
With Team GB having celebrated their most successful Olympics for a century, considerable debate has begun about how to make the most of their achievements and encourage the next generation of sporting heroes to get active. Politicians, sports men and women and sporting experts all agree that some of the key elements to encouraging children into sport include providing the opportunity, role models, expertise, fostering competitive spirit and making it fun.
Activate Sport’s contribution to the discussion is that all young people, no matter what their age or background, should have access to sports. The Gold Medal Academy is a summer camp that offers children the chance to try out a whole range of individual and team sports, inspired by national achievements at the Olympics. The Academy is a great opportunity for children to experience technical coaching that has been designed by sports insiders with real expertise, in a fun learning environment that will inspire and motivate, without being intimidating. The combination of progressive coaching sessions and the chance to actually play a game is a great way to allow kids to learn something new and then have the confidence to take part and feel the thrill of competing – and maybe even winning! Fostering a healthy degree of competitive spirit is a great way to sustain interest in something like sports and the Gold Medal Academy gets this off on an ideal footing.
Role models are also key to encouraging kids into activities like sports and there are plenty of these around after the Olympics! The Gold Medal Academy incorporates a visit from a sporting role model, such as Denise Lewis, GB Gold Medalist. Kids can learn what it feels like to compete at the highest level, as well as understanding how top sports men and women got to where they are now. There are also coaching sessions provided by the role models to encourage kids to get involved – and to keep up the sport after the end of the camp.
The GMA programme has been carefully devised with retired heptathlete Denise Lewis to provide all the essential elements required to encourage kids into sport, from expertise to fun and healthy competition. With programmes like this we hope to inspire a whole new generation of athletes to match – or even beat – the achievements of Team GB at London 2012.