THE 30TH Olympic Games in London will soon drop its curtains. Winners are cherishing their medals while losers are either saying farewell to the Olympics for good or gnashing their teeth, eager to start a comeback at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Another Filipino campaign bites the dust and in the days to come, there will be more than enough space allotted to analyzing and even over analyzing what is wrong with Philippine sports.
But more than our usual Olympic debacle, what could be the impact of the London Games? It seems fitting to rewind to 2005 when two-time Olympic gold medal winner Sebastian Coe led a determined British team to win the bid to host the 2012 Games. It is engaging to see how exactly the Brits won and what the lasting legacy of their Games will be as it now ends.
My advertising copywriter son Martin shared the book “Perfect Pitch” by Jon Steel during the unexpected holiday forced by the monsoon rains last week. Knowing that one of my passions aside from sports is teaching effective presentation skills, he asked me to read how London presented its bid for the Games. It was a stirring account of how great presentations should be made —with passion, precision and preparation.
The pitch was done with typical Brit savvy and restrained pizzazz. It touched on all the bases that the International Olympic Committee members wanted covered: venues, accommodations, security, transportation and other Olympic concerns. There was also the usual tourism angle which the other finalists—Madrid, Paris, New York and Moscow—pitched hard as well.
But the clincher was Coe’s final spiel that the London Games would be the country’s expression of gratitude in order to “inspire young people to choose sport. Whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever they believe in.” As a child, Coe had been inspired to become an athlete by watching Olympic heroes. He and his bid team wanted the London Olympiad to inspire the next generation to inculcate sport into their lives.
Coe’s closing speech emphasized that “today’s children live in a world of conflicting messages and competing distractions. Their landscape is cluttered.” It was a clear take on a technology-driven world where everything is instantaneous. He wanted the 2012 Games to be a showcase of heroes who would trigger greater participation in sports rather than letting children be simply attached to electronic toys and wizardry. The voting audience made up of many former Olympians could only agree and chose London over Paris, its closest rival.
Our children’s heroes out of the Games could be multi-gold medal winner Michael Phelps, the US women’s football or basketball team of NBA stars or even the brash sprinter Usain Bolt whose oral declarations interestingly match his performances.
Even Philippine runner Rene Herrera, a steeplechaser who was forced to enter the 5,000 meters and was last in his heat, could be a hero for finishing the race and not giving up.
We may never really be able to count how many were inspired by the London Games, so majestically captured by the host broadcaster. But that is where this technologically-driven world has helped. If one Filipino child and other children worldwide decided during the Games that he or she would like to be an Olympian one day, then the London edition of this quadrennial human celebration of sport will have richly succeeded long after the Olympic flame is extinguished.
Tags: London 2012 Olympics
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