Wednesday, 19 December 2012


My contract ends at the end of the month and I finished at work yesterday. 2012 has been a memorable year for many of us and I am no exception.

As well as enjoying the Games I have had a great time going to events and winning various Olympic related prizes, including a Wenlock two weeks ago at the Podium legacy conference. I got two of the three winners of SPoTY correct and what an amazing line up that was! Next year's programme may seem pretty flat after this.

I am sad to say goodbye to colleagues, but I am happy with what I achieved and all the people I met. Four years ago I could never have imagined all the things that would happen to me.

A year ago I believed the Games would be great, but I could not have imagined just how successful Team GB would be or how much the public would enjoy it all.

Could Games Makers have thought that they would still be wearing their uniforms and being invited to events four months after the final Closing Ceremony? I bumped into two after the London conference two weeks and how that cheered me to see them! Perhaps we should ask them to dress up and turn up in central London every now and then to remind us how great it all was!

At the Legacy Conference what was clear was how high a bar London has set for those following behind, not least on recruiting and training volunteers. We take it for granted that people volunteer, but that isn't the case in every country. Glasgow 2014 isn't expecting recruiting to be hard!

London 2012 learnt a lot from Sydney. Others are learning from us.

Will there be legacy? Of course there will, and not all of it will be what we expect now. We need to look back in four years time and judge it then.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Special Olympics

Like me, you may have heard the phrase Special Olympics. Do you know what they are? I didn't!

The Special Olympics is the third arm of the Olympic movement. It is for athletes with a severe learning disability and an IQ of less thatn 75.

Unlike the elite and para Olympics there is no government funding to cover the cost of coaching, entering regional competitions, which they must enter in order to be eligible for the national games, or the cost of travel and accommodation at the games. Athletes may also have to include the cost of their carer.

The 2013 National Summer Games will be in Bath. If you want to support them please look online at

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

This project is coming to an end so we are now thinking about evaluation and what we learnt. I am contributing to a Tool Kit which is aimed at passing on what we learnt.

Some of the things I believe to be unique about the project are:
  • Linking sports and arts into a large festival for young people
  • Being linked to a national event
  • Using student volunteers
  • Bringing elite athletes to events to mix with with young people
  • Holding events at universities so school pupils can see the facilities
  • Inspiring thousands of young people to try something new and to volunteer

It is really too early to look at legacy, but I do believe that the volunteering to take part in events will be popular.
Glasgow 2014 is starting to sign up volunteers now. I hope they are overwhelmed!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sportswomen of the Year

The Sunday Times is asking for nominations in 10 categories so I am going to make some for the first time.

I did look back over some of the Games Highlights, but I was pretty clear about the people I wanted to nominate in most of them. I don't know enough to nominate a Coach of the Year, and I don't know individuals within British Cycling, but they certainly deserve a mention.

My Young Paralympian is Hannah Cockroft. I loved her fierce concentration and desire to win and then after she won she would smile and enjoy it all. What a great smile and laugh. She is someone who would be fun on a night out.

Sportswoman of the Year for me is Jessica Ennis. I cannot imagine how she managed to balance the different training for each event in the heptathlon and her ability to concentrate and stay focused despite the media attention and the crowds.

I wasn't sure what was meant by Team of the Year. Is it a discipline like athletics or a team like GB Football? I am nominating the three young women who won the cycling Team Pursuit and in doing so broke their own record each time. Each time that is they went on the track in the heats and then in the final.

The Award for Inspiration really deserves to be shared between many in both the Olympic and Paralympic teams and as I cannot choose one I am nominating Paralympic Team GB. They have inspired me. They have challenged our perceptions and taught us how to deal with people with disabilities.

I do think a nomination category is missing. How about a Mum of the Year? All the sports people acknowledge that they could not succeed without their family's support and we did hear some of their stories too. What they give up to support their child. How they are anxious for them.

The cameras look for Mrs Hoy, Sir Chris's mum, in the crowd. She is such good value as she covers her eyes and misses the win. I know how she feels!

Make your nominations at

PS Two of these won on the night!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Being there

I didn't say that I did go to two Olympic events. I went to a football match and to see the sailing.

The women's football games were in Cardiff. We had great seats, I was looking onto a goal. From the time we crossed the bridge into Wales there were signs telling us 'Olympics use jct 32'. That was really exciting. I had never attended a football match, never visited the Millennium Stadium and never been to an Olympic event so I felt  happy to be at the first event of 2012.

Despite all the stuff about security things were straightforward and clearly they are used to large crowds. There were a lot of women present who were like me and had never been to  see a football game so we didn't know the way to behave. I did think some instructions about the etiquette at a game would have been useful eg you cheer when the teams emerge with their flags; you cheer Team GB when they get within 20 feet of the goal and you groan when they miss.

We also wanted cups of tea at half time. The bar staff were polite, but clearly thought we were strange to be asking. Also if they do want women to go along to matches then they need to think about the food offerings. A bacon sandwich might be ok, but a scone and a cup of tea was what was wanted.

The sun shone down on us while we boiled, I had taken my sun hat and felt smug. At 9.15pm when we got back to the car it was 22C. In Cardiff!

I noticed that the Team GB Women were on tv last week. More coverage of women in sport would be a great legacy and a full stadium for the Wembley Games shows they do have support.

How do you know when a sailing race starts? I thought there would be a cannon firing. Instead there was a lot of moving around so I didn't know when it had actually started. It took the family next to us to confirm that things had got underway. That and the two helicopters overhead. Security was fine and failry low key for the crowd, but there was a large warship in the bay.

The town was en fete with some beautiful yachts dressed with flags and a number of Europeans and Aussies supporting their sailors. Again the sun shone and the bay looked lovely.

I still know nothing about sailing, but sitting in the sunshine watching the yachts and the people around you is a good way to pass an afternoon.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

It can't be all over yet...

Seeing the flame go out at the Closing Ceremony after the Olympic Games was heart wrenching for me. For a few days I felt so sad. But then I realised that the Paralympics were coming along and cheered up, took time off work and sat and watched Channel 4 just as much as I could. Even when the sun shone!

After the Paralympics the flame went out again, but it was made clear it was being passed on and so that was ok. I am not sure how much more excitement and tension I could have coped with! This was my first experience of watching Paralympic sport and how fantastic it was. I truly just saw the sport and not the person's disability.

Highspots for me were British Cycling generally and Sir Chris Hoy in particular getting a further two medals. I did cry when he was presented with the second one. David Rudisha in the 800 metres. He ran so smoothly and what seemed to be effortlessly. He also ran like I have seen in newsreels of Jesse Owens. The crowds cheering fit to burst, particularly when there was a Brit involved and Jonny Peacock's 100 metres. Then afterwards him saying, "Oh that's annoying, I could have done it better." 

I have a new hero, as Sir Chris is retiring, David Weir. 4 gold medals in a week on different distances. I had to go and get those stamps.

I always believed the Games would be well received, but I never expected just how much it caught people's imagination. The Torch Relay started it off and then it even stopped raining for most of the actual events.

As the news stays gloomy and we get into the winter and cold and fed up then I will think about the fun and excitement of it all and watch again on BBC or on the DVD due out at the end of October.

My final thought today was realising we are Team GB too. All of us.
And didn't we behave so well!