Every Games, whether it’s Commonwealth or Olympic, tries to create a Legacy. The Olympic Games are a chance, not only to celebrate and coronate the world’s best athletes, but to inspire and motivate the next generations of Olympians to be the next Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah or Laura Trott
Every evening, I sit down with my boys and watch at least an hour or two of the competition on TV. I watch as they are transfixed by the gymnasts and cyclists. I watch as trampolines and bikes are dragged out of the closet and then I smile as the boys ask me if we can all go to the park.
I duly and happily oblige and going out with these guys brings more joy than any of my awesome sporting sessions with Olympians.
I have always tried to encourage the boys to follow my example and become Try-Athletes and to find activities that they will enjoy and keep doing. They haven’t yet found the sports that they want to pursue and at 10 and 12 years old, they possibly need to find one now, if they are to find their future selves standing proud on podiums.
I can just see them as future Brownlees, standing side by side in sport as well as in life.
However, I am not a pushy parent (honest) and my only wish is that they remain active and enjoy as many sports and activities as they can. I do not want them to follow my example and become obese and unhealthy. With almost a third of children being overweight, we have to do our best, as parents, to provide our children with the opportunity to lead lead active, healthy and happy lives.
So, I am genuinely excited about next weekend, when sports clubs across the country open up their doors and invite all of us, young and old, to partake in parkruns, hockey, tennis, rowing and almost every sport on the Rio roster.
I AM TEAM GB
It is all part of the “I AM TEAM GB” campaign which will see ITV switch off its seven channels for one hour at 9.30 am on Saturday 27th August, which will hopefully encourage you to switch off your own television sets and go out and do something less boring instead (showing my age).
You can go to your local parkrun (9.00am in England and 9.30 am in Scotland) for a leisurely and friendly 5km run (or walk); you can dive into one of the your local swimming pools and you can try many sports from barefoot bowls to golf, tennis, hockey and judo.
All for free and all at a sporting complex or park near you.
Simply sign up and enter your post code to find out what is happening in your area and then, just join in.
Join In are another partner of I AM TEAM GB and their goal is simple. To encourage more people to get involved with local sport. And that doesn’t need to mean joining a football league like the fabulous Man V Fat or digging out your running shoes for running groups like Great Run Local, it can mean simply giving your time and support to enable others to be active and to maybe help nurture future sporting champions.
I mentioned Man V Fat and Great Run Local for a reason (other than to give both a wee push). Both invite athletes (if you’re active, you’re an athlete) of all sizes, shapes, ages and abilities. Both were brought to Scotland by me, but more importantly both rely on volunteers and the support of local communities to deliver weekly events that genuinely change lives
For everyone involved, participants and volunteers.
Volunteering may seem like a sacrifice of your time, but take my word for it, there are few things as pleasing as hearing that someone is doing something positive in their life because of you and there are few better ways to make wonderful friends than volunteering. You meet people who enjoy helping others, who enjoy being around other people and people who seem to smile all of the time.
So, why don’t you Join In with the I AM TEAM GB celebrations on Saturday 27th August and see what sport can do for you?