Olympic Blog - Inspiration
Posted: Mon, 30 Jul 2012 08:04
The secrecy surrounding the lighting of the Olympic flame at the Opening Ceremony caused a great deal of media attention. So how wonderful it was to see 7 young potential future Olympians light it on behalf of the past stars. "Inspire a Generation" has been the selling point for these Olympics - right from the start when the bid was won in Singapore with a compelling story of inspiring children from across the globe to participate in sport.
So we are sold. Indeed I have resold the line a million times - the inspirational effects of having a home Olympics. Yet the evidence and the jury are still most certainly 'out' on this issue. I have attached the UKsport analysis of the Inspirational Impact of Major Sporting Events.. but as the report itself accepts it does not answer the key question - will seeing a Bolt win the 100m actually create a generation of children who join an athletics club. They may well be inspired by him and his 100m - but are they inspired enough to get up and join in?
That is the debate we hope to start here at the Think Tank. It is tough and we need to be honest with ourselves. If sport over claims we will be found out. We need a genuine objective view about the substance for the claim we all make all too often.
There are a number of studies which show there is an initial inspiration - I personally feel that whilst watching. But we need far more work on actual increases on participation.
SPEAR at Canterbury University have looked at this issue and studied over 50 studies from around the world as well as analysing Sport England figures.
Even here it seems as though the evidence for the Demonstration effect may be limited to those already engaged in sport and indeed the so-called competence gap may be even putting people off!
So we need a more honest debate for future politicians and bidders to make an honest assessment for their claims.