On the eve of the 2012/13 premier league campaign I fear that the legacy of the historic 2012 Olympic Games and the heroic Olympians that competed to earn team GB a record 29 gold medals will be forgotten about at the drop of a hat because of our nation’s infatuation with rogue footballers.
Our gold medallist Olympians will be remembered by the queen in her new years honours list but will that be enough to continue to inspire our kids to take part in less popular sports and succeed in them at the highest level. I severely hope so because it is important that GB buck the trend of recent Olympic hosts and capitalise on the games not just financially but by progressing with our athletes and developing young talent so that in four years in Rio we can again bask in our nations glory.
Our Olympians have been rewarded with a gold post box and stamp of them winning gold which was a great idea but even so I fear that when the ball is kicked come tomorrow at 15:00pm all will be forgotten less then a week after London’s fabulous closing ceremony. Even with the huge divide between the lifestyles of footballers and ourselves we still give them the attention they so crave whether it good or bad. They are always in the lime light as much for doing wrong than moments of genius on the football pitch. The daily schedule of a footballer is ridiculously laid back. They may get out of bed about nine, lazily get dressed, role up at training for half 10, do some light stretches listen to the coach, have a kick around eat some dinner, have another kick around listen to the coach again and be back home in time to do the school run if it wasn’t for the nanny already waiting at the school gates. Yet still we give them all the publicity in the world and they get the highest wages for little in return. We can’t even ask them to score a penalty from 18 yards but still we’re not surprised to find the ex England captain in court for alleged racial abuse towards another player, or Steven Gerrard for getting into a drunken bar brawl or even Wayne Rooney for sleeping with his flavour of the month all of which have being back page headlines in the last decade.
In stark contrast our Olympians don’t earn a fraction of a footballer, they don’t even get wages, they get lottery funding that covers their expenses when training or treating injuries. They wake up at the break of dawn so that they cram as much training into their days as humanly possible, they eat the strictest diets to keep in shape and never go out on the town for a night of drunken mayhem. Our Olympians became hardworking responsible adults in order to triumph this summer like the millions of others that define Britains communities, that work long hours in order to pay the bills, feed the children and occasionally go on holiday. Al together we have certainly made 2012 a year to be proud of and pardon the cliché have put ‘great’ back in Great Britain. Who knows with the work ethic of team GB’s gold medalists what our footballers would be capable of? Maybe, just maybe they could beat the rest of the world as our Olympians have done this year. When was the last time they did that… Oh yes of course, back in 1966.
So rather than see the usual arrogant over rated footballers on commercials can we keep the summer vibe by persistently seeing the Olympians who our children will remember and fingers crossed with a little probe in the right direction by parents, may become the future heroes in Rio 2016 and beyond.