All the media coverage in the last few days of the one year countdown to London 2012 has been tremendously exciting and inspiring for millions of us, whether we're sports enthusiasts or not.
I am concerned about what lies ahead for those competing in London 2012 - the reality is, there's a growing body of evidence which suggests that sport injuries can have long term implications, causing conditions such as osteoarthritis, with little knowledge about how to prevent and manage this future risk.
A recent study found that young people who regularly participate in high-intensity sports may suffer abnormal femur (thighbone) development. The discovery may help to explain why athletes tend to have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, which causes pain and disability to 8.5 million people in the UK, than people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
While we shouldn't underestimate the health benefits of being active, as we work hard over the next 12 months to encourage people to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, we need to make sure that they're doing everything they can to prevent future problems.
That's why we're delighted to be launching a pioneering national research centre to investigate the development of arthritis from sports and exercise injuries. It's a £3million initiative called the National Centre for Arthritis from Sports and Exercise, which will co-ordinate the work of leading sports and exercise medicine experts.
It's my aim that the Centre will be one of the key legacies of the 2012 London Olympic Games, providing an improved infrastructure for the prevention and management of sports injuries and related problems and making a real difference to the 8.5 million people in the UK [i] who have osteoarthritis.
About Arthritis Research UK:
Arthritis Research UK is the leading authority on arthritis in the UK, conducting scientific and medical research into all types of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. It is the UK's fourth largest medical research charity and the only charity solely committed to funding high quality research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. For more information please visit: www.arthritisresearchuk.org