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The 10 Commandments of London 2012

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The history books may record the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics as Britain's finest hour since the Second World War. Is that over-blown hype? Maybe. But the semi-biblical gushing from the commentariat is deservedly earned. Stratford is the new Jerusalem.

What did it take for us to become winners? Here are The 10 Commandments from London 2012 to which both Government and citizen alike should aspire:

Thou shalt invest
London 2012 could not have happened without investment - both from the Government and private sector. If you think of the Olympics as a giant £9billion Youth Ambition Scheme, it is cheap at the price. But investment must be allied to early intervention. Our elite athletes were supported for over a decade in advance, long before they were elite. It was our investment, as much as their talent, that made them world-beaters.

Thou shalt transform
East London has moved Cinderella-like into a new reality. Toxic waste has become the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park. A generation of British kids in a poor area of the country now have world-class sporting facilities. Britain has become another country. We often see individuals transform themselves, but countries rarely do so inside six weeks.

Thou shalt volunteer
The games would not have been the exuberant festival they were without the 70,000 Gamesmakers. They represented co-operation and teamwork (not always associated with Londoners). Volunteering time and getting involved is the way a country generates social capital. It's hard to measure the quality of relationships and friendliness, but it's what makes us happy. According to the American sociologist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, it also leads to greater resilience during times of economic hardship. Let's see if London can be not only the world centre of financial capital, but the world centre of social capital.

Thou shalt focus
The Olympics celebrate a skill that has become rare in the 21st Century. No one can make it into the Olympics - let alone become a medallist - if they don't focus. This should be a lesson to us all, not just teenagers addicted to video games or hooked on Facebook and Twitter.

Thou shalt not moan
Moaning is the malevolent twin sister of cynicism. They both drain public life of the can-do attitude that was so prevalent during these games. Yes, I wish I had a penny for everyone who told me, as an enthusiastic proponent of the London games since 2004, that it was a disastrous waste of money... But more than that, I just hope that from now on they shut up.

Thou shalt diversify
Diversity was the hallmark of London 2012. It's why we won the Games in the first place. We need to replicate this trick again and again: to use Britain's diversity as our strength - and to train a diverse workforce to generate growth. And let's celebrate the diversity of training expertise (coaches brought in from around the world) that led to British success.

Thou shalt believe (in sport)
To misquote Ecclesiastes, "man shall not live by sport alone." But sport has an extraordinary ability to engender a feeling of belonging. Along with good nutrition, it is the only thing that stands between us and a country of obese apathetic rioters. For God's sake let's invest in sport. The Government must reverse it's short-sighted cuts to school sports funding.

Thou shalt achieve (a PB)
The achievements during this summer of sport were mesmerising, but none more so than during the Paralympics. Having watched Oscar Pistorius and so many others, my seven-year-old son now aspires to be disabled. Disabled athletes proved, even more so than their colleagues in the Olympics, that it's all about your personal best.

Thou shalt leave a legacy
The greatest achievement for London 2012 will not be gold medals, it will be legacy. C4 research shows that 70% of people say their views of disability have been changed positively by the Paralympics. A true legacy will maintain the transformation of social attitudes, and improve life for the 20% of British people who are disabled. And we should all ask: when our flame goes out, what will we leave behind?

Thou shalt watch women's football
You might question the wisdom of the Tenth Commandment, but that will be - like me - because your horizons were limited and, to your great surprise, your preconceptions were sexist. That's what was so extraordinary about 2012; it turned so many ideas on their head, while at the same time creating a feeling of belonging and aspiration. If you're a football fan you'll probably respect the views of Bobby Charlton, hero of the '66 world cup (which until 2012, was about the last time Britain won anything significant). Following the British women's game against Brazil in London 2012 he said "I have to remind myself that I am not watching the men. I was sceptical of women's football - that was a mistake. Women's football used to be ridiculed, but not anymore."

I used to ridicule it. My five-year-old daughter shows innate talent for football. When she told me she wanted to be a footballer I tried to dissuade her (I'd do the same to my son, but that's because he has no talent here): "How about tennis?" I suggested, visualising the family box during the Wimbledon singles final. I then fell back on the truth: no one watches women's football, no one will ever see you play. The Truth has now changed.

These Olympics may not be the way, the truth, the light... But they provided a well-needed holiday from cynicism. More than that, they did something extraordinary: they actually changed how we think, and who we are, and that's a legacy worth praising.

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