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Katherine Baldwin Headshot

Anything Is Possible: the Message from the London Olympic Games

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As I watched the fireworks explode above the Olympic Stadium from my bedroom window at the close of London's magnificent Games, I wiped yet another tear from my eye.

I'm not sure who's cried more over the last few weeks - the athletes, their families or the fans. Maybe not every spectator has failed quite as badly as I have to keep their emotions at bay but I know I'm not alone in feeling moved by what I've witnessed in our stadiums, lakes and parks and on our streets and TV screens.

And while I have marvelled at the Olympians' sporting prowess, at their incredible commitment, dedication and sacrifice, it's the thought of their emotional battles that gets to me the most.

So many of the Olympians had been through so much - from losing a mother or father at a young age, to injury, frustration, sacrifice, self-doubt and disappointment. Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee. So many had battled grief, heartache, physical and emotional pain and crises of confidence before they even got to the Games.

I was particularly moved by Gemma Gibbons, the British judo silver medallist who lost her mother to leukaemia at the age of 17 and who looked upward and mouthed "I love you Mum" after beating her final opponent.

There was Tom Daley, the 18-year-old diver, who dedicated his bronze medal to his Dad who died of cancer last year.

And as a reminder to myself that my own minor aches, pains and injuries don't need to deter me from doing the sports I love, Nick Skelton won a showjumping gold at the age of 54, having had a hip replacement, two knee operations and a lot of broken bones.

Then there were our rowers, swimmers, cyclists, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, double track gold medallist Mo Farah and the well-deserved tennis gold won by a much more relaxed and confident Andy Murray, who has had more than his fair share of disappointment and who was exposed to tragedy at a very young age. Murray was an eight-year-old child at Dunblane primary school during the 1996 shooting that left 16 children and a teacher dead.

It's impossible not to feel moved and inspired, particularly when it's all happening on our doorstep. I can see the floodlit tips of the stadium from my back window and am twenty minutes away on the train. But where do we go from here?

Well, after watching the Brownlee brothers in action in Hyde Park, I'm inspired to try a fun team triathlon with a few friends, to commit to daily exercises to strengthen my body and improve my flexibility and to make sure I'm taking part in team sports that lift my soul. Taking up more sport could be the perfect cure for Olympic withdrawal syndrome.

More importantly, though, the message I take away from these Games goes far beyond sport and exercise: it is that anything is possible and that it's down to each one of us to create the life we want to lead.

Watching the athletes of London 2012 has reminded me that life may throw a curveball but I get to choose how to respond. It's shown me that I can channel any grief, anger, frustration or disappointment into commitment and dedication to a better life for myself and others. And it's reminded me that I don't have to allow my past to stand in the way of a glorious, golden present and future and that dreams are always worth fighting for.

In a short BBC sports psychology film I watched during the Games, the athletes agreed that it's all about the mental state, it's about believing you can succeed. As long as you believe that and do your best, the outcome doesn't really matter. It's a message that applies to sport, to work, to relationships and to all of our dreams. That is the Olympic spirit.

It's the same spirit embodied by Seb Coe's words at the closing ceremony: "We can see what tenacity, ambition and imagination can do. We know more now as individuals and as a nation what we are capable of".