Twelve months ago the London 2012 flame was lit. This weekend we've seen a return to the Olympic Stadium to celebrate this special moment in time with the Anniversary Games. A celebration of the best ever Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the same week we've also seen a new report saying the British public believe the £9billion cost attached to both the Olympic and Paralympic games 'was worth it'!
Eighteen months ago, along with my brother (he was 15, I was 17) I was told of my selection to represent Great Britain in the Paralympic sport of Goalball. This weekend represents a very special time for our family - this time last year our Games began. The lighting of the flame kicked off our incredible summer of Olympic and Paralympic sport, creating a myriad of memories not just for all the athletes, but also for millions of people across Great Britain and the world.
As a sportsman who's had the privilege to represent our group of nations in this ultimate sporting event, I ask myself if the type of financial measurement reported on this week is a true representation of what London 2012 brought to Great Britain.
Goalball was originally conceived to support soldiers blinded in the Second World War. In the last twelve months my little, unknown sport has seen exponential growth in the number of participants. As a result of London the number of clubs across the country has more than doubled. Along with many other athletes across all sports, I've lost count of the number of school visits and other talks I've made to share my experience, and inspire people both young and old to try out, and find a love in sport. I've also had the privilege to work with "Help for Heroes" to re-introduce Goalball as a sport to aid new casualties of conflicts in their re-habilitation after losing their sight or becoming as me, visually impaired. I've met members to our newly created local Goalball Club, who have found a sport that has not only grown their confidence, but also seen them independently step out of home for the first time in eighteen months since losing their sight. Attitudes to me, and many other disabled people were positively changed, and changed for good. These are things you just can't put a cost on.
Didn't we know when we made our bid that it would always cost much more than the original £2.3bn estimate? Wasn't the aspiration pre and post winning the Games to create a legacy of sport? The Olympic and Paralympic Games were expensive; but equally they were not just a "cost". Trade was boosted, more people have started new sports, spirits were lifted, dreams were made, and new dreams started. The Great British public made our Games and, as the report says, two thirds believe they were worth it!
The Games, "Our Games". are like an iceberg, it's only when you look a bit deeper do you see the real size of what truly exists. We should celebrate our Anniversary Games. The London 2012 Games were a special moment in our lifetime and, yes, they were worth it!