Has everybody recovered now from the excitement of August? What an amazing Olympic Games we have all just seen! It takes a while to sink in that the current Team GB has been the most successful for over 100 years – that’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Sportsister was lucky enough to get invited to the homecoming press conference organised by the BOA (British Olympics Association) which saw all the medal winners arrive back into Heathrow on a gold nosed BA plane to a heroes welcome.
At a nearby hotel our new sporting heroes had the first glimpse of the wave of support that the nation had shown through the previous two weeks. As they walked down a red carpet lined with family, friends, fans and the media some looked truly shell shocked at what was happening.
And the feeling from everyone from the medal winners to the back room staff, from the head of the BOA to the usually tough to please media, was that something truly special had happened. I can’t think of a better way for London to kick off it’s Olympiad than with the results that Team GB got in Beijing.
Simon Clegg, Team GB Chef de Mission said: “It has been such a huge privilege to lead such a close knit, motivated and successful team. And I hope that many of the athletes will be with us at the greatest moment in British sport when we host the Olympic Games in London in 2012. For those that won’t be, I hope that they will continue to be role models to society and an inspiration for the next generation of Olympic athletes.”
Throughout the Games I was asked by many people why I thought we were now performing well, what was the secret behind our success? And unsurprisingly Clegg was also asked this,
“Let’s make sure that credit is given where credit is due, and that’s to the government and the fantastic additional commitment of the further £300 million to support our sport system in the UK after we came back from Singapore when London had won the bid to host the games in 2012.
“That money is absolutely fundamental to the governing bodies, not only in terms of providing athlete’s awards, and ensuring athletes can be full time, but more importantly even than that it means that the governing bodies can secure and retain the world’s best coaches. I think the level of commitment that we have at the moment is appropriate to achieve the targets we have set for 2012.”
But despite his cautious air, as understandably he doesn’t want to get swept away in the moment, the whole experience was summed up perfectly by Lord Moniyhan, chairman of the British Olympic Association,
“We have never sent from these shores such a talented, such a well resourced, such a well prepared team of athletes. I have never seen such outstanding team spirit that has gone throughout the whole of Team GB and the 313 athletes that were over there. I think this is the most fantastic platform for building London 2012. Congratulations to all the medalists, and all the athletes and the support staff, as they truly deserve our credits.”
Roll on 2012!
Have a great month,
Louise Hudson & Danielle Sellwood