The curtain has dropped on the Rio Olympics and the sound of national anthems is already fading to a distant memory. The ripple effect of what we witnessed during the past two weeks has only just begun. It’s time for the positive effect of the Olympics to reach as far as possible. The longer we can keep young people who have been engrossed in the Olympic action engaged in sport, the better.
‘Legacy’ is a word that features prominently in the lexicon of politicians, journalists and sports administrators. There’s a lot of debate around what exactly it is and how it should be measured. For everactiv legacy is about inspiration, motivation and role models. The images associated with the games that struck a chord with everactiv weren’t taken in Brazil, they were snapped years ago: Laura Trott meeting her hero, Bradley Wiggins, after his gold medal winning success at the 2004 Olympics. Laura now has four Olympic gold medals of her own. And the photo of young Joseph Scholing meeting his swimming hero Michael Phelps 8 years ago and beating him in the Olympic 100m fly final in Rio.
It’s not to say that the new golden girl of British track cycling and the kid that beat Phelps developed super powers through osmosis after meeting their heroes all those years ago. There will have been hundreds, if not thousands, of kids who have posed for photos with Olympians in the past who are not now household names. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is the power of sport to inspire, engage, motivate and unleash potential. If watching athletes on TV or meeting them at a local event gives young people the inspiration and motivation to push themselves and realise their true potential in any walk of life, then the Olympic ‘legacy’ is alive and kicking.
The feats of endurance, strength and determination that unfold on our TV screens can seem outlandish, superhuman and impossible. However, when kids see a medalist being interviewed and realise that person grew up just around the corner, that they have the same accent, that they encountered the same family issues growing up, or can identify with that athlete in any way, it can give flight to dreams, ambitions and goals that may once have seemed unobtainable.
If you are not a budding athlete the messages of hard work, determination, desire and a willingness to learn and excel are still relevant. These are the values that we should be looking to instill in all young people. They are values that will serve them well whatever their dreams and aspirations. Sport and physical activity are an enjoyable way to help get young people engaged with learning these valuable life skills.
Sometimes there are more obstacles than there should be, preventing young people from being active. At everactiv we are a small company, but we have big dreams to help to break down some of these barriers. Being active should be enjoyable, not a chore. We’ve involved young people in our design process to produce a fun, funky range of sportswear that looks great and that young people will love wearing.
We’re committed to pricing our products at a point that makes them affordable for as many people as possible. We have plans to collect once-loved everactiv items and redistribute them to those who may not have access to sportswear. Junior sports clubs will also benefit from our plans to donate a share of our profits to them. We want people to buy and enjoy wearing our range of fun, funky sportswear but, at the heart of everactiv is our goal is to help as many young people as possible to be active.
We look forward to the forthcoming action from the Paralympics and the next Olympics in South Korea and in Tokyo -which will be here before we know it. In the meantime, it’s up to all of us to do what we can to keep the flame of sporting inspiration and enjoyment burning bright.