Athletes from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have made thousands of appearances in schools and communities to help inspire a generation through sport Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced today.
A review by UK Sport of what GB Olympic and Paralympic Athletes have done since London 2012 has shown more than 4,000 visits have already taken place to help build a strong legacy from London 2012.
UK Sport’s survey revealed:
- Of the 172 London 2012 medallists who reported back it is estimated that 77 per cent have made at least one school or community appearance
- 45 per cent of these London 2012 medallists have already made five or more
- 10 sports have averaged five appearances or more per athlete.
On August 12th 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron announced continued government funding for elite sport beyond the lifetime of the current parliament and, in the spirit of volunteering from London 2012, asked all funded athletes to give up to five days a year to inspire children and young people to get involved in sport.
This decision allowed UK Sport to invest a record £355 million of National Lottery and Government funds for 44 sports to prepare for Rio 2016 and build on the incredible success of London 2012.
While the requirement of up to five appearances did not come in to effect until April 2013 to coincide with the start of the Rio funding cycle (2013-2017), UK Sport has conducted an initial survey to give a snap shot of what sports have already achieved since London 2012.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller met with Olympic canoeing gold medallist Etienne Stott today at Loughborough University’s high performance sports centre to hear about his experiences going into schools and community sport clubs.
Miller said: “Seeing our elite athletes committing their time to community sport in return for the public funds they receive is a really important element of our sporting legacy and makes a real difference to budding sportsmen and women.
“We said that we would inspire a generation from London 2012 and these visits happening up and down the country help do exactly that. Our athletes are excellent role models and are making a great contribution to the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.”
London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, Etienne Stott, who has made regular appearances for schools and community sport, said: "It is really important for me to put what I can back into the sport.
“I love my sport, it has given me so much and I would like many others to have the chance to go on a journey like the one I've had.
“I remember when I was a kid starting out, I met some of my heroes and idols, and it had a profound effect on me. I thought that if they could do it, perhaps I could too. I see what I'm doing now as perpetuating that effect.
“It would be so cool to know that I have inspired people to take up my sport or any sport because it is such a good thing to get involved in.”
Four-time Paralympic gold medallist, Ellie Simmonds said: “London 2012 was such an incredible experience for me and I feel grateful that I am able to share my story with people that I meet.
“I always try to find time to work with young people whenever I can and hope that my success can inspire some of them to take up sport.”
Sports governing bodies are responsible for managing the athletes volunteering alongside their training programme and will now be reporting to UK Sport twice a year on delivering this commitment.
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “These figures show the vast majority of our funded athletes are committed to giving back to their communities and helping inspire thousands of children and young people through the power of sport.
“The whole nation had the opportunity to see, enjoy and be proud of the incredible performances of our British athletes at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These special moments demonstrated that elite sport can provide a real inspiration and our athletes are wonderful role models for children and young people. I am delighted to see so many of them are committed to helping secure a fantastic sporting legacy for this country post London 2012 through to Rio 2016.”