At the core of the Olympics, alongside the values of friendship, respect, courage, excellence, determination, inspiration and equality, lies education. This fact is clear both in the Switzerland, at the Olympic Museum, and closer to home, through the efforts of LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games).

During our visit we were lucky enough to meet Andy Martin and Emily Tuffin who work for LOCOG on the ‘Get Set Network’, which aims to use “the London 2012 Games to inspire learners of all ages and abilities to get involved in Values-based projects and activities.” An impressive set of aims, made more impressive by the fact that London seems to be the first Olympics with a real commitment to engaging it’s youth in a more meaningful way than a few cute faces in the opening and closing ceremonies.

This desire for engagement is clearly shared by the IOC, our visit coincided with a week long set of activities for local school children that gave them a chance to be involved in some sports workshops. One of these was the archery course which we were lucky enough to try out (I was very good  obviously!) The great thing about all of this was the fact that the sport was not the end of the story in fact it was just the beginning, the real focus of the program was imbuing the participants with an understanding of the Olympic values I mentioned earlier. In this way the Olympics can gain a far more universal appeal, certainly they are about competition, they’d be nothing without it, but for those whom competition is not the biggest draw activities such as the ones we saw in Lausanne and the ones that the Get Set Network run and encourage are key and can only be seen as a good thing despite any reservations people may have about the effect or methods of engagement. The sheer number of children who attend schools who are a part of the network is a guarantee that a significant number of kids are going to be engaged by the Olympics coming to the UK, and not just through seeing it on the television.

 

 

 

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