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On the 22nd of November Benji Lanyado who works as a travel writer at The Guardian was kind enough to take us on a tour of the paper’s headquarters near Kings Cross in central London.

During the tour we spoke with three editors; Joanna Geary, Digital Developments Editor; Ian Prior, Sports Editor; and David Shariatmadari, Deputy Editor of Comment is Free . They gave us some very informative advice and I was inspired but if I’m honest I also left the building a little scared.

Becoming a journalist is going to be hard. Really hard.

I can hear the voices of an assembled crowd of beleaguered working men and women ringing out across the internet even now “what did you expect you fool? Of course it’s going to be hard. Life is hard.”  But blissful ignorance is a wonderful state to be in and as a 17 year old boy I have something of a monopoly on the market for it. So, despite the fact that it was a little immature, I was rather enjoying holding an aspiration to write based mainly on the end goals as opposed to the means, without taking my thoughts very far beyond “I’ll do a bit of blogging” and “I’ll do something with lots of writing in at University”. Clearly I was in serious need of some frank advice.

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Last Thursday, 20/10/2011, Fran, Charlie, Bianca, Claudia, Kaspian and I were lucky enough to visit the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, a beautiful town on the edge of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. This post was written towards the end of a wonderful day.


Today has been something of a whirlwind; up at 3:30 am, on the plane for 6:45 am and on a private tour of the museum by 10:30. The Olympic Museum has been open for eighteen years now, which almost seems like quite a short amount of time considering the hundreds of years of history that is encapsulated within the spiraling four walls of the building which also hosts the International Olympic Committee whenever they convene.

So, what can be taken away from today?
First and foremost today has confirmed to me that the Olympics can be a force for change and not only can they be, they should be for it is these principles and others like them upon which the modern Olympics are based. Equally it is clear that the Olympics past and present are full of contradictions. Avery Brundage, an American athlete and President of the IOC from 1952-1972 ,outlined his vision of the games;

“The Olympic Games must not be an end in itself, they must be a means of creating vast programme of physical education and sports competitions for all young people.”  Avery Brundage 

A vision which holds true to this day, we won the games in part because of the focus that was placed on the inclusion of young people. Yet Brundage was vehemently opposed to female competitors saying “I am fed up to the ears with women as track and field competitors… her charms sink to something less than zero.” 

Clearly two views which don’t tally up with each other in 2011 but the fact that the Olympic Museum , run by the IOC is perfectly happy to expose its own failings was a real breath of fresh air. In the same room as Usain Bolt’s 100m final jersey is an entire wall dedicated to the issue of doping and the games. To me this seems to be a clear message from the IOC to the countries it gives the games to; everybody makes mistakes, including the IOC and host countries, what’s important is that we face up to these mistakes whilst celebrating our triumphs. Sentiments that some would do well to take note of.

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On Wednesday last week the rest of the SMJ’s, some of the guys from A New Direction, Chris Skinner , Benji Lanyado and I were lucky enough to go on a tour of the Olympic park, private mini-bus and all! I had a flipcam with me, however the good old British weather and bumpy road surface combined led to some pretty shaky footage which I had assumed I wasn’t going to use. What I’m trying to say is that it’s no masterpiece but it gives a good feel of how far along the park is and some nice facts I picked up on during the tour which was narrated wonderfully by our tour guide Andy.

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Here at Headstart we’ve been busy and today I was lucky enough to interview Nathan Hanson, a fellow member of the Social Media group and a young athlete. We spoke about what he thinks should be done with the Olympic  Park after the worlds media, spectators and athletes have packed up and gone home.

An audio preview of the interview.

Nathan believes that the key part of the Parks’s and the Olympic legacy as a whole is making sure that the space is used  for community projects and sports.

For many Londoners, Nathan included, ensuring that the Olympics help to foster the talents of tomorrows as well as todays aspiring athletes for  many years to come is what will truly make the games a once in a lifetime event.

About Me

As a part of a project with youth charity 'A New Direction' a group of young Londoners and I blog about the London Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012. Check out my twitter feed bellow and return here for updates on what ever Olympic or Paralympic issues have got me going each week!

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