It was a great pitch. Against the odds the bid team brilliantly lead by Seb Coe beat off the strong Paris bid. To win they did many things right. Tony Blair and David Beckam added to the celebrity quotient, something that flatters the inflated egos of the IOC members. They put together a powerful pitch, rehearsed to the nth degree performed superbly.
However to win they knew they needed, as Coe put it, to make “an emotional connection”. What would counter the rational superiority of the Paris bid? The answer was an overtly emotional appeal that infused the bid and was best dramatised in a moving film of young kids around the world with the voice over, “To make an athlete takes millions of children around the world inspired to choose sport.”
The IOC bought it because it made them feel good, even though they knew that no previous Games had increased participation. Our politicians had the legacy soundbite they needed as they systematically started syphoning money away from grass root sport to ensure we could meet the ridiculous staging demands imposed by the IOC.
I have no doubt the Bid team believed this time it would be different. Unfortunately they, and we, the parents, coaches, teachers, volunteers, had underestimated the political cynicism when it comes to sport that really matters, sport for children. Des Kelly in the Daily Mail : “It’s about the fact that everyday participation in sport gives children self-esteem, raises confidence levels and reduces anti-social behavior”.
Children, apart from the few natural competitors, are not inspired by the Olympic Games. Their inspiration comes from the everyday effort and example of the volunteers, PE teachers and the like. All of this is now threatened by Mr Goves. Promises, promises.