Team GB’s Olympic heroes will spend 5,000 days a year in UK schools coaching the stars of the future, Culture Secretary Maria Miller has said.

Pride in Britain is back thanks to the summer spectacle which captivated the country, she told the Conservative party conference. She promised to build on the Games’ success, creating a legacy which will inspire youngsters to become gold medallists.

“Between them, our inspirational Olympic athletes will dedicate 5,000 days a year to teach, mentor and encourage young people in sport,” Miller said.

“In schools and clubs across the UK, our Olympic athletes will be dedicated to helping the next generation shine as they themselves have shone this summer.”

The Games had helped Britain “regain its pride”, she told Tory activists in Birmingham.

That pride was clear as grassroots members wept while watching a five-minute video telling the story of Britain’s Games, from the International Olympic Committee officials awarding the showpiece to London in Singapore in July 2005 to last month’s Paralympics closing ceremony.

The film featured memorable gold-winning moments from long-distance runner Mo Farah, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and disabled sprinter Jonnie Peacock.

The golden recap sparked a standing welcome for Games organiser Lord Coe, a former Tory MP. He praised former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major for launching the National Lottery in 1994, which has provided funding for Olympic hopefuls.

Gold medal cyclist Joanna Rowsell, who appeared on stage, said the cash was “absolutely essential” as Team GB’s athletes trained. “I wouldn’t have been able to be a full-time cyclist without the lottery funding,” she said.

Lord Coe said the Olympics showed that Britain has not just got a “can do culture” but a “can deliver” culture. He said: “Britain and the British have a reputation for quality, for scrutiny, for raising the bar and setting new benchmarks. This is not an inhibitor or barrier to delivery; it makes for better delivery and should be embraced.”

Image: iStockphoto

(Click here to watch the video above)

Oscar Pistorius – Paralympics will change perceptions about disability, as reported in The Guardian:

Pistorius, the South African star of the Games, believes other countries will learn a lot from Britain’s enlightened approach to hosting the 2012 Paralympics. “The UK is definitely a country which deals with disability in a really amazing way,” Pistorius said. “There are a lot of people that are going to watch these Games around the world that are going to be forced in a way to see these Paralympics through the eyes of the people of the UK. And I think that is a great thing. There are a lot of people here that don’t focus on the disability any more, they focus on the athletes’ ability.”

More info

The British aroma of London 2012 victory bouquets…

Each bouquet features four different types of British rose – Aqua, Ilios, Marie Clare and Wimbledon – and all roses have been grown in the UK especially for the event. Bouquets also include lavender, rosemary and mint. Wheat has also been included, symbolising energy.

More info and BBC clip 

Cancer Charity’s concern over Olympic partners:

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has joined the growing chorus voicing concern over the links between London 2012 and companies such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Cadbury.

The cancer prevention charity fears the marketing of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt at the Olympics will associate these unhealthy products with the world’s top sporting event.

This may encourage the patterns of consumption at the heart of an obesity epidemic that has seen the UK become Europe’s fattest country.

Jo Jewell, Acting Policy and Public Affairs Manager at WCRF, said: “This marketing-through-sponsorship targets children as well as adults. Unlike adults, children can’t critically judge these marketing tactics, which is why they should be protected from the promotion of unhealthy products.

“It is shame that with all the talk of ‘legacy’, one of the legacies left behind by London 2012 will be the failure to grasp the opportunity of the Olympics to set an example in addressing the UK’s obesity problem. 

“The Olympics is seen as a force for good that boosts involvement in sport, encouraging young people to take part in activities they may not have considered before and providing the facilities to do so. But by promoting unhealthy eating the organisers are undermining these positive developments. 

“We understand the need for corporate sponsors at an event of such scale. All we ask is that future sporting events are not supported by companies whose products have a negative impact on the nation’s health.”

Past studies, including a Food Standards Agency review, have concluded that junk food promotions aimed at children influence their preferences, purchasing behaviour and consumption – increasing the risk of serious illness in later life.

WCRF’s 2009 Policy Report concluded there is a “high level of confidence” that restricting the marketing of unhealthy products to children will have a beneficial impact on their diet.

Being overweight is a major factor in developing cancer in later life. By encouraging healthy eating and physical activity during childhood, the charity hopes individuals will carry these habits into adulthood.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos