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.”