Beijing had ‘One World, One Dream’, Athens went for ‘Welcome Home’ and Sydney choose ‘Share the Spirit’ and London’s organising committee, with exactly 100 days to go until the Olympic opening ceremony, have unveiled ‘Inspire a Generation’.
“I’m delighted to announce the motto – I hope it’s no surprise,” said Coe.
“It is everything we have been saying since starting this incredible journey. It is the heartbeat and the very DNA of our organisation.
“It is also a rallying cry for athletes to come to the UK, to perform at their very best and to inspire the world.”
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the slogan was ‘not a platitude but a challenge’ but in one key legacy target, sports participation, the Games have so far spectacularly failed to ‘inspire a generation’.
Figures revealed by Sport England last year revealed that the number of people playing sport regularly had fallen in the previous 12 months, despite unprecedented public investment and the legacy promises attached to the 2012 Olympics.
In addition, the number of young people and women involved in sport had gone down over that period – key demographics targeted by Olympic organisers.
Meanwhile, Coe predicted the British public would be the star of the Games, although a poll commissioned by the BBC to mark the 100 day to go milestone has revealed that two thirds of the UK population think the Games, whose budget has soared to £9.3 billion, are costing too much.
And just over half believe they will deliver a lasting legacy, a key commitment when Coe’s team won the bid in 2005, and that number falls dramatically the further you move from the capital.
“Research research has shown that nine million people want to line the route of the Olympic flame, two million children in 13,000 schools are engaged in Olympic education programmes across the UK and three million tickets have already been purchased,” countered Coe.
“We have 70,000 volunteer Games Makers in training and 8,000 local leaders engaging in communities the length and breath of the country.
“The generosity of the British people to this project is frankly breathtaking and that’s the difference between a good and a great Games. We want to say hello and then goodbye to the world.”
However, Coe insists there will be no complacency as the Olympic countdown ticks into double digits, with tickets still to be sold, concerns over transportation and worries about protests dominating his in-tray.
“I tell my team that every time they see an Olympic or Paralympic athlete they must remember that person has probably devoted half their life to the moment they will compete this summer, they must not be victims of our shortcomings,” he added.
“We are modifying and honing in by the hour and we have made great strides. I’m very confident that we are in great shape to welcome the world in 100 days’ time.”
© Sportsbeat 2012
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BIOGRAPHY: Unai Emery
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