The Olympic Legacy: a wake up call for Grumpy Old Gits.

It’s all over.  The question now is whether the London Olympics will live on, and fulfil the pledge made at the time of the London bid by Lord Coe and Tony Blair that the event would “inspire a generation” to become more involved in sport.

Lord Coe, you need to be in charge of the Olympics.  There were other aims as well, including regeneration of a previously run down part of London, establishing Great Britain as a leader in sport, and promoting the country as a welcoming and attractive destination for visitors.  All highly laudable, but the one which has captured the most attention is “inspire a generation“, not least because of the prominence it has been given by commentators as well as the signage at the Olympic venues.

But hang on a minute.  Isn’t that a bit exclusive?  If we are spending £9.3 billion and want to use it to get younger people to be more involved in sport, what about us old codgers?  Where’s our legacy?  Admittedly I have seen a few more people wobbling around the country lanes on bikes recently, so maybe it has resonated with an older generation as well.  But by and large we older folks are not, shall we say, the target audience for the principal legacy.

So has the whole event been and gone without any lasting impact on people like me?

No, far from it.  It has achieved something rather remarkable, speaking purely for myself.

It has got me to rethink a couple of hitherto somewhat deeply entrenched beliefs.  Or Truths as I prefer to call them.  And what’s more, it has “inspired” me to put them out there for the whole world to see.  Deep breath.  Here goes.

Truth #1.  Politicians, Quangos, Committees and other such supposedly do-gooding bodies are inefficient, power-seeking excuses for laziness and general fat-cat snouts-in-trough behaviour, which typically waste public money, and they should all be fired.  LOCOG, being another Committee, was bound to screw it up, and we Brits all risked embarassment and general global humiliation.

WRONG.  They did us proud.  Much to my amazement (and I know I am not alone in this), we pulled it off with style, panache, creativity and good humour, in every sense and in every way.  We showed what we are capable of, and punched way above our weight, leaving other nations gasping somewhat and wondering how on earth they could ever better it.  My faith in “the system” is somewhat restored, and I hereby promise to pay my next tax bill with more good humour and a lot more Trust.  If only we could do this type of thing at every level a bit more often, we would not have a recession, and good old Britannia would be a better place to live.

Truth #2.  Today’s “Youth” is a disaffected, lazy, socially autistic and generally dysfunctional generation, as exemplified by last summer’s riots, and they wouldn’t know what a hard day’s graft is if it slapped them in the face.  If they are our future, we are all doomed.

WRONG.  Looking at the 80,000 volunteer Gamesmakers in London, many of whom fitted the “Youth” profile, and the cheerful , energised and  can-do attitude they displayed throughout, there is no question that they are highly motivated. altruistic, positive and skilled ambassadors for their generation, and we should be inspired by what they bring to our society.  Apparently 100,000 people have now volunteered to donate time and support to sports centres around the country, inspired no doubt by what they saw on their TV screens.  Well done!

There you have it.  I never would have thought I’d be so deeply moved by a sporting event, or so impressed by what we are capable of.  Well done the lot of you, and thank you for a long overdue wake up call on some lazy and Grumpy Old Git thinking.  You gave me a kick in the backside which I will never forget.  I’m missing it already (the Olympics, that is, not the kick.)  Sigh.

By the way, Boris Johnson, you can be next Prime Minister, and Seb Coe, you are the next President of the International Olympic Committee.

Oh, and if you are a suffering Olympic withdrawal symptoms, here’s a wonderful highlights video from the Beeb.  Enjoy!


About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at
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13 Responses to The Olympic Legacy: a wake up call for Grumpy Old Gits.

  1. Ralph says:

    Agreed! Of course pre-Games the press delighted in the G4S debacle, playing to the Grumpy Old Git’s in most of us – BUT once the Games started going well (sunny weather, great sport, gold medals…) then the press must have believed that highlighting the triumphs would sell better than scouring around looking for flaws. It all become quite uplifting!

    Note we haven’t had ANY subsequent coverage or ANY investigation into what went WELL, no constructive analysis for others to learn from. Can you imagine a Panorma on “How the Games were won”?! Or would that look like back-slapping? Not-British? Maybe it’ll be available in book form at some point?

    So yes, we should certainly be impressed and inspired by what was achieved. A second point would be to be train the Grumpy Old Git inside of us to take the press less seriously?


    • Hi Ralph. Love it! How come we do take the press so seriously? Surely when we get to our age we should know better?! That Panorama programme would make for great viewing, and probably highly educational. As Marcus Buckingham says, we are better off playing to our strengths than trying to overcome our weaknesses.


  2. Julie Lines says:

    Yes, it was a wake up call as I had been expecting there to be problems and poor transport etc. I was totally mesmerised by what happened and truly proud to be British, to be human – something that doesn’t often happen in these testing times we are in. Great post Mike, many thanks for sharing. Hope to see you soon! XX


  3. Mandy Green says:

    Yeah absolutely! And despite being very very far from a Tory by nature I shall be using Seb as a Leadership role model in my training courses. It was text book stuff!


  4. Truth #1 and #2, both inspiring. Well said Michael.


  5. Gil Keir says:

    I’m not sure I fall into the ‘grumpy old git’ demographic but historically the words Quango have had the effect of sending my eyes to the top of my head! So I have definitely been on the same page.
    Two fantastic messages that have already left a legacy with my three teenagers (a hard to please demographic):
    1. To get reward, hard work and dedication come first!
    2. Working together for the common good can bring great results
    This games reinforced all that is good about the human RACE, not just sport….


  6. Again so true, Michael, thanks for sharing this! I really love the attitude of all people involved in the Games… all volunteers, who were so dedicated to make this event a great one and who had so much fun doing that! And the young athletes, who show determination and guts to achieve their goals…. they show an attitude in life we can all learn from. This was not just a sports event, it was – yet again – a very valuable lesson in life, in more ways than one.


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