Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Olympic legacy Seb Coe hadn't expected


When London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics there was a lot of talk about ‘legacy’. Lord Coe promised that the Games would inspire a generation. Nobody needed to ask which generation.

The legacy of London 2012 would be legions of long-legged teenagers following Coe to middle distance glory. 

Twelve months later the relay torches are on Ebay, funding for school sport is under threat, the future of the Olympic Park uncertain and the teens have returned to their x-boxes. It is as though that magical fortnight never happened.

Some of us, though, were inspired. We are perhaps not the legacy generation that LOCOG anticipated and we are highly unlikely to podium (even if we accepted that there was such a verb) in Rio. We are the middle aged and we haven’t sat still since Super Saturday.

I am part of that legacy.

I got on my bike for Bradley.

I fell off it and I got straight back on board.

In the twelve months since London 2012 my stocky little legs have pedalled miles - one thousand five hundred miles to be precise. That might not be Olympian but it is certainly  Herculean for a woman who was sick after her first five miles.

I have pedalled through puddles so high that I had to stick my legs out, horizontally and hope momentum would carry me to the other side. I pedalled in temperatures so low that I had to interleave my thermals with copies of the Sunday Times. I have pedalled through sunstroke, blisters and punctures. I have pedalled through punctures and potholes.

I still can’t start cycling without pushing off from a kerb and I fall off whenever I turn right. But now I am more than I was. I am a cyclist. A born-again biker. And this is my blog.

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