Most Olympians who I know, can recount the time they watched their hero win, jumping up and down on the couch* in excitement. And vowing then and there to become an Olympic champion.

The slogan of the London Olympics was “inspire a generation”.  Great Britain did so brilliantly and it no doubt created a new set of couch-jumpers and people committed to following their dreams, athletic or otherwise.  I guess it will also be enough if the Games encouraged the couch-sitters to commit to a healthier more active lifestyle**.

The campaign focused on young people but the slogan’s ambiguity was empowering, because there was inspiration for:

  • Teenagers: 15 year old Katie Ledecky and 16 year old Ye Shiwen showed  that the teenage quality of not getting fazed by anyone, regardless of the strength and reputation of one’s competitor, can be worth its weight in gold.
  • Generation Y:  Verging on superhuman status both Michael Phelps who accumulated about as many medals as he has years, and Usain Bolt, epitomise their generation’s confidence, ambitiousness and achievement-orientation.
  • The middle-agers:  Freshly medalled and books just released, both 40 year old Greg Searle and 56 year old Mark Todd returned after retirement to see if they could reclaim gold. And were proof that there is an alternative to middle age spread, delusion and forgotten dreams.
  • The ‘third agers’:  71 year old Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu reminded us of the value of looking after ourselves. And keeping our appetite for learning, growing and excellence.

Whatever your dreams, as I wrote on the key ingredients of making them happen, inspiring role models do play an important part. And ultimately it is your journey, nobody else’s.  In my opinion, long term sustainable inspiration can only come from within ourselves.



* or if you prefer..sofa…divan.. settee..chesterfield…divano..

** on that, check out Alison Mowbray Lifestyle on Facebook. for top tips, research and recipes on sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash


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Penelope Mavor
11 years ago

I love that you have been caught by Olympic fever dear Cathy; it is an invasive condition..can sneek up to the most unsuspecting ;). Enjoy celebrating being a brilliant Brit, bonkerness and all!

Cathy Teesdale
11 years ago

Inspirational heroes/heroines are, I agree, such a wonderful thing – particularly when one can admire their amazing prowess & feats but also their overcoming of defeats & serious injuries too – one relayer, I think he's American, apparently finished his run on a broken femur, which I didn't even know was possible!! I've also loved all the creativity & eccentricity married to effective organisation & super-warm friendliness (a big cheer to all those great 70,000 volunteers) that was in evidence too, which has apparently inspired foreign journalists to award the London 2012 a 'gold medal for best Olympics ever'! 'Bonkers… Read more »