In exactly two years time the London 2012 Olympics will finally kick off in Stratford, East London and to mark the countdown Sir Chris Hoy will be the very first person to ride inside the cycling velodrome today. Chris has already won 4 Olympic gold medals – 1 in Athens in 2004, and 3 at the last Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 at the age of 32. He also received the Sports Personality of the Year Award in the same year before being knighted in 2009 and now relays his wisdom and experiences as a motivational speaker. Chris has always been keen to promote cycling as well as encouraging more youngsters to take part in Olympic sports. A recent study revealed that most youngsters have never tried at least 40% of the 26 Olympic sports and as Chris says, “I’m not the best at hand-to-eye coordination so football was not for me. If I’d only ever tried football at school I might have given up sport.” Thankfully for us, Chris did try his hand - and feet – at cycling and will be the one to watch in 2012. His preparation has always proven essential and he has decided to pull out of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi so that he can concentrate on the European Track Championships – the qualifying event for the Olympics. He will also be joined by rising stars Beth Tweddle and sailor Ben Ainslie as well as champion diver Tom Daley who has had a pretty quiet year so far with his GCSE commitments.
Sir Chris will also be joined by Olympic star and motivational speaker Michael Johnson who will take his first running steps on a specially laid track today in the Olympic stadium. Michael is the winner of 4 gold medals and has gone on to set up his own sports management company and even take part in Celebrity Apprentice state-side this year. Former NBA player John Amaechi will also be shooting the very first basketball hoop in the basketball arena, and dance group Diversity will be joining London Mayor Boris Johnson to launch the drive for volunteers to help with everything from medical assistance to guiding visitors around the city as ‘London Ambassadors’. Around 70,000 volunteers will be required and the Olympic site itself will need to be finished within a year so that testing events can begin prior to the opening. Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and keynote speaker Lord Sebastian Coe has worked incredibly hard so far and does not underestimate the challenge ahead, “We’re at the business end of this now and I never minimise the extraordinary complexity of what we’ve got to achieve.”
The London Olympics flagship store will also open today in St Pancras International so things really are on a roll. The pressure is well and truly on but Lord Coe and his team are determined to make a success of it and ensure that everyone gets involved as the excitement starts to build.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017