‘London’s secret weapon’ – and how the Olympics is inspiring the business people of the future

Much has been said and written about the effects, both positive and negative, of the Olympic Games on the borough of Newham in particular, and on London and the country as a whole.

But where did it all begin?

Cast your mind back to a time when we didn’t know whether London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow or New York would host the event. In July 2005 Lord Sebastian Coe led a delegation to Singapore to make its final presentation to the International Olympic Committee. Amoung the delegation was 30 young people from East London.

They have since been described as ‘London’s Secret Weapon’.

This is an extract from Sebastian Coe’s speech:

Why are so many here, taking the place of businessmen and politicians? It’s because we’re serious about inspiring young people. Each one of them comes from East London, from the communities who will be touched directly by our Games.

Most of these young people were from Langdon School. It’s a designated sports college, located just 5 km from the Olympic Site.

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I talked to Jan Ward, assistant head teacher at the school. She told me how the students were a key part of the Olympic bid and how, in turn the Olympics is inspiring their futures….

Here’s what some of the students themselves felt about the experience:

Year 8 boy:

Going to Singapore made me learn how much effort was being put into the London bid. It showed me how competitive the bid to get the Olympics was. All the cities that tried to win the bid all tried really hard. Paris has bid a couple of times before, just like London. However, we won! It will mean lots of jobs for the area, and it will be good for businesses and tourism. It will also give people the opportunity to see so many sports right here in London. I can’t wait to be there.

Year 8 girl:

From the experience of going to Singapore, we learnt a lot about other people and about ourselves. We learnt just what we are capable of.  Being there gave us a lot of confidence and encouragement to do more for sports in the future. Not only was this a phenomenal experience but it has also opened up doors to other things. All young people will benefit from this as we will now have the Olympics and it will encourage a lot more people to get involved. It will also open up a lot for careers as well as for sports. All the hard work that went into it really did  pay off. So Thank you for giving me this fantastic experience.

A training venue for Taekwondo 

This summer Langdon School will break up early on July 13th and hand over its facilities to London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). The school will then become a training venue for taekwondo competitors. Up to 128 athletes will train at the venue every day and LOCOG expects that there will be 12 buses each day transporting the athletes to and from the Olympic village.

But they do not anticipate any disruption to local businesses which they say will be accessible as usual. The school will receive around £50,000 in return and will use the funds for infrastructure upgrading to roadways and fencing and also some redecoration for the sports hall.