I’ll start this one with a disclaimer: this post may sound repetitive, negative and simplistic, but try me.
I’ve written previously about my thoughts and personal experiences of legacy, with particular reference to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. With the anniversary of the Paralympics closing ceremony having recently passed, the topic has sprung up again within the media, debates once again swirling on how successful London was or wasn’t.
So here I am, on my soapbox. This post comes inspired by this link popping up on my twitter feed. I feel that the artist quoted contradicts herself: she’s pleased that people with disabilities are getting increased positive mainstream media press, but doesn’t like that sportspeople are the ones receiving the attention. Can we not accentuate the positive, that things have begun to move on? In addition, the Paralympics was about sportspeople, so logic would follow that they receive accolades and attention. If an equivalent art exhibition had received so much television coverage, one could expect artists to generate similar attention, rather than athletes.
Any such project will not generate enormous overnight positive change. LOCOG’s mission was to inspire a generation, and I’m sure that this worked for some, but that at the same time, many children and adults alike were unmoved by the Games, and have still not put down their video game controllers and clambered off their sofas. And that’s okay. In my opinion, if one child finds a positive role model from this experience, then it’s worth it. If one person sees a person with a disability struggling and opens a door or helps them to hail a cab when they wouldn’t previously, it’s worth it.
Legacy isn’t about a sea change, a giant gesture noticed by all. It’s the little things, the baby steps. Of course we want and need to dream big, aiming to eventually make a significant change, improve the world we live in. But there are scales of achievement. In some events, the start line and the finish are a long way apart – the most important thing is that we keep moving forward.