#DigitalLunch: What can we learn from #London2012?

This week’s #DigitalLunch will consider what we’ve learned from #London2012?

For Helen Kearney Paralympic equestrian medal winner on RTE this morning, “It’s really about your ability and not your disability”…

And, was there something in Michelle Obama’s first talking point about what wounded veterans still have to offer (“they are not only going to walk again, they’re going to run and run Marathons” informed by US experience of #London2012?

In a typically acerbic blog this morning, Alastair Campbell thinks there is a political theme arising from #London2012 that the current government have gotten wrong:

I loved the Olympics and if anything I love the Paralympics even more. Yesterday I saw massive queues to watch blind men play football; a packed stadium watch disabled women from Sweden and Australia hurl a ball at each other; a wheelchair tennis match as skilful and exciting as anything I have ever seen at Wimbledon; a man with no arms swimming faster than most of us could even dream of swimming; and of course David Weir careering round the track with the force and power that only great athleticism and human endeavour can bring. And I really do wonder if any other country in the world would have so many of its citizens clamouring to be part of it.

The government has missed the point of these Games, and missed the moment. The reshuffle takes the country backwards not forwards. It takes us closer to the America we don’t like and away from the America we do like.

And all because Mr Cameron does not have a clear strategy for the country, so focused on a strategy for his Party of throwing a few bones to the Right.

Thirty two years after Daly Thompson became the first UK black athlete to to win ‘the Big G’ for GB, we want also to ask, amongst other things, whether London2012 the beginning, or the end of something?

It’s genuinely open question, and as ever we’re asking for your questions over at Google Moderator, or put them in the comment zone below…

Join us for Lunch on Friday at 1pm?

  • The real things we learn will not be apparent for at least a year.
    Certainly a lot of people have got rich….and a lot of it on the work of “volunteers”.
    The actual Olympics proved an interesting comparison between Premiership footballers and corinthian, spartan Olympians. And thats the message that people rallied to……but one legacy of the Games has been Olympians knowing their market value. They have their agents…..Jessica Ennis has had a stand named for her at Sheffield United. Greg Rutherford has been doing Celebrity Juice and Soccer AM and Mo Farah has sold the photogroaphs of his new-born twins to “Hello Magazine”.
    Olympians are the new Premiership.
    Meanwhile I am just back from Sainsburys where David Beckham promotes the Paralympics as “Heres to the Extraordinary”.
    I am not so sure. That the Paralympics have produced brilliant achievements should not be in doubt……but I wonder if it is really a level playing field. Im not convinced by Oscar Pistorious and the “blade runner” controversy but rather I note that even allowing for the fact that there are “categories” for disablement, it is the athlete who appears most able bodied who wins.
    This was apparent in the 800m and 1500m won by Michael McKillop of Ireland ….the other athletes simply were not as able-bodied. Thats an achievement for the human spirit of course…..but is it sport? (and I realise this is an unpopular viewpoint).
    Ellie Simmons, David Weir and others will of course also briefly join the celebrity circuit. They deserve it of course. But wouldnt it be nice if they were spoke up for disablement rights, which the Government are challenging on a daily basis.
    Indeed it was ironic that Gordon Brown was cheered by Paralympic supporters and George Osborne booed.

  • Mick Fealty

    NOt sure that was irony… I suspect it relates straight back to what many disabled folk and their families view as the current government’s parsimonious attitude towards funding in social welfare.

    Maybe it is this tension that Campbell is trying to capture in pulling politics and sport together so tightly…