Meeting coaches, promising youngsters and amateur enthusiasts at the National Cycling Centre and the Moss Side Fire Station Gym, the Deputy Prime Minister saw first-hand the massive sporting boost created by the Games and how it is inspiring the next generation.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:
Right now we are in the grip of Olympic fever, witnessing incredible successes in which Manchester can rightly say it’s played its part, not least in providing a home to our exceptional cyclists. The National Cycling Centre I’ve visited today is an exceptional world-beating venue and that the whole country can be proud of.
The memories of this historic time will be cherished for a long time, but what is more important is the sporting legacy and it’s clear the Games are already leaving a real mark in Manchester. Not just creating elite athletes, but inspiring everyone to have a go - be it youngsters trying their hand at Manchester’s brand new BMX facilities or fire fighters teaming up with Olympic stars to get young people off the streets and into boxing.
This morning, the Deputy Prime Minister visited the Moss Side Fire Station Gym run by fire fighters in their spare time working with disaffected young people in the area to use sport to break down barriers in the community. The Gym is part of the Fire Fit Inspire Programme - awarded the ‘Inspire’ mark as part of London 2012 for its commitment to inspiring people to get involved in sport and ensure a lasting legacy from the Games.
As part of their programme, the gym has focused on inviting positive role models to go to the gym and support the youngsters, with Olympic gold medal winners Audley Harrison and Victoria Pendleton among those who have visited. Inspired by the Olympics, it is also launching a Weightlifting Club to train young people who would otherwise have to travel far from home to do so.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly said:
The gym uses sport to break down barriers in what is a very diverse community and we are delighted it is associated with the Olympics legacy through the Inspire programme.
Our firefighters are positive role models who teach discipline, respect and courage, helping young people grow and develop while offering an alternative from anti-social behaviour or negative street activity.
The athletes at London 2012 are an inspiration to young people - we have seen that first hand at the gym when we have had successful athletes visiting and motivating young people. We hope the success of the Olympics will lead to even more young people wanting to take part in sport - and we will be delighted to welcome them to our gym.
The Deputy Prime Minister then went to the National Cycling Centre, to see local people experiencing cycling in the velodrome and trying out the BMX track. The velodrome is home to some of the most successful cycling names from the London 2012 Olympics, with regular users of the track including gold medal winners Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton. The indoor BMX track, which opened in 2011, was inspired by the London 2012 Games and received £3m from the Inspired facilities programme, part of Sport England’s Legacy programme. It is a training facility for the Great Britain BMX team - including Shanaze Reade who will compete tomorrow.
As well as offering outstanding facilities for elite athletes, the National Cycling Centre is also open to all levels of ability offering sessions to anyone seeking to experience the sport including local schoolchildren, novices and enthusiasts.
Jarl Walsh, General Manager of the National Cycling Centre said:
We are very proud of the vital role that the National Cycling Centre has played in the success of our GB track athletes at the London Olympics. As the training venue for the GB team, we have been privileged to witness at first hand the hard work and dedication they have committed to becoming the best in the world, and it is very gratifying to see them do so well.
We are also sure that their achievements, and the heightened profile it has given to the sport, will lead to a huge increase in the number of young people who will have been inspired by the many medal winning performances and will want to try to emulate them.
Already, we have seen a significant increase in the volume of calls from people wanting to book on our weekly track taster sessions for beginners, and we know from experience after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 that interest in the sport of track cycling will be sustained at a very high level throughout the winter.
This evening, the Deputy Prime Minister will go to Old Trafford to watch Brazil v South Korea in the men’s football semi-final. He will also meet Old Trafford Ambassadors, Trafford Council staff and the leader of Trafford Council, as the host borough, and thank them for their contribution to making the Games a success.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s guests for the football match will be:
- Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly.
- Watch Manager Michael Dillon who is a coach at the club.
- Conner Tudsbury aged 12 and Michael Dillon aged 20 who are both boxers at the gym.