Tag Archive | olympics

Olympic fever-Inspire a generation

I can’t believe that it has been almost a month since I last visited my Blog but that’s the Olympics for you. I was quite blown away and distracted by this amazing spectacle and I had to eat my words that GB could not put on such a fabulous show. From the moving and inspiring 10 week Torch Relay, the eccentricities of the Opening Ceremony to the cheesy music of the Closing concert, Seb Coe was spot-on when he said, “Britain did it right” and we should be very proud as a nation of the achievement. Let’s hope that we can capitalise on all that good work and leave a lasting legacy to a new generation, not just athletic and sporting stars, but every young person who cares to take up the challenge. I am now looking forward to the Paralympics which start on Friday and which promise to be every bit as exciting and awesome as the main Games.

Everyone has their favourite moments of the London 2012 Olympics, and I have many, but what stood out for me was the thought and preparation which went into the Games so that it really became something special. What we did better than any country before us was to focus on the performance, dedication, hard work, discipline and sportsmanship necessary to participate in the Games instead of the commercialism. This may come back to haunt us as there may not be enough coppers in the kitty to maintain our vision and efforts for future Games but for two weeks at least, we were shown what could be achieved. It gave us hope and with luck inspired everyone to dream a little.

“A dream becomes reality when you put a date to it”

Yesterday I took the liberty of putting a date to a young man’s dream. Rio 2016.

My next-door-neighbour is a very talented young athlete with huge potential to achieve big things if he works hard, gets the right training and guidance and goes to bed every night believing that he is good enough. I think he is. His coaches think he is and I hope that he believes in himself.

I hope I haven’t put too much pressure on such young shoulders by calling him “Phillips” ( Phillips Idowu-UK Champion triple-jumper) or booking my flights to Rio in 4 years time but only time will tell!

Go Ike!


The Queen rocks in Iran

Walking down the street in Sede, I noticed a rather flamboyant gold necklace in the jeweller’s  window.  I couldn’t help but notice it as it is made up of several gold medallions all of which have the Queen’s head stamped on them. Not only did it catch my eye due to its design, but there was something not quite right with it.

I stood and pondered for 5 minutes until I twigged that the Queen’s head is the wrong way round. Instead of facing right to left, she is facing left to right. Then came the question. Why?

Is it because they made a mistake? (most likely) Is it because only licensed products can display the Queens head from right to left ? (not sure that this would worry the manufacturers over here) or is it simply that because books are read from left to right, it seemed logical for the Queen to be facing that way? (Mmmm….brain working overtime again).

I don’t know the answer but it doesn’t matter. These necklaces are apparently selling like hot cakes and the Iranians love them.

Again, the question to the jeweller was “Why”? (I think he was fed up with me by now) I was expecting answers such as the Olympics, the Jubilee, or just because we love the Queen but he just didn’t know.

 And why should he when his necklaces are flying off the shelves? I don’t know the answer to that one but one thing I do know, I won’t be buying one anytime soon!

I’m fed up…

no, not with life. With the constant stream of celebrities and high-profile sportsmen and women admitting to having depression. In itself this is not a bad thing, it’s just that it’s getting boring. Those of us who suffer with depression know how debilitating it is; know how it affects work and family and even with the spurt of admissions from well-known people over the past 12-18 months has anything changed?

I’m not sure. It all seems very “old hat” and repetitive. So what we need now  is for someone to highlight the next steps. What has the Government, NHS, businesses, charities, anyone done to improve treatment of depression and eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness? Undoubtedly it helps if more people talk about mental illness but someone needs to listen to the man and woman “on the street” too. Everyone who is struggling to cope under difficult circumstances not just those in the public eye.

I have particular sympathy with sportsmen and women with the ultimate in competitive personality  who don’t get the psychological support required in this day and age to cope with the extreme ups and downs of competition. That is a failing in our sporting structure that we are aeons behind other countries in looking after the mental health welfare of our sports stars but even so, they are only a small minority when considering the impact of depression on the population as a whole. Have Freddie, Stan, Brian et al had to endure a “fit to work” assessment from ATOS?  I’d be interested to know what the GB Olympic Committee have done to minimise the risk of post-Olympic depression as suffered by some after Beijing. 

I’m lucky. Having admitted to my depression 18 months ago, my employer has made mental health it’s priority for 2012 and is involved with several initiatives to try to help all employees who are debilitated by mental illness and to educate all employees in how to avoid stress-related depression. We are not perfect but we are trying. I hope that the recent revelations by the likes of Freddie and Stan lead to positive action being taken to help everyone.

Afterall I believe that this is no longer an illness suffered by the minority. It is more widespread that anyone can imagine.

Let’s DO something about it.