Beckham adds International Inspiration for 2012

From UK Sport
David Beckham, Sir Chris Hoy, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson have joined forces to add their support to International Inspiration, London 2012’s international legacy programme for children and young people.

With three years to go until the 2012 Olympic Games, five of Britain’s top sports heroes have pledged to help deliver on the promise that was made by the London bid team in Singapore to “reach children all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games and to see millions more young people across the world participating in sport and improving their lives as a result”.

Pledging his support, David Beckham said: “My involvement, both when London won the bid in Singapore in 2005 and at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, made me realise the power of the Olympic Games.

“Sport is a language that everyone speaks, and it can be used to change lives. Through International Inspiration, we have an opportunity to give millions of children the chance to experience the thrill and excitement that being involved in sport brings. We can use sport to teach them about trust and respect and we can boost their confidence. It’s a chance for them to learn how to stay safe, keep healthy and in some cases stay alive.”

A first from the Olympic and Paralympic movements for children and young people, International Inspiration is already changing the lives of young people in five countries — Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Palau and Zambia — with work beginning in Bangladesh, Jordan, Ghana, Mozambique and Trinidad and Tobago and plans underway for initiatives in Malaysia, Nigeria and South Africa.

The aspiration is to reach 12 million children in 20 countries by the 2012 Games. A truly international programme, children in the UK are also benefitting through a network of school links, providing opportunities to learn from each other’s cultures and experiences.

Through the provision of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play, International Inspiration is working in each of these countries with not only children and young people, but also their teachers, community volunteers and coaches as well as governments to ensure that the results are sustainable and life-changing for future generations.

“When I was growing up, sport for disabled people didn’t get that much coverage on television. But I remember saying that I was going to be there one day, on the starting line with everyone else. Millions of children living in poverty around the world never even get to the starting line” says Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.

“If they’re disabled, they’ve got even less chance. That’s why I am so proud to be involved with International Inspiration, which is bringing the transforming power of sport to break down barriers, promote positive attitudes towards children with impairments, and ultimately give them the chance to achieve their full potential.”

Sir Chris Hoy commented, “Winning my first Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004 and three Olympic golds in Beijing 2008 was the realisation of a lifetime’s dream. Standing on the podium was incredible, an absolutely amazing feeling.

“Many children around the world don’t even have a safe place to play, let alone a dream of Olympic glory. International Inspiration aims to change that by providing millions of young people with their first opportunity to participate in sport. It’s a chance for them to learn how to build their skills, self esteem and confidence and improve their lives as a result.”

Recalling her own childhood dreams, Denise Lewis said, “The magic of the Olympics is something that has captivated me since I was a child. Since I first saw an athletics track, I dreamed of the day that I would compete for my country. I was fortunate enough to fulfil that dream. The chance to be involved in sport should be available to all children, giving them the opportunity for a while to forget about some of the challenges they face.

“That is what makes International Inspiration such a unique programme; it aims to give millions of children around the world the opportunity to get involved in sport, for the first time for some. During the bid, London 2012 promised to extend the Games legacy to millions of children worldwide and International Inspiration will ensure this promise is fulfilled for years to come.”

Advocating for the transforming power of sport, Colin Jackson added, “Sport is the greatest passion in my life and it has played such an important role in shaping me in to the person that I am today. It has given me discipline, focus and the confidence to believe in myself. Every child has the right to play, learn and grow, whatever their background, but millions are missing out on this vital part of their development. That’s why I am supporting International Inspiration which is getting children and young people around the world involved in sport and helping them to grow into responsible members of their communities.”

International Inspiration is a unique partnership of public and private organisations. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has joined forces with the programme’s key delivery partners, UK Sport, UNICEF UK and the British Council, to bring International Inspiration to fruition as a core strand of the London 2012 international education programme. Other partners and funders of International Inspiration include the Department for Culture Media and Sport, Department for International Development, the Premier League, the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympic Association and the Youth Sport Trust.

International Inspiration uses the power of sport to transform the lives of millions of children and young people of all abilities, in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play.

International Inspiration has received the formal support of the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee as an international legacy programme for the London 2012 International Education Programme.

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For media enquiries contact:
UNICEF Nicola Hornzee — 020 7405 5592

British Council James Rowe — 020 7389 4939

UK Sport Lee Taylor — 020 7211 5105

DCMS Julia Smith — 020 7211 6215

LOCOG Julie Burley — 020 3201 2432

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