Most Thursday evenings I manage to squeeze in an extra hour or so work while the rest of the
family goes swimming with the DLRG (German Life-Saving Club) at our local pool which has been
wonderfully renovated since German Olympic Medalist and World Championship Swimmer, Hannah
Stockbauer, once trained there.
It´s not an activity I think about a lot as my husband, himself a one-time club swimmer, is the driving
force. I participate only in the chaos of getting the kids fed and out the door after an already busy
day for everyone, and listening to their stories over hot chocolate before they go to bed.
Fast forward to this week, and it has been a clear objective for many years to ensure that London
2012 Olympic Games ‘Inspire a Generation’. When you are surrounded by people who are passionate
about a particular sport – hear their stories, feel the buzz of their elation – their enthusiasm can be
infectious, and it is hard not to be inspired. What could you do, if …?
But if Malcolm Gladwell’s perspective on how change happens is correct – argued in his book The
Tipping Point – the passionate experts are only part of the story. You also need Connectors that
know lots of people and have the opportunity to influence them. And, arguably, there are few better
connectors than the BBC.
The Beeb has taken Olympics coverage to a new level, adding the complete WOW factor of offering
an inspirational ‘window on the world’ of individual sports and sportspeople. My focus has been on
the comprehensive TV coverage, with no less than 24 high-definition channels dedicated to specific
sports, but this approach also goes across its websites, radio, audio & video on demand, and social
media channels encouraging people ‘to get involved,’ not to mention a Marianas Trench-deep
archive of information, comment, and stories.
For example, who knew that Road Cycling was so strategic, based on the Prisoners’ Dilemma of risk
and reward requiring flocking together like birds to share the wind shadow? Not to mention allies to
break away from the main group, as was achieved to great effect by an unexpected alliance of the
German, British and Russian eventual medalists of the Women’s Road Race. Our remote control has
equally opened up the world of table tennis, handball, equestrian, and – not surprisingly – swimming.
We were disappointed not to be able to get tickets to go to see the swimming, during the various
rounds of tickets becoming available. And yes, as Brits, it would be great to personally take part in
a ‘home Olympics.’ But I doubt that we would have been able to get more inspirational and intimate
access than via the underwater cameras, insightful expert commentary from the likes of Australian
Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, Ian Thorpe, and incredibly human stories from athletes, coaches
Anyway, today is the first day of the school holidays, so maybe I’ll just take the kids swimming …