British diver and Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley today urged Britain to build on the sports buzz created by the London games.
The 18-year-old, who won Great Britain's first Olympic individual diving medal for 52 years last night, said in a press conference today: “I think we've got a wonderful opportunity here. Kids are going to have watched so many sports during the Olympics, and not just the mainstream sports but also the less obvious one, from canoeing to shooting to the modern pentathlon.
“The most important thing is that we get these kids involved at the primary school stage, not later. Once you get them into lots of different sports then you can also start the process of finding the ones with the potential to go on into schemes. London 2012 has created a massive buzz and drive and we should got the kids to try something new.”
Daley praised his own school, Plymouth College, which is also attended by Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte's who won gold in the women's 100m breaststroke, for allowing its pupils to mix sport with the central curriculum.
He said: “We do training in the morning then lessons for a bit, then a bit more training. We can even go to school in the evening to pick up on our lessons. Everyone at the colleage has been so supportive.”
Speaking today IOC chief Jacques Rogge also echoed some of Daley's comments, and warned that the kind of minority sports which have entertained crowds over the last two weeks should not be forgotten about by the government in the period between now and Rio.
“I think that is the challenge that Great Britain faces now, to continue on the wave, to continue to surf the wave, but this will require investment, of course, in these sports, definitely longer term investment,” he said.
“I think there is a great foundation being laid by these games in all of the sports, but then the sports organisations but also the Ministry of Sport must have a long term plan on how to capitalise on that and how to continue to have this success.”
Asked whether the four years cash that the government has guaranteed constituted a long enough investment he replied: “You know, I'm a foreigner in this beautiful country. It is not up to tell the government what to do. But it goes without saying, if you have long term strategies you have good results.”
Lord Coe added that the four vital ingredients for a lasting Olympic legacy were world class governing bodies, world class coaches, a steady supply of talent and predictable levels of funding.
“You do not get excellence on the cheap nor do you get all the other virtuous outcomes that come from that without long term and predictable levels of funding and that's what we've witnessed,” he said.