Although some time has passed since the Olympics in August and the Paralympics in September, it’s important we don’t forget the achievements of Olympians and Paralympians and ensure that the sporting legacy of Rio 2016 can be sustained over the next four years.
The entire nation came together to cheer on Team GB at the Rio Games and it was absolutely fantastic to see Great Britain come second in the Medal Table. This saw 67 medals in total, including 27 golds. This was 1 more gold medal than China and the first time we have placed ahead of them since China returned to the Olympics in 1984. Meanwhile in the Paralympics, Paralympic GB also came second in the Medal Table winning 147 medals, 27 more than their achievement at London 2012. 64 gold medals were secured in 11 different sports, which equalled the record set by China at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.
We also have the notable achievement of being the first host country to increase its medal total at the summer Olympics following the one it hosted. Team GB won two more Olympic medals in Rio than they had four years earlier in London.
The sporting success of both Team GB and Paralympic GB has been the result of long term planning, boosted by the National Lottery funding received since its creation and the grants that the lottery has been able to offer sporting facilities, including here in Chelmsford, such as the grant of £2.35 million for the new athletic centre at Melbourne Park back in 2001.
In Essex, lottery funding has supported numerous organisations, sporting and otherwise, in recent months. This includes Essex County Council, the Essex Slalom Squad, Writtle Parish Council, and South Woodham Ferrers Yacht Club.
In 2012, the nation was united around the success of our athletes and the Olympic and Paralympic motto: ‘Inspire a Generation’. Let’s ensure that after the success of Team GB in Rio that we are able to do so once again.