The following is my own transcript of some of the words of Mr Rogge. You can find his full words in the video link above. Addressing the atheletes about to take part in the Games, Mr Rogge said:
Your talent, your dedication and your commitment have brought you here. Now you have a chance to become true Olympians. That honour is determined not by whether you win but by how you compete. Character counts far more than medals. Reject doping. Respect your opponent. Remember that you are all role models. If you do that you will inspire a generation.In referring to the athletes as role models, the President of the Olympic Committee in all probability wished to refer to them as being models for others who may take up sport inspired by them. But, as in other spheres of public life, being a role model extends to life as a whole and is not limited to just the athletes' participation in sport. Mr Rogge's reference to "character" hints at this wider implication of being a role model.
I found the willingness of the President of the Olympic Committee to refer to the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games as "role models" very interesting, and worth some reflection as far as its wider implications are concerned.
And particularly in the light of this type of reporting, which gives a certain impression of life in the Olympic village, an impression which may or may not be true. Towards the end of that Guardian article, one Ryan Lochte, a repeat visitor to the medal podium in the aquatic centre at the London games, is quoted as saying:
"My last Olympics, I had a girlfriend - big mistake. Now I'm single, so London should be really good".I suspect that this is not quite the role-modelling that Mr Rogge had in mind!
Someone who has made a good impression on me has been Hope Powell, the coach of the Team GB women's football team. The way in which she conducted herself on the touchline during the game against Brazil at Wembley set an example that some premiership managers would do well to learn from. The glimpses of her in the video at the top if this report are enough to indicate what I am referring to.
[As a PS: I was very interested, too, in the willingness to include "Abide with me" in the Opening Ceremony. It's presentation by Emeli Sande and contemporary dance made sure that it came across in a very positive manner. Emeli Sande and Akram Khan, the dancer and choreographer, describe the experience in a report in the London Evening Standard.]