What an incredible summer of sport we have had. Team GB’s extraordinary achievements at the Rio Olympics has given the Country a feel good factor, and everyone of us a sense of national pride. Britain is great on the world stage.
Olympic fever has brought us together, sparking conversations based on a new found shared enthusiasm for women's hockey, keirin cycling or T53 100m, as well as tracking the latest Team GB position on the medal table.
Behind every Olympian and Paralympian, is an individual story of grit, determination and ambition; an inspirational teacher, a belief that they could emulate their heroes, that one day they too could stand on the podium, head held high as the National Anthem is played. Many an athlete has spoken of the support and encouragement from their families, schools and team-mates, of having a dream, and a plan to turn it into a reality.
From 16 year old gymnast, Amy Tinkler, winning bronze in her first games, to 58 year old equestrian, Nick Skelton, winning gold after seven attempts, each story offers proof that at the root of success is hard work, focus and determination which can harness potential, turning it into sheer brilliance.
Telford Olympians Mickey Bushell and Richie Woodhall understand all too well the sacrifice and dedication needed and the obstacles to be overcome. They had the courage to try and when knocked back to keep on trying.
When the homecoming parade for our heroes is over, when summer drifts into autumn and the euphoria starts to fade, what will be the real legacy?
Undoubtedly, many will be inspired to try out a new sport, or re discover a love of team games. More people will join in the Town Park Run on Saturday mornings and the swimming sessions at Abraham Darby; I hope many will have the opportunity to experience the benefits of sport as a permanent part of their lives. I know that across Telford there will be young people saying: “I can do that too,” and yes they can!
In the end the real legacy will be the way people of all ages emulate our heroes’ determination, perseverance, and ability to overcome obstacles through sheer force of will. It is this attitude, which brings success in all areas of life.
Our Olympians have made us proud; they have also shown us the way to make our dreams come true.