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Coe’s London 2012 International Inspiration legacy promise reaches 25 million around the world

Lord Coe reveals that pioneering social and sporting London 2012’s international legacy initiative, the International inspiration Programme, has far exceeded target to inspire 12 million children and young people across 20 countries
Two years on from London 2012, the hugely ambitious global programme, the first of its kind associated with an Olympic and Paralympic Games, has now reached over 25 million children and young people
Delivered through a unique and highly successful partnership between UK Sport, British Council, UNICEF UK and the newly established legacy charity ‘International Inspiration’

Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of International Inspiration and London 2012, today revealed that, two years on from the home Games, the UK’s pioneering International Inspiration Programme, a sporting and social legacy initiative that underpinned the British bid to host the Games, has exceeded all expectations in reaching over 25 million children and young people across 20 countries around the world.
Conceived from a promise made by Lord Coe in Singapore in 2005 to ‘reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport’, the programme has far surpassed its original ambition to inspire 12 million children and young people in 20 countries around the world.

The final evaluation report on the International Inspiration programme, undertaken by the independent evaluation and monitoring organisation Ecorys UK explored whether the programme had achieved its objectives, the impact of the programme and the extent to which it had delivered a sustainable legacy. The report found that the programme contributed to positive change at three levels of society:

  • over 25 million children and young people have been inspired
  • over 250,000 practitioners (teacher, coaches and leaders) have been trained, giving future generations around the world a stronger, more sustainable foundation to build local and national sporting systems and structures
  • 55 national policies, strategies and legislative changes have been influenced

The Ecorys report states that these changes have contributed to “wider benefits for children and young people” in the 20 countries that have benefitted, “including healthier lifestyles, increased engagement in education, personal development and social inclusion.”
Lord Coe, chair of International Inspiration, said: “It’s nearly ten years ago that I made a promise to ‘reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport’, and nearly a decade on we will have inspired over 25 million children and young people around the world by providing education and sporting opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

“I am incredibly proud that we managed to make a difference, using sport as a tool for development, for so many children and young people all over the world, as a direct result of hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games here in the UK.”  

Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “The UK is a nation that cares passionately about international sport at all levels, and it has been our privilege to have been involved in this unique partnership delivering sport, and the associated benefits, to so many children and young people throughout the world. The International Inspiration Programme has far surpassed all that we imagined it could achieve, and the foundations laid will continue to ensure an enduring international legacy from the London 2012 Games. UK Sport will take the experiences, relationships and friendships created through this programme to continue to champion sport as an important tool for development around the world.” 

Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “The British Council is proud to have played a part in what has been a true success story for the UK. Through International Inspiration we and our partners have not only helped to inspire millions of young people around the world to take part in sport and PE, we have also supported a vision of how sport can be used as part of education. This vision has been embraced by Ministries of Education and Ministries of Sport the world over, helping to create a truly international legacy for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” 

UNICEF UK Executive Director, David Bull said: “To have successfully reached and changed for the better the lives of over 25 million children in 20 countries through the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a huge achievement that we at UNICEF are incredibly proud to have been part of.

“The success of International Inspiration shows us what a unique power sport has to reach children and young people and help them achieve their dreams, even when they are faced with overwhelming poverty and adversity. It is a legacy that we are very much committed to and will live on for many years to come.”

As the delivery partners close the phenomenal first chapter of the international legacy story for the London 2012 Games, another opens as the charity International Inspiration is delighted to have received support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to continue its work to involve, inspire and improve the lives of children, young people and marginalised groups around the world. 
Discussing the funding, Lord Seb Coe, Chair of International Inspiration, said: “This support from DFID illustrates both International Inspiration’s and the Government’s commitment to sustain the legacy of London 2012 by using sport to inspire and change lives around the world.  We welcome this support and look forward to the future with excitement.”