Chemmy Alcott  Chemmy Alcott   Mar 2021   3 min read   119 views

In summer 2012, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the London Olympics. Seeing the incredible positivity surrounding sport, whether it be the 100 metre final or BMX’ing filled me with joy and excitement about a ‘new age’ of sport that would begin to take over society!

I know how fortunate I am to have lived a life through sport and learn so many life lessons from it. However, having been an ambassador for youth sport in the UK I have quickly become aware of the dangerous culture within the sporting world of only playing those who are good instead of giving everyone a go.

For me, sport is about so much more than winning. I know it’s a cliché but up until a certain level, it really is the taking part that counts. And so post 2012 I believed we finally had a platform that would showcase that in the biggest way possible.

Unfortunately, and surprisingly, that would not be the case.

Post the London Olympics the participation level in PE of young girls nose-dived. Sadly, we didn’t manage to capitalise on all the amazing female sporting heroes that our home Olympics created. Instead, their winning became intimidating to those who didn’t have the self-confidence to believe they were good enough to win. This sadly led a lot of girls to stop trying and engaging with sport, and even worse, stop attending their PE lessons and clubs.

I visited schools up and down the country to try and install all the positive traits that doing sport brings. Attempting to explain that winning is, in reality, the least important aspect of the sport and, in fact, learning how to deal with losing and failure is one of sport’s most empowering strengths. Through playing sport and making mistakes we learn to take responsibility for our actions and discover opportunities for improvement.

Working as a team and communicating with our peers are skills that aren’t just useful on the sports pitch. They can also be used during your non-sporting life. I certainly know I have taken many of the qualities that I’ve learnt through playing sport and utilised them during my day to day activities.

Sport is so broad that we needed to listen to what young people wanted. A huge part of this was a big focus on dance, yoga and other more creative and expressive forms of sport. It didn’t matter what pupils focused on or where they channelled their energy as long as it made them confident enough in themselves to keep doing it!

We called this project ‘X-Elle’. The project aimed to move away from excelling and move towards making your mark as a young woman and using sport to do so.

It is something I am truly proud to have been part of.

Sport isn’t always about data and winning. Sometimes it can be enough that it just makes you smile and takes your mind off the real world!