- 15 Oct 08, 08:13 AM
At the end of August, as the Olympic extravaganza in Beijing drew to a close, Lord Coe reiterated his desire that London's Games in four years' time would inspire "fewer couch potatoes and more participants".
The 2012 chief said: "The real challenge for our governing bodies, and for sport more broadly, is how many people can you get into the sport off the back of that great moment?"
As long as the rowers and sailors keep producing these great moments, Chris Hoy's mighty pins and his Mr Spock impressions lead to more velodrome glory and Becky Adlington remembers to take off her Jimmy Choos before jumping in the pool, then Coe's dreams could and should be reality.
It seems quite a few of you, possibly millions (we should have some specific figures soon with a UK Sport participation survey), have been buzzing on the back of Team GB's 47 medals (including 19 golds) and ParalympicsGB's 102 (42 gold).
Let's start with the bikes. Hoy's triple glory, the golden girls of Victoria Pendleton, Rebecca Romero and Nicole Cooke, and Bradley Wiggins' flying side-burns, seem to have done wonders to get the nation on two wheels.
A spokesman for Edinburgh RC, one of the UK's largest cycling clubs and based in Hoy's home city, told me he had never heard so many people talking about the sport and that big shop owners were reporting "a shortage in bikes".
Cycling clubs have had unprecedented numbers of people banging the doors down to get on over-subscribed taster sessions, while the manager at Manchester's Velodrome, HQ for all of GB's cyclists before Beijing, said the phone traffic after the Olympics had been "manic".
Mildenhall Cycling Club was sizzling with excitement over the efforts of honorary member Victoria Pendleton and member Ross Edgar, and although it was too early to measure membership increases, club spokesman Mark Burchett said GB success had definitely "raised the profile of cycling" and thanks to other factors like rising fuel costs and obesity, expected no let-up in the increased interest.
Meanwhile, it seems that just about every club and governing body is seeing new arrivals, inspired by feats in Beijing.
Andy Banks, who has overseen Tom Daley's development at Plymouth Diving, and a spokeswoman at Elmbridge Canoe Club, former home to kayaking king Tim Brabants, are rejoicing over the extra enquiries generated for their sports.
Same goes for the rowers. Caroline Searle from GB Rowing said the level of club enquiries and hits on the 'taking part' section on the website for Olympic and adaptive rowing had been huge. And with training just about to restart, the feet of Andy Hodge (coxless four gold medallist) and Co had not "touched the ground" since they returned from China, with countless requests for appearances.
And it's not just youngsters feeling the Olympic love.
Royal Lymington Sailing Club has nurtured every tack and jibe of superstar Ben Ainslie and Yngling champ Pippa Wilson over the last few years, and according to manager Jon Chittock, their golden efforts have got everybody excited, including the "old and bold".
With GB topping the sailing medal table, Lyndsey Bell of the Royal Yachting Association said "kids have been dragging their parents down to their local sailing club". Catherine Rowson, manager at Queen Mary - home to Yngling girls Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb - said: "Even the older ones have told themselves to dust their old boats down and give it a go again."
And swimming pool managers beware - you may have to prepare your venues for something similar with an influx of freshly dusted-down goggles and under-sized trunks.
Having sifted through sack-loads of fan mail and gala requests for Paralympic sensation Sam Hynd and queen of the heels Adlington, Andrew James from Nottinghamshire's top club Nova Centurion SC says swimming is experiencing a "huge upsurge of interest".
It seems people not previously involved in all things aqua are also being drawn in.
A father recently wrote to Nova Canturion saying his son, who has the autistic condition Asperger's Syndrome, was struggling at school, but had been transformed since watching Adlington on TV. He had not only taken up swimming, but swam five days a week to copy her regime. His school results have improved dramatically.
James said: "Stories like this are worth as much as the medals, especially to Hynd, who knows more than most how important swimming can be in overcoming limitations."
Rewind a few weeks to the Paralympics and an ecstatic boccia arena. GB had just won team gold and player Dan Bentley was happy. Very happy. He'll be pushing Bradley Wiggins for the super-zealous celebration award, although Wiggy may be discounted after inviting a taxi bonnet to his gold medal party.
Boccia, along with wheelchair rugby, was my surprise package of the Paralympics and the national boss Chris Fitzgerald has seen a hugely encouraging increase in enquiries, revealing how the sport was proving to be a uniting force.
"Boccia is getting bigger and bigger - for disabled and non-disabled athletes - anybody can play. It's not a physical sport. Being non-disabled doesn't necessarily mean you have an advantage."
The sight GB stars waving their medals on the podium isn't the only thing to have got the nation moving. Scottish Cycling's performance manager Gary Willis believes it was the cycling events themselves, rather than the personalities, that captured the public's imagination.
A massed blur of riders, team-mates pulling each other's hands and seemingly random bursts of sprinting. It could only be the Madison. Bemusing, but utterly compulsive Olympic viewing and Willis said: "Kids keep telling me they want to be part of the Madison racing."
And it's not just the hot velodrome action encouraging a new generation of cyclists. "Although everyone has watched the track racing on TV, the mountain biking is seen by many as their pathway into cycling. It's growing massively," Willis added.
So enough about everybody else. It's over to you. What have you been up to since the curtain came down on Beijing and David Beckham played ticket inspector on the great red bus?
Dusted down your old bike, tried your hand at sailing or dug out your old swimming shorts? Do you reckon you could be on a start line in London in 2012?
Or are you one of life's sofa spuds, happy to see others take the glory. I want to hear your thoughts.
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