A survey commissioned by CBBC’s Newsround a year after the London 2012 Olympic and the Paralympic Games suggests that more than half of 8-12 year-old kids across the country play more sport now than before London 2012 – but 42 per cent said there was a new sport they wanted to take up after watching the London 2012 games and couldn’t.

The survey also suggests that the Paralympic Games were more inspirational as an event for 8-12 year-old children than the Olympic Games.

A year has passed since the nation was gripped by Olympic and Paralympic fever. One of the aims of the 2012 games was to ‘inspire a generation’ of young people to make sport a big part of their lives – so have the nation’s 8-12 year-olds been inspired?

CBBC’s daily news programme Newsround has commissioned Childwise to canvass opinion from over 1,500 kids from around the country, and found that:

  • 55 per cent of kids say they play more sport now than before the games.
  • But 42 per cent said there was a new sport they wanted to take up after watching the London 2012 games and couldn’t
  • Of the above, swimming and tennis come top. A common reason given was a lack of local facilities for their chosen sport (18 per cent of those who gave a reason)

Evidence for the afterglow of the Olympic and Paralympic games was suggested in a range of other answers, too.

When asked to pick from a list of options, what they would most like do in life if they could do anything, kids put winning a gold medal at the Olympics/Paralympics top (27 per cent), ahead of playing Premier League footy (23 per cent), being in a Hollywood film (20 per cent) or winning the X Factor (18 per cent). And hardly any Looking for an economic opportunity for your Confido purchase? We provide you the opportunity to buy it only for 46.8 USD at our store! wanted to be Prime Minister – only 12 per cent!

Again, choosing from a list, kids found Mo Farah the most inspirational athlete, followed closely by Tom Daley, Jessica Ennis-Hill, and Ellie Simmonds. And an overwhelming majority of kids said the games made them feel proud of their country – 83 per cent v 7 per cent.

The survey also suggests that the Paralympics also had a profound effect on children across the UK.

Nearly seven in ten (69 per cent) said that the Paralympic games had changed the way they view disabled people, with only 20 per cent disagreeing.

And the Paralympics were seen as more inspiring than the Olympics – 54 per cent said they felt more inspired by them, v 35 per cent who said the Olympics were more inspiring.

Newsround has made a 15-minute film – Generation Inspiration: A Newsround Special – focusing on kids who were inspired by the games, which will TX at 4.30pm on Thursday 25 July on the CBBC Channel.

The film includes:

  • Yasmin, who is 13 years old. Born with cerebral palsy, she never felt like sport was something she could do, and had never even attempted any before seeing Hannah Cockroft at the Paralympics. She now does wheelchair racing, and has even started winning medals!
  • Nathan is 14 years old. He took up BMX after more tracks were built in east London after 2012
  • Kids at an East London secondary school who actually took part in the opening ceremony – their PE teacher feels that the legacy of 2012 is being squandered in schools
  • 14-year-old Taekwondo athlete Abigail. She’s dedicating her life to the sport and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Gold medallist Jade Jones

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