Three quarters of Britain's young people say the Olympics won't inspire them to do more sport

While more than two thirds of the nation's 16-25-year-olds are excited about the Games, they aren't anywhere near as keen on physical activity...

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Three quarters of Britain's young people say the Olympics won't inspire them to do more sport
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Tom Cole

Funnily enough for an event sponsored by McDonalds, Coca Cola and Cadbury, the London 2012 Games hasn’t done much in the way of inspiring our nation’s youth to take up more sport, with 74% of Britain’s 16-25-year-olds saying that the Olympics won’t affect their levels of physical activity one jot.

The findings come from a survey carried out for BBC3’s Free Speech programme, which tonight features Jake Humphrey chairing a debate about the economic impact of the Olympics on Britain’s under-30s.

And while 61% of the survey’s 500 respondents said they were excited about the Games, the familiar sight of Team GB flogging watches and shampoo on TV hasn’t proved compelling enough to convince nearly three quarters of those polled to get involved in sport.

Of the youngsters quizzed, 86% also said they didn’t believe the Games would make any sort of positive contribution to their personal finances (presumably because the IOC’s coming down hard on t-shirt bootleggers and the like).

More cheerfully though, 73% believed that the Games would be of economic benefit to the UK and 71% said that Blighty’s hosting of the Olympics made them feel proud to be British.

“Generally young people are positive towards the Olympics," said research agency ComRes, which carried out the survey. "They are excited about it, it makes them proud to be British, and they agree that there will be financial benefits to the country as a whole.

“However, young people do not think that it will benefit them personally in a financial sense, nor do they particularly think that it has encouraged them to take up more sport.”

The poll forms the basis of some of tonight’s discussion on Free Speech, which kicks off on BBC3 at 8:00pm and will feature appearances from Labour MP Rushanara Ali and Skills Minister John Hayes on the programme’s panel.

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