Citizenship - Everyone's a superstar

A former Olympian is helping children to reach their goals

Jo Knowsley

David Hemery, a former Olympic champion and vice chairman of the British Olympic Association, is no stranger to sporting triumph. So it is fitting that in the year of London 2012 he has established an educational programme to inspire children to "be the best they can be".

In addition to his Olympic medals, Hemery (pictured above) twice won the BBC show Superstars, in 1973 and 1976. But the former athlete's message to young people today, through his educational charity 21st Century Legacy, is not dependent on stamina or even sporting talent. With the motto "inspire, engage, empower", his charity aims to develop what he calls "the spark of greatness in everyone".

The core of the programme is the acronym Grow - goal (what do you want to achieve?); reality (what is happening now?); options (what could you do?) and will (what will you do?) - coupled with a coaching approach that strives to develop self-awareness and responsibility.

Hemery introduces the key elements in a workshop where teachers are coached on how to help children challenge themselves, overcome obstacles and support their peers in their bid to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. The Be the Best You Can Be programme, supported by a national network of coaches and Olympian and Paralympian speakers, can be run over a term or two in primary and secondary schools.

Hemery now aims to build on the programme, which has already been rolled out to 50,000 pupils.

"I am delighted that the most significant feedback from the schools is greater aspiration and increased self-confidence in their young people," he says.

"I am also very pleased that teachers feel more engaged with their pupils and that parents have become aware and supportive of their kids' dreams."

For more information on Be the Best You Can Be, go to

What else?

Use the Olympics to inspire social responsibility with Get_Set_for_London2012's Volunteer and Help a Friend lesson.

Get pupils thinking about Olympic and Paralympic values with MRPHILLLEE's presentation.

In the forums

Teachers are discussing how to teach an Olympics lesson that focuses on RE rather than ethics and citizenship. Share your ideas.

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1924 Olympics, Paris

Marathon runners were waited on by servants who offered them wine and refreshments*.

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Jo Knowsley

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