OPINION: Medals may leave legacy

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Legacy is a word that is almost as synonymous with the Olympic Games these days as the original values of ‘Faster Higher Stronger’.

What it actually means is open to the interpretation of whoever is using ‘legacy’ in their particular argument.

When Lord Coe used the concept in his speech to the International Olympic Committee eight years ago in Singapore he surely couldn’t have thought people would throw it back to him for causes as diverse as Don Valley Stadium being demolished and funding being withdrawn at an elite level from sports such as basketball and water polo.

In a perfect world there would be an open chequebook to give our sportsmen and women the facilities and backing that they need to compete on the world stage.

Unfortunately, priorities have to be made, budgets have to be cut and decisions are taken that sometimes aren’t universally popular.

However, one sporting legacy is developing in front of our eyes at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Ski Village, opened in 1988, at Parkwood Springs in Sheffield now lays derelict. But before fire razed it to the ground in April 2012 it was home to young people who have set the standard in freestyle skiing across the United Kingdom.

On Sunday Bristol’s Jenny Jones became the first Briton to win an Olympic medal in a snow event when she was awarded bronze in the slopestyle snowboard discipline.

There could be more, though, when Sheffield’s Katie Summerhayes (today), James Woods (Thursday) and James Machon (next Tuesday) get into the action. All took their first steps into the sport at the Ski Village and are sure to inspire thousands of others to give it a go in the coming weeks.

It’s a shame that they won’t be able to do that in Sheffield. Plans to build houses on the Ski Village site will end any hopes of one day reopening the venue.

In its day it was one of the best in Europe and it would be a fitting ‘legacy’ if Katie or one of the James’ were able to bring a medal back home.