HOW were the Beijing Olympics for you?

Have they made you more excited about the Olympics we will be staging in 2012?

It would be a pity if worries about costs and our ability to stage an impressive event were to crowd out an expectation that our athletes will rise to the occasion.

I must say I was inclined to be rather downbeat about our medal prospects in Beijing.

However, I was pleased to be caught up in the excitement which our unfolding success generated.

I think we should now take very seriously the need to make a success of the London Olympics in every way. We are committed to staging the 2012 Games and we should exploit the opportunity to the full, both inside and outside the various venues.

In terms of potential medal winners, I hope people in our area have taken inspiration from the performance of Team GB.

It should be a case of “if them, why not me?”

Facilities for taking part in sport have greatly improved. Willingness to take part might, hopefully, increase.

There is not a velodrome in every town, but there are still plenty of opportunities of access to a wide range of activities and disciplines.

One of the prime lessons to be learned from the success in Beijing is that money matters. If the resources are available, the best coaches can be hired and the best facilities provided.

Thank goodness for the national lottery. Let us get it back to its original purposes so that more money can be allocated to improving sport in Halstead, Braintree, Sudbury and in other local communities.

Preparation for the Olympics provides work and business opportunities for many people well outside the circle of aspiring medal winners.

Essex County Council will gladly provide advice and encouragement in the forging of links which will make the Olympics meaningful to our own area.