John Steele: A year to remember

John Steele reflects on a year to remember and looks forward to 2013 and the priorities for school sport.

There are often big events in our lives that pass us by in a flash and, before you know it, you find yourself reminiscing at what special occasions they were. The anticipation and excitement before a wedding, a special holiday or maybe the birth of a first child for example - the build up can be intense, the day then comes and you have a fantastic time, and then you move on. When we look back at 2012 in a sporting context, I think it feels a bit like that.

What a year for sport it has been. Watching BBC Sports Personality of the Year recently really brought it home to me that 2012 has been very special. From the incredible success of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games which united the nation in a celebration of sport, through to the achievements of sports stars like Andy Murray and the Ryder Cup team - we've had something to celebrate at every turn.

At the Youth Sport Trust, we have also had much to cheer. A personal highlight for me being the Sainsbury's School Games, where we hosted the national event at the Olympic Park just weeks before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

It is likely to be many years before we repeat the sporting success of the last 12 months, but 2013 will present us with a range of new challenges and opportunities - especially for school sport. We cannot let the interest and inspiration that 2012 has created be lost,  we simply must continue to build on the momentum. I recently announced a strand of the Youth Sport Trust's legacy commitment which is called Lead your generation. At the heart of this is young people driving legacy plans in their schools and communities and maximising the heightened interest in sport amongst school pupils. The voice young people have can be very powerful and it is important that they are heard when it comes to what legacy in our schools should look like.

The recent announcements from UK Sport and Sport England demonstrate that there is a commitment to continue to fund and deliver increased opportunities at the elite and community level for years to come. In 2013, my desire is for school sport to come to the fore and for the focus to be on how we engage even more young people in PE and sport. We need to able to support every young person - from those who have the promise to go on to become future champions - to demonstrating how sport can be used to reach young people who may be at risk of dropping out of school life completely.

We all have fond memories of the great sporting events that have taken place in 2012. Whilst these will not be forgotten, in 2013 we should focus on the generation that can benefit most from this inspirational year.

Latest news

New data showing 2.1 million children inactive is 'unacceptable' says charity

Children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust has responded to new research showing that levels of physical activity among young people are increasing - but still ‘unacceptably’ low in schools.
Continue Reading

Charity puts pedal power behind Giving Tuesday

Loughborough employees from the Youth Sport Trust have swapped office attire for cycling shorts and trainers to pedal 108 miles in a day on a bike.
Continue Reading

'Young voices can be ignored no longer' say more than 140 children's orgranisations

More than 140 children's charities and organisations have made calls for children to be prioritised in Parliament when the next Government is formed. The National Children's Bureau has led calls through an open letter.
Continue Reading

Girls inspired and empowered to help peers become more active

The Girls Active Inspiration Day has returned for its fourth year in Northern Ireland.
Continue Reading