Bidding for London to become the Host City, Sebastian Coe pledged to use the London 2012 Games to ‘inspire a generation of young people to participate in more sport and physical activity.’ The commitment to that pledge was reflected throughout the Games, starting with the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games when seven young, aspiring athletes were given the honour of lighting the Cauldron.
31 members of Team GB and ParalympicsGB were aged under 18. 30 of them were competing in their first Games. At just 17 years of age Ellie Simmonds took home two gold medals, a silver and a bronze in swimming, while Jade Jones, aged just 19 became the youngest gold medal winner for Team GB when she won the Taekwondo Olympic final and Josef Craig of ParalympicsGB won gold at 15 years of age, and set a new world record in the men’s 400m freestyle S7.
Off the field of play, the youngest Torchbearer in the Olympic Torch Relay, Dominic McGowan, was 12, and for the first time ever scouts lit the Paralympic Flame. 212 young people from Get Set network schools were selected to carry the Olympic Flame in the Torch Relay and half of all Olympic Torchbearers were young people. More than 2000 Young Games Makers were under 18.
Over 2000 young people formed a Guard of Honour for Team GB and other athletes from the competing teams at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games.