The Courier-Mail

Chance to create a state of winners

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BEYOND the transport and economic benefits of a Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games is a once-ina-generation chance to mould the social fabric of this great state.

Queensland already has one hand on the Olympic rings and we could learn as early as this year whether the world will arrive on our shores in 2032.

We will have 11 years to get these Games right – to build the transport corridors, the fast rail and stadium upgrades to serve the state across those two weeks and for the following decades.

However, the larger, more substantia­l and long-term impact on the state can only be achieved by inspiring the next generation to shoot for the stars.

Our current crop of Olympic Games stars was born around the same time as Cathy Freeman walked the stairs towards the cauldron in Sydney.

These are the goose-bump moments that motivate young people to dream of one day achieving a similar feat.

But we must instead focus on our ability to develop a new generation of children who play sport as frequently as they use the internet. Today about one-quarter of Australian children are overweight.

While there are many contributi­ng factors, an obvious one is an indoor lifestyle filled with tablet screens and couches.

The nation’s backyards are getting smaller and homes are now packed in like sardines.

Children do not have the same access to those outdoor spaces.

That is why the Queensland government must use the decade ahead to develop a strong focus on community facilities and grassroots sport. Sporting facilities are often the centre of the community.

The weekend fundraisin­g barbecues and working bees prove what can be achieved when a team of like-minded people get together with a common purpose.

The 2032 Olympic Games is Queensland’s chance to deliver economic and infrastruc­ture benefits which will facilitate state growth for decades, but it’s equally important the state’s next generation is inspired to use sport and foster a better community.

That will be the true, lasting impact of the Games.

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