May 4 - The 10 winning projects organised by further and higher education staff and students to contribute to the delivery of London 2012 were announced at a glittering Podium Awards ceremony here at the closest venue to the Olympic Stadium.
The black-tie ceremony at the luxurious venue was attended by over 350 guests, including London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton, International Paralympic Committee chief executive Xavier Gonzalez and senior representatives from over 50 institutions whose projects won gold, silver or bronze awards.
The winning gold projects spanned nine categories but the tenth, the "Coubertin's Olympic Vision" award, was voted for by the public at over 7,000 ballots during the last week.
Considered the most prestigious prize, the award acknowledges the project that most lives up to the ideals of sport blended with culture and education fostered by the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, with the award presented by his great-grandnephew, Antoine de Navacelle.
The victorious project was Loughborough College's "Flames", developed in partnership with the British Heart Foundation to establish an active legacy for children and young people following London 2012.
The programme trained 25,000 young leaders to deliver fun Olympic-themed sport and health activities to young children, and culminated in a number of festivals organised by students, which recreated the Olympic Torch Relay where all children enjoyed the chance to run with Loughborough College's genuine 1948 Olympic Torch.
"Colleges and universities have played an integral role in supporting London 2012," said Deighton.
"I congratulate all of the Podium Awards winning projects on their exceptional work.
"The 230 projects nominated all serve as a tremendous example of how the power of the Games is being used to inspire people to make a real and lasting difference."
The nine panel-judged gold winners were selected from a shortlist of 27 projects, in categories ranging from education, research and sport to culture, volunteering and international collaboration.
The gold-winning projects included extremely diverse schemes with different goals and all with genuine impact, such as Bradford College's "Female Boxing" programme (pictured above) which won thanks to its successful attempt to inspire greater female participation in the sport.
Another gold winner was King's College London and GlaxoSmithKline's London 2012-inspired educational outreach programme, "Scientists in Sport", which aims to encourage scientific career choices among 11 to 14-year-olds.
Canterbury-based Christ Church University's "Sports Classification" project picked up gold after it established an evidence-based system of sports classification for people with intellectual disabilities.
Meanwhile, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts' 'Balloons' project (pictured below) was recognised for its ability to promote – via motivational and community arts workshops – self-belief, motivation and dedication through music, dance, colour and performance.
"The enormous range of skills and approaches demonstrated, combined with the consistently high quality of the projects that were submitted for the Podium Awards, was absolutely astounding," said Gareth Smith, the head of Podium.
"The competition was fierce and we were delighted to see such a vast selection of ideas and activities which will genuinely impact on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and their legacy.
"We extend our congratulations to all the gold, silver and bronze winners, and especially to Loughborough College, the winner of the 'Coubertin's Olympic Vision' prize, whose project so clearly resonated with the public.
"We would also like to thank all the participating colleges and universities for their submissions, and all the Awards evening guests whose attendance helped to make it the remarkable success that it was."
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