Daniel Gregory’s column: London Games have united a nation in need

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis is a superb role model for the young
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis is a superb role model for the young

Turn back the clock exactly 12 months - London is burning amidst the chaos of the riots and the country is almost in disarray .

Fast-forward 12 months to the past two weeks and the exploits of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farrah & Co really have brought a sense of pride back to a nation in desperate need of a boost.

Great Britain's Mo Farah celebrates with a plastic gold medal after winning the Men's 10,000m Final during day eight of the London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium,, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 4, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Athletics. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Great Britain's Mo Farah celebrates with a plastic gold medal after winning the Men's 10,000m Final during day eight of the London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium,, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 4, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Athletics. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Since the start of the Games though, I have been won over by an event that failed to capture my full gaze in the build-up.

Obviously the success of the likes of Ennis, Farah, Greg Rutherford, Laura Trott and Ben Ainslie have helped capture my attention and the attention of most of the country, but the Games as a whole have been superb.

A great way to gauge this Olympic frenzy is by going on Twitter.

The endless number of Tweets about Usain Bolt’s sensational gold medal in the 100metre final on Sunday highlighted how much the Games have taken the nation by storm.

Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy celebrates Gold in the team sprint final on the first day of the track cycling at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 2, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Cycling Track. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy celebrates Gold in the team sprint final on the first day of the track cycling at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 2, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Cycling Track. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

The overwhelming sense of pride you feel when someone representing Great Britain wins a gold is great.

These athletes are superb role models for future generations .

Finally we can get away from the overpaid, arrogant majority that blight our newspapers and television screens during the football season and act as poor role models for youngsters up and down the country.

It’s not just sports stars that are poor role models though.

Young females have sadly lacked a great sportswoman to look up to for a while now.

I can’t think of anyone better for young girls to look up to right now than Ennis - not only a great athlete, but humble and grounded too.

It’s hard to say just how many young people in Great Britain will be inspired by the achievements of Ennis, Farah & Co, but I’d like to think a lot of local athletics clubs will be welcoming new members in the coming weeks.

The word legacy has been banded around a hell of a lot over the last few years leading up to the Games and I have just dismissed it as public relations blurb.

The achievements of our sporting stars over the last week or so have totally changed my mind.

It will be £9bn well spent if we can inspire the next generation.