Tessa Jowell speech in full

Jowell is MP for Dulwich and West Norwood
Jowell is MP for Dulwich and West Norwood

Conference, it was an incredible summer of sport and culture – one whose shared memories will bind us for years to come.

In this session we are going to answer the question and introduce to you some of the people it takes to make an Olympic champion.

And so many thanks are due.

But let me begin by saying thank you Manchester. Had it not been for your inspirational Commonwealth Games in 2002, we would not have had the courage to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

During those long years of preparation, when the doubters said it would cost too much, that the buildings would not be ready, that the public would not come, we always knew it would work. 

So to all those 40,000 construction workers, apprentices and contractors from all over the country who built the Olympic Park on budget and on time, thank you.

The trades unions whose partnership with the contractors and the Olympic Delivery Authority delivered the biggest construction project in Europe with not even one reportable accident, let alone a death, of a worker in the Olympic Park. That is unprecedented and you did that. Thank you.

Seb, Paul and Jonathan, and the outstanding organising committee which always stood aside from party politics even after the election. It proved Harry Truman was right when he observed that it is remarkable what a small group of people can achieve together when they don't care who gets the credit. We all did that together and thank you.

To the games makers, 70,000 representatives of the best of the British people, and thank you to the millions – 13 million who welcomed the torch to their communities across the UK, and the millions who cheered our Olympic and Paralympic athletes to such extraordinary success – thank you.

To all our athletes who after years of support from scores of people did it on the day and who showed what talent, unremitting hard work and raw courage can achieve – we thank you and we salute you.

Conference, in 1996 in Atlanta we won one gold medal, in London we won 29. It was the sustained and well-directed investment of public money in coaching and facilities which made that leap from the playground to the podium possible.

When you were watching the Olympic and Paralympic summer was anyone out there thinking that Britain was broken? I don't think so.

This summer we showed ourselves as we are at our best: a country of progressive values, with an inclusive and joyous patriotism which celebrated our open, diverse and tolerant society. 

It was a terrible summer for prejudice, intolerance and cynisism.

Our modern Britishness so perfectly embodied.

Mo Farah, a man from Somalia, wrapped in the Union flag, as proud to be one of us as we are proud of him.

And Nicola Adams who not only showed that there are no no-go areas in sport, but that there is not men's sport and women's sport, but just sport. 

And our Paralympians who showed us that disability is not a bar to athletic greatness. On the contrary: the limiting factor for any athlete in any sport in any circumstance is what his or her body can be pushed to do, which is why so many of our Paralympians proved themselves to be among the greatest athletes in either games.

When we won the right to host the Games we made a promise. That the 2012 Games would inspire a generation. Until the election this was happening in schools across our country. 

The dismantling of this world class organisation for sport in our schools is beyond belief. 

So in order that we keep our promise, I have invited the Government to work beyond party to develop the facilities, coaching and curriculum space so that we keep our Olympic promise to young people across our country. 

Building the next generation of Olympic champions starts with that – a plan for sport at every level. Showing the young people of our country that when we said we would inspire a generation, we meant it.

Because a moment like the summer of 2012 comes along just once in a lifetime. 

When we all come together it shows what we can do. 

Thank you.

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