Award-winning broadcaster and writer Lemn Sissay OBE has reprised his role as one of the official poets for the London 2012 Olympic Games with a specially commissioned new poem for Team GB.
The poem, titled In The 7th Month provides the soundtrack to a new short film released by Team GB today (Wednesday 27 July) to mark the ten-year anniversary of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. Sissay was one of five poets commissioned for London 2012 as part of a project aiming to use poetry to inspire athletes and spectators.
In Team GB’s new film, Sissay’s latest poem is voiced by double Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad, who was born and raised in east London, a few miles from what later became the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The taekwondo athlete won a bronze medal in his Olympic debut at London 2012 before returning to claim silver in Rio 2016, and has ambitions to make Paris 2024 his third Olympic Games.
Fittingly, In The 7th Month ends with a look ahead to Paris: many current Team GB athletes with hopes to compete in 2024 credit London 2012 among their major inspirations. Before later going on to compete for Team GB themselves, Dina Asher-Smith and Laviai Nielsen both volunteered as bag carriers for London; Desiree Henry was one of seven young athletes who lit the Olympic cauldron at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony; and Tom Dean was in the crowd for the Olympic trials at the Aquatic Centre aged just 12.
Lemn Sissay said: “The London 2012 Olympic Games aimed to inspire a generation, and I was honoured to be a part of that drive ten years ago as one of the official poets. We set out to inspire athletes and supporters in and around the Olympic venues, but we also wanted our words to last and serve as a reminder of one of what those Games meant for generations to come. This work, therefore, felt very special, and a fitting way to pay tribute to the extraordinary achievements of Team GB as they start looking ahead to Paris 2024.”
Lutalo Muhammad said: “I grew up within touching of distance of what later became the Olympic Park, so making my Olympic debut at London 2012 was an amazing full-circle experience for me. I’ve seen up close what impact that Games had and continues to have on the sporting community, with so many of today’s athletes, myself included, inspired by the incredible successes of Team GB at a home Games. Now sights are on Paris 2024, which is as close to a home Games as it gets for Team GB, so it’s going to be special.”