Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Help our athletes

Ever since we were handed the Olympics in 2005, we’ve been sold the idea that we’re a nation of sports lovers. I won’t mention the obesity crisis. But at least Strictly Come Dancing beat X Factor in the Saturday night ratings this year. I don’t know many people who play sport once they build their careers or have children. But there are those who make it work, come rain or shine. And even when they’re juggling two jobs so they can actually compete in their sport. So it’s highly disappointing to see this weekend’s headlines that many athletes’ funding will be cut.

I don’t know who is responsible for this decision within the WCPP (World Class Performance Programme) but in this crucial year, it’s hard not to feel angered on behalf of the dedicated athletes who are losing out. I might not be able to compete in anything other than toddler wrestling, but for those who can and want to be there for their country, it’s a shame all those sports lovers in power aren’t helping them more. After all, can you imagine Beijing’s athletes having to stack shelves in the supermarket?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sportswoman of the year

Having blogged about Mark Cavendish’s achievements back in September, I feel its only fair to big up the achievements of Taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson. She has just been named Sportswoman of the year 2011.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’ve never seen Taekwondo either. So I’ve done a bit of digging and have found out that she won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. She then took time out to care for her terminally ill parents. Both her mother and father were diagnosed at the beginning of this year with cancer and a brain tumour respectively. So it’s amazing that she then went on to win the World Championships in Korea in May. In addition, she beat Open Water World Champion Keri-Anne Payne, swimmer Rebecca Adlington and jockey Hayley Turner to the award. Not bad.

But what’s especially great about this is the fact that a sport that many of us don’t know has been recognised. And what’s more, we should celebrate all of the finalists’ achievements, particularly in the shocking absence of any women on this year’s BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year list. Shame on you BBC!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The competition's hotting up

News about next year’s Olympics is coming in thick and fast these days. The TV was jam packed with Olympics ads, and this has been tempered only by the arrival of Christmas. I expect January to burst off the blocks with more of these fancy ads. It seems every athlete has been signed up by big sponsors to push their brand. Is there anyone not sponsoring Jess Ennis?! I just hope the ads become a little more diverse. At the moment, they just make me feel guilty for not exercising more. I want those sculpted arms, but even more so, I want a ticket to see an actual event.

We’ve had a run on ticket competitions of late – particularly galling was the competition on The Sun’s website. You had to pay £3.50 to enter to win. I wonder if this money is going back into the Games? With News International behind them, I doubt it. But they’re not the only ones. LloydsTSB, First Direct, Visa and Proctor & Gamble (Fairy, Flash & Lenor etc) have already been giving away top tickets. This feels like short change for Londoners whose tax is subsidising the Games. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned by now, it’s that money and sport go hand in hand. And that’s probably why I don’t have tickets…