There will be no golden legacy
How predictable the suggestion that Olympic medals will lead to a legacy of increased participation in minority sports. Apparently there will now be a flood of young girls taking up hockey after Great Britain’s fortunate (in the final at least) gold medal performance in Rio
It’s a lovely thought, especially with obesity stats among young folk creeping ever upwards, but it won’t happen, certainly not over a decent period of time.
Just like there wasn’t much of an increase in rugby union participation after England won the 2003 World Cup despite predictions to the contrary.
Us patriots watch anything/ anyone in a GB vest in the Olympics, but in the four years in between we forget about hockey, diving, cycling and gymnastics and watch popular sports instead.
Can anyone remember who wins the medals at the world championships in the above sports?
You probably can’t because, while national newspapers and broadcasters love to act as cheerleaders at an Olympics, they know their audience has different demands for the rest of the time.
World cycling and rowing medals are worthy, but reports occupy a spare paragraph because football, cricket, rugby union and even horse racing remain the sporting kings in the UK.
It’s the basic economic law of supply and demand. Fill the Daily Mail full of hockey reports and I’d stop buying it.
I’m more interested in Liverpool’s left-back problem than which of Great Britain’s winning hockey team is heading to play in a Dutch League next season.
It’s sad perhaps, but a basic truth.
I watched excitedly as GB goalie Maddie Hinch defied Netherlands’ brilliant attacking players to seal the first ladies hockey gold and celebrated when Hollie Webb (right, with Hinch) scored the winning penalty, but if the countries played each other again next week I wouldn’t switch it on.
The Olympics has a mystical hold on this country, especially now we don’t accept a solitarty medal in a road-walking event as being a decent return.
We’d all probably watch snail-racing if it became an Olympic sport, as long as one of the molluscs was kitted out in a GB shirt. To be honest snail-racing would be far more exciting to watch than the tae kwon do, horse dancing and sailing events.
No, the only legacy from any Olympics will be a huge debt and a plethora of crumbling, unfit-for-purpose stadia for the hosting city.
The ‘I am Team GB’ initiative is admirable and I hope they achieve their ambition of increasing sports participation, but I fear they are backing a loser, unless all UK schools can be persuaded to do a bit more.
Once the Premier League football season is in full swing interest in hockey and even Tom Daley will nosedive.