In the gap between the Olympics and Paralympics there’s been a great deal of chatter about the ‘Legacy’ from London 2012 and Rio.
Leaving aside the parlous state of Brazil’s economy and the outrage that is the funding gap for the Paralympics we need to look at how or if things have changed.
Speaking from what I see around the streets, trails and coastline of Cornwall there has been a huge rise in participation in two activities - running and cycling.
I first decided to organise a 5K fun run, sponsored by Rugged Interactive, during Fowey’s Regatta week in 2012 and so this year’s event marks 5 years - and from my very personal point of view, more people than ever before are taking part and are more prepared.
It’s wonderful to see a mass participation fitness event taking place around the week’s other activities, although no-one would want to miss the Pasty Eating Contest or the Carnival!
It’s also very clear when driving around just how many cyclists there are on the road, especially in London. When I lived there during the late 80’s until 2006 it often felt as though I was the only cyclist on the road - it was definitely a novelty to come across more than a few others on my 15 mile commute. Now there are pelotons weaving through every main road.
Park Runs are becoming huge, and triathlon is the fastest growing sport in the country…
Where has this come from? And why isn’t it being reflected in the stats widely discussed?
The figures come from Sport England (and the other government quangos around the UK) and they are specifically designed to reflect the current government policy. i.e. reduction of investment in sport and activities at all levels and destruction of playing fields. Ironically, the recent Olympic success is Lottery funded!
If mass participation was shown to have increased after 2012 then we’d all be shouting for more of the same - but of course if the figures show a downturn then it’s easy for politicians (of all colours) to say “Well, we tried and it didn’t work so we won’t invest more”.
Overly cynical? Perhaps. But what do you see around you?