03/08/12: Sport and recreation in the news this week

Photo of The Sport and Recreation Alliance's CEO Tim LambSo the Olympics are now in full swing after Danny Boyle's magnificent homage to all things British won over the sceptical British public and showcased the very best of British culture, achievement and eccentricities, although I fear the Beeb may have covered it better than some overseas broadcasters!

The Games have already shown us how the world of sports media is constantly evolving. Dubbed the 'social media Games', they have proved to be just that with sometimes unintended consequences as the cycling road race organisers found out.

However, despite these new frontiers being explored in media, unfortunately familiar, less savoury themes have returned. Despite London 2012 providing the most extensive drug testing ever before seen at a major sporting event sadly, once again, doping accusations have come to the forefront of people’s thoughts.

Ye Shiwen’s astonishing victory in the 400m individual medley drew doping accusations thanks to the nature of both her margin of victory and the scale of her own improvement.

Whilst we all want a 'clean' Games, in this case there is no evidence at all of foul play. Ye Shiwen has never failed a drugs test and although the scale of her improvement was huge, such improvements do have precedents in young athletes, so let her enjoy her victory without cynicism or innuendo.

On a more positive note and after a tentative start, Team GB have most certainly been getting the hang of winning those medals!

It's been a great week for women's sport, with cyclist Liz Armistead winning silver in the women's road race – Team GB's first medal of London 2012. This was followed by Helen Glover and Heather Stanning's rowing victory –  not only the first women ever to win rowing gold for Great Britain, but our first gold medallists of the Games.

Bradley Wiggins then stormed to victory in the cycling time trials on Wednesday - showing that he must be considered as one of the greatest athletes British of all time. This was closely followed by another of Britain's greatest athletes, Sir Chris Hoy and team, securing a gold medal and world record in the men's team sprint yesterday.

And with further golds also being won in canoeing and shooting yesterday, I think it's now safe to say that Great Britain are definitely out of the blocks.

During the week I was also lucky enough to watch the men’s team gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena, and was delighted to see them secure an historic bronze.

British Gymnastics is one of the success stories of recent years and the Alliance recently visited Swindon to find out about one of the innovative schemes they have been using to secure facilities for the future.

In these tough times, seeking out initiatives like these will help us as a sector to utilise the surge of interest these games have created – ensuring that London 2012 does forge the sporting legacy that it has intended to do. Enjoy the rest of the Games.


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