A lasting legacy

With next year’s London Olympics fast approaching, and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games not far behind, SGB Sports talks to the organisers of both events to find out what sporting legacy they hope the UK will be left with in the years to come.

Big sporting events will always capture the imagination of the British public. Take the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for instance, when it is almost impossible to book yourself onto a court for two weeks in mid-summer. While a football World Cup or European Championship may not have as quite an impact, there is still an up-swell in demand for related products as more people look to try their hand, or foot, at the sport in question.

The London 2012 Olympic Games and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games provide such a springboard for participation, even greater so as they provide a showcase for a number of different sports, many of which the British public will not have played for a long time, if ever before.

This will hopefully boost sales for sports retailers both around the time of the events, and in the longer term, should the aspirations of both the Scottish Government and the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) become reality.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games are great opportunities to inspire people to get involved in sport. In Britain we love watching sport but we’d like more people to participate.

“We are hoping for ‘gold medal moments’ for British athletes in a number of sports which will shine a spotlight on individual sports and have an impact on participation.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “The Commonwealth Games can act as a catalyst for showcasing sports people may not have tried but have always wanted to.

“All 17 sports involved in the 2014 Commonwealth Games have the opportunity to raise their profile. As Delhi [host of the 2010 Commonwealth Games] showed, the Games can help create new heroes as well as showcasing existing talents which can only help to inspire others.”

Organisers of both the London and Glasgow events have broad aims to engage with the public before, during and after the events. “We are clear about the Games impacting on all of Scotland’s people and communities and this very much involves engaging with harder to reach groups,” the Scottish Government spokesperson said. “The most successful Games are those that engage with the host nation.

“The Games for Scotland programme, which celebrated the handover to Glasgow and Scotland [from Delhi, India] has already helped to engage with people and communities across Scotland. All 32 local authorities took part through a range of activities to celebrate the Games coming to Scotland, including a promotion to get Scotland dancing and other local sport-based events.

“We are keen to build on these events and encourage local communities to get involved and take part in the range of legacy activities out there.”

For more, see March issue of SGB Sports.