Wow, this has been some summer of sport and now the overwhelming excitement and incredible action continues at the Paralympics.
I was lucky enough to visit the Games on saturday, experiencing first-hand the women’s wheelchair basketball and men’s 7-a-side football. I have never watched either before and wasn’t completely familiar with the rules, and yet both events were brilliantly entertaining.
And I wasn’t alone, every single person watching with me was having a fantastic day. This was evident from the genuine support and warmth emanating from the crowd to the competitors, and whilst this aspect has been widely reported, it deserves further comment.
For most of my life I have been a huge sports fan, but one frustrated by the lack of coverage not just women’s sport, but also minority sport. I use the term minority reluctantly as that is how the media and broadcasters refer to sports that they choose to rarely report on, or cover. The argument is that just not enough people are interested to justify the coverage… really I don’t need to go on do I? Here is the evidence that they are, in all it’s glorious, noisy, red, white and blue flag waving.
Of course this is an extraordinary time and no doubt exaggerates the day in, day out appetite for elite sport. But it has been a time when the British public have proved that if you present a sport well, with background information, facts, rules and introduce us to the athletes, then we will not only watch it, but embrace it too.
In a nutshell if you give any sport the same build-up as gifted to football, rugby, athletics etc then the public will get behind it. After all there is nothing exciting about watching a bunch of men run round and round in circles unless you understand what is going on.
There has been so much talk about legacy, the legacy that helps get the nation active. But how about a legacy that sees more variety of sport in the papers and on the TV, and a legacy that follows the continuing careers of some of our previously unsung hero’s and continues to support and celebrate these incredible role models.
Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine