Inspiring. The epitome of Team GB at Rio Olympic Games 2016. From Trott and Kenny dominating the podium, Whitlock tumbling his way to gold and Adams swinging her way to victory, GB definitely made their mark on the Olympics this year. A young population of sporting talent look upon these athletes as role models, motivated to one day stand shoulder to shoulder with those they admire. So, how are the athletes inspiring the younger generation and is this legacy here to last? And, how is this relatable to a business environment?
The number of Brits participating in sport peaked during London 2012 with 15.9 million of the population training at least once a week. This has declined since to 15.8, a slight decrease but this is significant. According to Sports England, there has been a surge of people signing up to gymnastics, with 37,000 signing up in 2014 and 51,000 in 2015, numbers are expected to rise again this year.
To breed talent, we need to inspire and invest in our younger generation. A photo from 2004, circulated the media during the Rio Olympics, of a young Laura Trott grinning from ear to ear, with Bradley Wiggins gold medal hanging around her neck and his hand on her shoulder. 12 years later she is celebrating 2 gold medals and creating a legacy of her own.
But it’s not only the raw talent of individuals that gets them competition ready. It takes years and years of training, graft and dedication. It’s also a financially draining path to embark upon. But with the deep pocket of lottery funding, sport has now become a serious sporting investment for Britain. The majority of monetary supplementation is pumped into the sports we think we can medal in. The evidence of which is apparent in the medal table, Team GB made a huge impact at the cycling, gymnastics and rowing in Rio. But what about hockey and boxing? We managed to grab a couple of golds in those too.
We need to nurture the young prospects within our country, we have the aptitude, we have the resources so maybe we should invest more in the grassroots sports. Instead of ploughing the majority of funding into the elite, we have untapped potential within state schools and sports clubs that experience little or no investment from the £355 million Lottery Fund. The new ‘I Am Team GB’ is a good start, taking place at the Ricoh arena it’s a chance for young athletes to meet sporting superstars and celebrate Rio Olympic success. Hundreds of venues throughout the country will play host to the ‘sports day,’ in an attempt to encourage people to get active. Plus, new initiatives from Sport Wales and England suggest more funding will be focussed on objectives to encourage more people to exercise.
The nurturing of talent goes beyond sports; it is of upmost importance within a business capacity too. Invest in the talent within your business, it will be beneficial to the company and its employees. When people feel like they are valued, they will work optimally for a business they feel like they are contributing to, developing and can evolve with. Like the GB athletes, the workforce will go for gold, if you invest time and your resources in them.
Although we received medals across 19 sports in this years olympics, there was some disappointment with our performance on the track and field (apart from Mo Farah’s golden performances). With talented athletes not quite hitting the mark, the competition has opened up for young athletes to come through the ranks ahead of the WWC in London in 2017.
Emerging GB talent, Adam Gemili said: “The way we’re going by the time London comes around it’d be great to get three Brits in the sprint finals in the 100m and 200m”. It will also be interesting to see whether the 2012 and 2016 Olympic legacies will have an impact on tickets sales for the event in the new year. But with Usain Bolt taking to the track for one last hurrah, the event will no doubt be a sell-out.
I love sports, but I will never be an Olympic athlete. However, after being impressed by the sensational display of sporting prowess from the Team GB Olympic athletes in both the 2012 and 2016 games, I will most certainly be purchasing a lottery ticket. Although it is more likely that I podium in Tokyo than win the weekly Jackpot, by investing that £1 in patriotism, I can feel a little bit a part of Team GB.
Written by Hannah Richards