The Winter Olympics 2018 is quickly approaching and will be hitting our screens in early February. It’s time to stick on your skis and lace your ice skates for this great sporting event as it could be a catalyst for increasing participation in winter sports.
What’s Needed To Increase Participation?
Sport Must Be Affordable And Accessible
First things first, let’s talk about the sport. It’s obvious to admit that not every single event in the Winter Olympics will see a dramatic rise in people participating. With such a large numbers of sports taking place, not every activity will be easily accessible or popular among the public. As sports like skiing and ice skating are becoming more affordable and accessible to many, it’s only natural that participation in these activities is likely to increase. But why?
Due to the construction of many local ice rinks and ski centre slopes, it’s now possible for large parties to experience different winter sports without the large price tag of travelling abroad to do so. It also makes for a new way to celebrate birthdays or carry out corporate team building activities in a fun and alternative environment.
So, as audiences become more familiar with winter sports like skiing and ice skating, it’s likely that when seeing them live on TV, viewers will be more inclined to try them out knowing they’re readily available to them. Hence, participation levels may see an increase. However, for sports like the bobsleigh or luge, where it’s harder to access them and require greater expense, participation may remain at current levels.
The Improvement In Sporting Coverage
Since television has become a permanent fixed feature for society, another member of the family even – the coverage for big events like the Winter Olympics is increased. In turn, viewers worldwide are put at the edge of their seats from something other than dull daytime TV. This time it’s sporting events like the ‘Skeleton’, where athletes are seen plummeting head-first down a steep and treacherous ice track on a tiny sled. Entertainment gold!
Worldwide Broadcasting Of The Olympics
Watching the Winter Olympics is something the majority of people can enjoy, without having to venture across the globe to the live events. Coverage of the Games has expanded worldwide and tends to dominant the most popular broadcasting channels. That makes the opportunity for increasing participation in winter sports, a lot greater.
High Quality Sporting Coverage
Not only this, but with quality of sports coverage improving, viewers get to see close-up action shots and slow-mo of critical points in the sport which brings them a better experience of the event. High-quality footage helps the entertainment value increase and in effect the emotional value. If people can derive a better viewing pleasure from the Games, they’re more likely to get on board with the sports and take part in them.
Youngsters Gain Inspiration From Athletes
Of course British viewers of the Winter Olympics will want to see Great Britain bagging the medals. Knowing that an athlete from a small town in England can compete in such a large sporting event could be the exact inspiration needed to spur on youngsters training in sport. The importance of getting to know the individual athletes and hear their success stories can be more influential than the sport itself.
“Why is watching the Olympic games so addictive? A good part of the answer is that it has nothing to do with sports at all, but with stories. The “up close and personal,” stories of struggle and strength, of overcoming injury and hardship, of fighting back and fighting through. Stories of redemption.” – Robyn Fivush Ph.D. for Psychology Today
Let’s look at the London 2012 Olympics, for example. The Guardian states that following Britain’s Olympic success in the 2012 Games, it had “helped contribute to a record boost in the number of people playing sport, according to figures released by Sport England.” As a result, “the number of adults playing sport at least once a week had increased by 750,000 in the past year.” Seeing the triumph of so many athletes as well as learning their route to success has evidently inspired the British audience to go and get active. That instills great hope for the Winter Olympics 2018.
Sporting Events Stimulate Unity
The Winter Olympics acts as stimulus to bring people together and unite. By having multiple countries competing in the event it encourages different cultures to join one another in supporting their country’s athleticism.
Though it’s not guaranteed that the Winter Olympics will improve winter sport participation, it’s highly likely that the inspirational athletes and the breath-taking coverage will encourage people to get involved with at least a sport.
Time To Get Involved With Sport
Here’s 4 simple tips to help you get involved with sport.
- Remain updated with the latest sporting news. Social sites such as Twitter are great for sticking in the know with your favourite athletes. Set up notifications to receive live updates and make sure you have your say by responding to posts. Getting a retweet from your favourite football player might just spur you on to have a kick about yourself!
- Look for pathways to coaching. Instead of getting down and dirty yourself, perhaps you’d like to get involved in the more educational side of sport and become a trainer/coach. Any contribution to increasing the involvement in sport is great, so checkout how to get into coaching.
- Join a specific sports team or sports club. Whether you’re surrounded by fitness enthusiasts or not, getting yourself into sport is as easy as signing up to a sports club or joining the local netball team. Plus when you’re exercising with others, you’ll often find getting fit can be rather fun!
- Try something new. Restarting the same sport that you quit a few months back isn’t going to help you become committed to your exercise unless you tackle it in a different way. This time try something new or invite friends or family to join you to surround yourself with a supportive hub of fitness addicts.
For those wanting to focus on winter sports specifically, check out these ways to get into sled sports here.