Thursday, 1 September 2016

Olympic Motivation! 🥇

I think the Olympics is something very special and when those 4 years come around, I am totally engrossed in the whole sporting world and I get to watch the best of the best compete to be the best in the whole world. I'll never be able to comprehend the enormous amount of time and energy put into reaching such a high standard in a sport but watching them is something truly magical.

I've loved watching the Olympics and especially the last two - a home held and second in the medals table - where athletes, as Team GB, have been held to such high standards and competed their hearts out. They have left such a legacy of true human strength and capability and after being so immersed for a two week period, viewers are often left feeling empty, as are the athletes.

I have my first ever guest post on this blog now, Paul Johnson. He is a keen cyclist and sports fan, currently trying hard to understand and follow good sports nutrition and lead a healthy lifestyle. He has recently started his own blog called "Marginal Pains" where he shares his own cycling journey, funny stories, as well as nutrition and training advice and product reviews. In his own words he aims to "entertain and hopefully inspire people to challenge their limits and offer tried and tested advice that works for real people". Here he shares his thoughts on the post-Olympic blues and how to turn them into something positive.

Sunday 21st August 2016 marked a sad day in my life, being as it was, the last day of what has been a fantastic and enthralling Olympic sporting celebration. Every four years there is an event that transcends normal social and sporting interests and pulls everyone together in a way that few other events can. Unlike football championships, there is no divide between those who love it and those that are praying for the ground to open up and swallow it and all of its moronic supporters. Everyone I have spoken to has been captivated by at least part of the Olympics and there have been some amazing stories to come out of the competition. 

The opening ceremony saw the first entry of a "Refugee Team" reminding the world that actually there are more important issues out there than how fast or strong people may be. In a country where social inequality is rife and there was much protesting about the cost of the Olympics, it is important to see a humanitarian focus during proceedings. For me this is one of the reasons why Rio 2016 was so inclusive. The events transcend the usual political, cultural and social arenas and you can marvel at genuine human achievement. It also seems that ten minutes watching TV coverage and everyone is an expert on K2 Kayaking!

I found myself watching sports that I would normally take no interest in whatsoever. I remember sitting down to watch the hockey and being intrigued by their penalty corner. This involves lining up of players like a fairground shooting gallery and one player taking a shot at them. Presumably a direct hit wins this player a cuddly toy of some description, I am unclear on this point as the cycling was starting on another channel so I switched over.

I am aware as a cyclist that most people find me and my kind unusual, inconvenient and also, probably slightly mad. I don't think our cause has been helped much by the Keirin event on the track. For those that missed it, this is the event where half a dozen cyclists follow a moped round getting progressively faster until it peels off and they sprint to the finish. It is the sporting equivalent of a dog running onto a football pitch and making off with the ball, or a joy rider bursting into the stadium and swerving between Bolt and Gatling as they run the 100 metres. I heard someone quip that most of the cycling events were included simply so Team GB would win more medals!

I am pleased to report that Team GB finished second in the medal table behind only USA. This is an incredible achievement considering the resources and sheer population of countries such as China. I think people cannot fail but be filled with a sense of enormous national pride at what we have achieved. None of it could be possible without the £350 million odd of National Lottery funding that sport in this country has received. In hard financial times like this it understandably raises questions about value for money. The only way it could be fully justified is if it leads to a marked increase in sporting participation. The health benefits would then create a vast saving within the NHS.

For that reason I call on everyone to ride this wave of sporting excitement and get out and get active. Whether you fancy lobbing a stick across a field, performing stunning acrobatics while falling into a puddle or discovering just how many weird and wonderful things there are to do on a bike...... you don't have to be fit and obsessive to get benefit from sport. It is the perfect opportunity to make friends, have a laugh and break up the monotony of your work at work or home. The best bit is because you are enjoying yourself so much it doesn't even feel like proper exercise!

I have to agree with Paul on many points here. If you read last week's post about the scary world we live in, it is so easy to focus on the negatives in the world but in the Olympics everyone comes together in what really is an incredible achievement.