Tag Archives: Olympics

Dear Speedo…

I posted this tweet as a little joke last night:

Screenshot 2016-08-23 09.34.24

Obviously it was intended as a dig at Ryan Lochte and his ‘antics’ in Rio and the aftermath for him with regards to sponsors backing away from him. A couple of my friends (Rach & Hazel) saw it and we swapped a few tweets about how nice it would be, then I posted this one:

Screenshot 2016-08-23 09.34.41

But then I got to thinking about it more seriously…

I’ve read recent reports that Speedo was due to pay Lochte $50,000 which it is now donating to charity. I’m not sure if that all of the annual fee he receives, or just the Olympics related portion of it, but just think what some non-Olympic athletes could do with that sort of money – and actually how it could change the profile of a sponsor to get involved at that level.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I LOVED watching the Olympics, but I can’t say I was particularly inspired.

I’m sporty. Apart from the horse stuff and the wrestling I’ve probably had a go, in one form or another, at nearly every Olympic sport. But to watch it on TV, well they might as well have been completely different sports. I will never ever swim as quickly as Phelps (or Lochte) or run as fast as Mo. Even watching the badminton made it look like a completely different sport to the one I’ve played a few times. For that reason, those people are not my sporting inspirations.

I’m a fat, middle aged, single parent who also tries to stay fit and swim a bit. The people that inspire me, the people that I really want to be like are the slightly less fat people that finish the swims 10 or 15 minutes ahead of me (even those that finish 2 hours ahead of me are already considered to be on a different planet). Those are the people I look up to, the people who’s kit I surreptitiously check out, or who’s training programmes I try and copy. So why aren’t they sponsored?

Dear Speedo, please sponsor some more ‘normal’ athletes.

This also links to the reports about the cost of the GB team’s medals – apparently it is just £1.09 per British person per Olympic medal won in Rio. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to pay for that success and well done to all the medalists. But maybe, just maybe, we could just pay 99p each to all the athletes on the medal track and 10p towards greater participation in sport – in building basketball courts in inner cities, in increasing disability access to sport, in hiring more school sports teachers, in preserving playing fields and football pitches etc etc.

The medal success is great and I loved watching the golds, silvers and bronzes rack up over the last couple of weeks, but I’ll have forgotten much of it within 10-15 years (if not sooner). Yet as a nation think how much better off we would be in 10-15 years time if more people were more active. If you believe that sport is a good thing in itself, then surely we want as many people as possible to have the chance to take part, but aside from that – we would increase the pool of potential Olympians if more kids were active and massively reduce the burden on the NHS if people generally led a more active life.

As a major player in one of the major Olympic sports Speedo, you could do something about that right now.

Don’t find another Lochte, instead 5 or 10 ambassadors for your sport and your company and sponsor them.

And if you’re looking for suitable people and want a fat, middle-aged bloke, then yes I am available. But also look at Rach and Hazel too please – completed Ironman event, channel swims between them, they are the real inspiration for everyday folk.

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Train to Tokyo

Last September, as the new school year was starting, a colleague and I heard a few stories on social media of kids that were not able to take part in school PE because they didn’t have any kit – not that they’d forgotten it that day, they really didn’t own any suitable kit.

This shocked us – we’re both very active and love what doing sport, being active, just moving does to our bodies and our minds. We were amazed that this was happening in the UK and we both felt that those kids were missing out on something fundamental to what being a kid, or even just a person, is all about.

Rather than just forget about it we looked into ways we might be able to do something about it.

We’ve thought, chatted, asked for advice and then thought some more and think we have a plan that can make a big difference to kids’ lives. We want to develop a daily sport / exercise / movement programme for school kids. Our goals are very simple:

– The primary goal is to be a ‘trojan horse’ that will actually allow us to give away sports kit to any school child that needs it. They can then be active when and how they choose – whether at school, at home, or in clubs and teams – without being limited by a lack of kit.
– The secondary goal is to create an interest in sport so that more kids want to take part and enjoy sports – to inspire sport as a way of life for all.

pumpsWe have the outlines of a plan and want to create a pilot programme with a couple of different schools. We hope that a successful pilot will then allow us to go and ask for funding from a variety of organisations so that we can start to roll this out.

This is where you come in – please help us raise some money to create the trial.

We think we need £6,500 to run this trial.

That money will fund the cost of the kit and printing posters & wall charts etc and petrol costs and all other expenses. But, and we have to be honest about this, it will also cover some of the time it will take to make this happen. We’ve already spent a lot of time on this and as passionate as we are about it, we unfortunately can’t give up the massive amount of time needed completely for free.

The Pilot

For the pilot we will target two different schools and hope to have the involvement of at least one class in each, in different year groups.

We will support the schools throughout the year as they run through the programme, but we will also use their feedback to improve and update our programme.

As soon as the pilot is underway we will be using it as a proof point to try and gain access to other pots of money – from government and local government, sports teams and organisations and the commercial sector. The pilot will just be a stepping-stone to a greater roll-out of this programme.

The Programme – Train to Tokyo

olympic_rings_on_white_206913The programme will be a series of games, sports, exercise routines that will earn the kids points and get them closer to Tokyo – the hosts of the Olympics in 2020.

To achieve this, all the children in a class will be given a set of kit (shoes, shorts and t-shirt) that will allow them to take part in sport, whether at school, at home, or in clubs and teams. The kit will be subtly branded and so the kids will form a ‘team’. We also hope to be able to persuade local and national companies to offer discounts to kids that are wearing their kit.

The exercise programme will be a quick and easily adaptable one that can be incorporated into the school day – it will be similar to the ‘Daily Mile’ programmes that are starting to gain popularity. However, we will also try and focus on some of the less well known Olympic sports.

Where possible we will develop links with sports organisations and sports people to arrange visits from Olympians to schools. If a kid isn’t enthusiastic about football, netball or athletics, we hope to show that there are many, many more sports out there that they could enjoy.

We will also create a programme for schools that will go way beyond just physical exercise. By setting it out that the kids are working towards Tokyo we can introduce a range of other educational elements. Geographic targets allow for the introduction of geography, language and religion lessons to be included, while the points themselves can be included in maths lessons.

Of course this is about more than just school sport. Schools will be how we will deliver this to kids, but we want to create interest and excitement for sport in the kids that otherwise would be left out. We want to light a fire that cannot be extinguished and create a new generation of active people.

Consultancy

We already have teachers on board who are offering valuable advice about how this can be incorporated into classrooms. We will creating a board of experts that will advise on everything from the educational requirements of our programme, through the financial aspects to the creation of fitness programmes.

Payment

We are not at this stage a registered charity, nor even a formal business. That will come. At present we are an idea and a passion that we want to get working on – but we need your help. However, we also need your trust.

If you can help us out financially then we ask that payment is made to Joshua PR (my business). A completely separate account will be created for this and the incomings and outgoings of this account will be tracked and managed by the bookkeepers and accountants that currently work for Joshua PR. We will also make this available to anyone that donates if they request to see it.

But right now, we can’t simply set up a JustGiving page, so we ask you to trust us.

Summary

There are kids out there, in the UK, that are not physically active simply because they don’t have the kit to be able to be active in. They are missing out on all the benefits of an active lifestyle – the health benefits, the mental benefits and the life lessons, friendships and self-confidence that can come from sport.

We think we can do something to help alleviate this situation. We are asking for your help.

If you’re able to donate, please get in touch and I’d be happy to chat it through more and also provide details for your donation.

Thank you.

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Filed under Charity, Revolution, Thoughts

Two different swims

Last night I went to see Ray at SwimCanaryWharf again. The summary – some big improvements, but still plenty of work to do.

This morning I went to swim here:

London Aquatic Centre

London Aquatic Centre

It was great to treat myself to a 50m pool and just swim without all those nasty drills that Ray gives me to do!!

I’ll try to get a full review of my experience at the Aquatic centre later, but you could read Simon’s from H2Open in the meantime if you like.

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Olympian?

Do you remember ‘Eric the Eel’ as the UK media dubbed him during the 2000 Olympics?

If you don’t, he was the competitor from Equatorial Guinea who swam the 100m in the Olympics, but came so far last that it looked like the time when the fat kid at school was made to run the 1,500m on school sports day.

Anyway, I was chatting about this recently and so I looked him up on Wikipedia. It turns out his time for the 100m freestyle was 1:52.72. I can swim quicker than that.

So, which nation wants to sign me up for the next Olympics? I’ve always fancied going to Rio!

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Coaches… Discuss

As I start to plan for next year’s events I’m trying to work out my training plan. Not only do I want to complete the challenges I’ve set for myself, but I want to do them as we’ll as I can. So I’m going to train and I’m going to ask for advice and tips. However, I’m not going to employ a coach.

In the lake I trained in this summer I would hear a lot of the triathletes talk about their coaches and every time I heard it it sounded strange.
“My coach thinks that…”
“I’ve entered this event because my coach…”
“The training plan my coach has me on…”

The reason it sounded so strange is because it felt like they were abdicating responsibility for their own training. Don’t get me wrong, nearly all of them were faster than me – and I’m sure the coaches had a hand in that. But it still felt wrong.

If I was a potential Olympian it would be different. But at my age (nearly 40) and ability (not very good) having a coach feels wrong.

One of the things that gives me the most satisfaction about my swims this year is that I did them and I did it all. I worked out a training programme. I motivated myself. I planned which events to enter. And I made the decisions.

Could I have done it all quicker – almost certainly. Could I have done it better – no way. It was because I was doing it all that it was so special.

Do any of you have a coach? Let me know if you think I’m wrong.

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Filed under Cycling, Running, Swimming, Thoughts