To some, athletics, or track and field, running, throwing or whatever you call it, had always been the world. Some have always had the one event that encompasses their life, some have had several, but the stadium events have been their life. What of the rest of the world? Have they given much thought to track & field? Perhaps, perhaps not, but what we now know for definite, is that it is on the rise, and fast.
Our country specifically, has always been football first. We could spend weeks debating the merit of this, but the point is that we are not a one sport country. Social media, the internet, on demand tv are changing the game. Everything is more accessible, everyone is more accessible and the world of athletics is becoming more and more entwined with each other. And of course, that little old thing called the Olympics (I don’t know if you’ve heard of it?) didn’t do any harm either.
Our stars are known around the world. You can talk about someone who competes in your event and people know what you’re talking about. People understand the rules and regulations more. They have memories of fantastic performances, and are even passionate about it, and it all adds to track and field in itself.
Participation is growing. There is a legacy to uphold. Is the government doing its part? We’d need a lot more time to delve into that issue. Primary schools have been gifted huge amounts of money to improve sport. Fantastic! A Sheffield stadium that was the training home of one of, if not our biggest, Olympic star has been shut down due to financial concerns. Not so good. The jury is out on the government, but we have a verdict on people themselves, and it’s a good one.
More kids want to follow their idols (and they finally have some good British role models. Not pointing fingers, but they aren’t exactly numerous in football.) And more adults want to help them, whether that’s through helping their children, coaching, or anything else. Its growing in universities and in schools, and in clubs across the country. And it is none too soon.
Now is the time to ride the wave. Not only do we have a legacy to uphold, we have one to create, both for our professionals and our amateurs. Obesity is being revealed as the huge problem it is, and now is the time to act. Benefits of exercise are being reported every day and opportunities for sport are increasing.
Track and field, athletics or whatever you name it needs to be at the forefront, poised to grow in popularity and number, the need for more coaches, more venues, more structure and competition is bigger now than ever, to truly take this wave and ride it, take advantage and help athletics keep its deserved place at the top of the world.