Anyone that follows me on Twitter will know that I have become a bit obsessed by the Olympics. I’ve been struck down by Olympic fever and I’m not taking anything to get rid of it.
I love sport, and the show of all shows in such a variation of sports on around the clock makes me so happy. I’ll watch anything. Apart from golf, even I get bored by golf.
One of the best things about it is that strong, determined and talented women are front and centre on the world’s biggest sporting stage. In a world where you-tubers reign supreme and the goal of so many young people is simply to be Insta-famous, you can’t help but be excited by the fact that suddenly women with a real talent are filling screens and making headlines. I hope that teenage girls everywhere are watching what’s happening in Rio and feeling a fire to be the best that they can be in whatever they’re good at. That they are seeing that looks are not everything and that there is so much more to life than how many likes you get on instagram on the selfie you’ve spent hours getting exactly right. That they are worth more than what society thinks is perfect and acceptable. That strength in character and in body is queen – and that it comes in all sizes and shapes.
This feels like our chance to get women’s sport to grow – every day there is a woman, or a team of women, doing awesome sporting things on the telly.
There’s something that’s been bothering me though. I follow a lot of women on Twitter and Instagram who regularly post about their own sporting achievements and clearly value sport in their lives. And yet throughout the Olympics there’s not been a whole lot coming from them. These are women with thousands of followers and plenty of influence. These are women who know sport has had a really positive influence on their own lives. This is a chance push elite women’s sport into everyone’s lives and push for more equality in terms of media coverage and funding… I wish they’d see that and grab it. The women’s marathon on Sunday was an example of this. Silence from so many women on social media who I know have run marathons themselves and could use their influence online to inspire others to get involved in watching live and elite distance running.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this. If you’ve got people around you who you know will be influenced in a positive way by watching the Olympics, please encourage them to tune into something. Whether that’s chucking heavy things across a field like Sophie Hitchon, flying across the floor like Amy Tinkler or playing alongside your friends in a hockey match, the Olympics can influence us all to be more active and challenge us to push ourselves out of our own comfort zones too.
Be inspired, but remember to tell others about how they can be too.