At the closing ceremony of last year’s Olympics, Lord Sebastian Coe took to the stage to deliver a speech about inspiring a generation and I for one whole heartedly believed the triumphs we witnessed over those two weeks would do just that.
And according to Sport England’s ‘Active Survey’ it has. A total of 15.426m people play sport each week, up 206,000 from April.
And while Tennis and football are in danger of losing up to 20% of their lottery funding because of a disappointing participation decline, Sport England also found that 750,000 people had taken up team sports after the Olympics.
Moreover, 500,000 of the people taking up sports were women. A sign perhaps that the British Women, who won 36% of all the UK medals in London last year, may have had an effect on females up and down the country.
Despite this rise in participation, there is yet to be a massive impact on the amount of coverage women’s sports receive in the mainstream media.
This is currently subject to a Parliamentary inquiry by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to see what can be done to help eliminate certain barriers that discourage participation in order to get even more women competing and taking part in sport.
There are many ‘back to sport’ schemes and various initiatives running up and down the country to encourage women to take part and the latest Sport England figures show that these could be having some effect on participation levels.
So in order to sustain this trend of more women taking part in sport, I think it’s more important than ever that the coverage of women’s sport is improved even further.
Campaigns such as ‘Sky Sport’s Woman of the year’ awards, which took place two weeks ago and ‘BT Sport’s Action Woman of the year’, which is still open are helping to raise the profile of the women at the top of their field.
If seeing the women at the elite end of a sport makes people want to watch it and try it, then there is no better time than now to increase the amount we see them on our screens and in our newspapers.