Week 6 and 7 – The Winter Olympics

I have decided it’s really hard to find the time to blog regularly. I have had a very busy couple of weeks. The last week of term was pretty manic with prepping year 11 dance revision resources, BTEC marking and sorting stuff for netball and cricket fixtures. My sister then moved in on the Saturday of half term which meant lots of sorting out and house stuff. It’s surprising how long some tasks take. All in and sorted after a few days though and now all settled 🙂 I am a firm believer in having a positive work/life balance and taking half term with actual days off and trying not to do too much work is important and vital to recuperate. 

One thing that has also consumed my life over the past 2 weeks is the Winter Olympics. Sochi 2014 has been amazing and exciting to watch. As a nation who obviously doesn’t have the facilities needed for some of the events, we clearly make the best of what we can. I admire the dedication of the athletes who made it to represent team GB, they did the whole country proud. The amount of hours they spend training and preparing for a two week event doesn’t get broadcast. A lot of work goes in behind the scenes so it is pleasing to see the country get behind people we don’t know yet we pretend we do and feel a sense of achievement with them. 

I think it is really important for children to see the Winter Olympics and to have role models in different sports than usual. In the week before half term, I made a point of showing my tutor group and where possible included some in my lessons to make pupils aware of what other opportunities are out there. Especially as there is a dry ski slope near my school. Not the same as the real thing but if they try it, who knows what might happen. It might spark some new interest or hobby. They seemed to really enjoy watching it or having knowledge of what was happening for team GB. It also shows pupils how interested in sport I am as a teacher and they like to show me that they have a common interest.

One of the events I enjoyed watching the most was the curling. And didn’t we do well. Both the GB women’s and men’s teams came away with medals, and they were very well deserved. The tension whilst watching is incredible, the fact that it takes 10 ends and about 2-3 hours makes it more interesting. It can change so fast too, one mistake and the other team can take advantage. The pressure involved to perform well every shot is immense, especially when there are medals at stake. I hope lots of children across the nation are now inspired to have a go. Although, the main barrier would be geographical location and would involve travelling to Scotland. I believe there is only one curling rink in England which is why all the GB athletes were Scottish. I know I would certainly like to give it a go, it looks fun. Lets hope it inspires more access to the sport in England. 

Lizzy Yarnold winning gold in the skeleton was one of the best moments of Sochi. It was edge of the seat stuff. Watching Amy Williams and Lizzy after was moving. Retaining the Olympic title after 4 years of hard work. It’s brilliant to see when training hard pays off. She went through the ‘Girls for Gold’ programme 5 years ago. I remember that being advertised when I was at University, it’s nice to know they work and produce world class athletes. I think more programmes like that need to be around to enable access to these kind of events for younger children, maybe between the ages of 14-16. It might even inspire more girls to take up a different physical activity. 

The final moment which I think defines character within sport was Elise Christie. Elise is a short track speed skater who competed in 3 events. The 500m, 1000m and the 1500m. I was devastated and heart broken when watching her final event. Having previously been disqualified in both the 500m and the 1500m races she breezed into the semi finals of the 1000m. The mental strength she displayed in this first heat was inspiring. Coming back after 2 penalties already to perform well must be mentally tough, but Elise was up for the challenge. In her semi final she was racing really well until the final corner when it appeared she was taken out by another athlete when she was in a qualifying position. Everyone thought she would progress through to the final anyway. However, the referees seemed the be against her and awarded her with a penalty too. In my personal opinion, I felt this was completely unfair and the wrong decision. The whole country was proud of her efforts and the way she fought back. 2014 seemed not to be her year. It is such a shame that after 4 years of hard work and training, she lost out on a medal due to a referees controversial decision. As an Olympic athlete I know she will fight back. I hope children take her courage and determination and use her as a role model. 

Overall, we have had I think the most successful Winter Olympic campaign. Well done to all of Team GB. It has been most enjoyable and gripping to watch. I am now looking forward to what we can do as a country in the next 4 years to produce more athletes for 2018. What am I going to watch now?

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