Leeds and London-based fitness blogger Em Sheldon shares her memories of the 2012 Olympic Games and her hopes for Rio 2016…
Visiting the Olympic Games in 2012 was an amazing experience. I was lucky enough to get passes to the Olympic village, the opening and closing ceremonies and tickets to many of the sporting events –my favourite being the diving and the sprinting. Watching the diving was amazing, I supported Chris Mears who unfortunately didn’t win but it was a close call! It was really good to watch something different like the football too, rather than just sticking to the traditional track events. Watching Brazil play Mexico in the final at Wembley was pretty epic and it was a shock to see Mexico take home the gold. The atmosphere was electric.
As a child I competed for my county in athletics, so I have always loved sport. Giving up athletics as a teenager is still one of my biggest regrets but the Olympics reignited my interest in it. Getting the chance to go to the Games and relive the adrenaline and excitement completely inspired me to be active again and I know it encouraged thousands of others, too. It really made me want to grab my trainers and pound the pavement as fast as I could!
It was definitely the Olympics that inspired me to get back into sports. After the event had finished, I started going to the gym more and I rediscovered my love for running outdoors. I loved seeing how the 2012 Olympics made people in the world become more active and I hope that Rio 2016 will do the same. It also encouraged schools and younger people around the world to play a sport they love. I achieved a sporting goal of running longer distances faster. I’ve always been a sprinter so wanted to challenge myself and start running further.
Jessica Ennis-Hill is someone I find extremely inspirational, particularly because she is also a young Northern girl like me. Since winning her gold medal in London 2012’s heptathlon she has gone on to break world records, record new personal bests, had a post box painted gold in her honour, marry her childhood sweetheart, become a mum, be voted ‘the most inspirational figure under-25’ and much, much more.
With Rio 2016 on the horizon, I am delighted to know that Jess has also qualified for the Rio 2016 Games – so I will be watching her performance closely in the next Olympics too, especially after her recent Gold medal win at the Athletics World Championships in Beijing.
But who else should you be looking out for in 2016?
Personally I would really like to see Tom Daley take the world by storm in 2016. He has come a long way since he first represented Team GB in the Olympics back in 2008, when he was the youngest competitor in the team. In the 2012 Olympic Games he took home a bronze medal in the men's 10-metre platform event, and since then we have seen Tom grow as a person and take on new roles in the media industry with TV shows like Splash. I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us in what will be his third time representing Team GB in the Olympics.
There are also some new sports which have been added to the 2016 line-up which should be worth looking out for. The Games in Rio will showcase 28 different sports and 38 disciplines in total. Some of the new sports that you won’t have seen on the worlds centre stage before include, Kitesurfing (replacing Windsurfing), Sevens Rugby and Golf – the latter two having been voted into the Games since 2012.
I’m personally really excited to see the introduction of Kitesurfing to the 2016 Olympics, as I used to fly power kites with my brother, so it’ll be great to see how these sports inspire people to try their hand at new, less traditional sports!