Fall in love with sport this Valentine's DaySubscribe
UK Sport 14 February 2012
What do these three things have in common: Andre Agassi’s denim shorts, a youth hostel and cold water? Believe it or not, these were all key triggers in people’s memories of how they first fell in love with sport.
To mark Valentine’s Day 2012, UK Sport, the nation’s high performance sports agency, has been asking athletes and key sporting figures to cast their minds back to the moment they fell in love with sport.
In what is set to be the biggest year in British sporting history, with a home Olympic and Paralympic Games, what better way to celebrate the “day of love” than to remind us of the moment that captured our imaginations and instigated a lifelong passion for sport and physical activity.
One of the common answers was a vivid memory of watching an inspirational athlete perform at their peak; a catalyst many of our Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls will be looking to recreate in London this year.
British 2011 World Badminton Championships silver medallist, Chris Adcock, said: “Watching Simon Archer and Jo Goode at the Sydney Olympics win their bronze medal. Ever since that moment I’ve wanted to get to the Olympics and achieve something.”
Adcock’s team mate Nathan Robertson, 2004 Olympic silver medallist, said: “I fell in love with sport watching Andre Agassi at Wimbledon. I was a big fan of Agassi’s denim shorts and when he came out in his all white kit at Wimbledon I thought that was pretty amazing. I was also a huge Goran Ivanisevic fan, so when he won Wimbledon that was one of my favourite sporting moments.”
Wheelchair Basketball’s Ian Sagar said: “The first year I started playing I played for the third division in Sheffield. At the league finals that year I played for the third division second division and first division all in the same day for two days straight. The 6 games in 2 days are what finally made me fall in love with wheelchair basketball and from that moment on I couldn’t get enough.”
UK Sport’s Director of Performance Peter Keen, who coached cyclist Chris Boardman to his Olympic gold medal in 1992, said: ”I fell in love with sport as a 12 year old in 1977 going cycle youth hostelling for the first time with my mate. Our first day was going to be 50 miles to the first hostel, but we got there and it was full, so we had to phone up the next hostel, which was another 20 miles up a very big hill.
“I recall pushing our bikes up the hill to the hostel, having done 70 miles as 12 year olds, first time out - probably in tears, certainly scared - but we got there and I will never forget the sense of achievement and relief. From that day onward my whole interest in sport and exercise changed.”
Swimmer Michael Jamieson, a Commonwealth silver medallist, said: “I got into swimming at four and a half years old. My parents bought a six week swim lesson block but I didn’t actually get in the water until the sixth week because the water was too cold.”
So if you’re as passionate as we are about sport, why not join in the conversation on Twitter, using #lovesportin2012, and tell us how you “fell in love with sport”?