London Olympics Success Brings Record Sport Participation In England
Figures released by Sport England show that Britain’s success at the London Olympics and Paralympics has "produced a surge in grassroots sports participation," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. The agency’s survey revealed that 15.5 million people in England age 16 and over participated in sport at least once a week over the past 12 months -- a 750,000 rise from last year’s figure. The results showed an "especially marked increase in enthusiasm" since London hosted the Olympics over the summer. Cycling "enjoyed the biggest benefit." Compared to last year, 200,000 more people in England are cycling at least once a week, bringing the number of regular cyclists in the country to just less than 2 million (TELEGRAPH, 12/6).
WOMEN CLOSE THE GAP: In London, Owen Gibson reported the funding body that invests £240M ($400M) a year in grassroots sport said that its latest figures showed the "strongest growth in participation numbers had been among women." An increase of half a million in the past year helped to "cut the gap that still exists between male and female participation." Sport England CEO Jennie Price said that the sports that had done best were those that had "planned to capitalise on the Games." Price: "This is a really substantial increase. It's an awful lot given the economic conditions, the weather and the fact a lot of people spent the summer watching the Olympics" (GUARDIAN, 12/6).