Having achieved two all-important Olympic standards in the US last month, Jade Nicholls is now one step closer to securing her place on Team GB. We announced our sponsorship of Jade in March and are very pleased to see all of her hard work paying off.
In this special guest post, Jade discusses the positive and negative coverage of the Olympics, her own experiences with journalists and gives her perspective on how the games will impact the public.
The Olympics has created a buzz in the UK but, as with most things, there are sceptics.
How typically English of us to be pessimistic about something so exciting! It’s much easier to criticise the government for everything they’ve done ‘wrong’ than it is to stand up and praise them for their focus on the Olympics. I believe some parts of the UK media tend to take a negative angle by default and then invite the public to join them.
UK athletes are often perceived as underachievers because of old tennis and football stereotypes, but we actually have a number of Olympic and world champions among us. Positive press attention on a small number of well-known athletes like Jessica Ennis really spurs me on – I use it as fuel to motivate me.
I think the only press that have been positive towards the Olympics throughout are the sports reporters, as well as many local news reporters. In my experience, Crawley News and Observer have been very supportive, and seem to want to know about my achievements. They don’t steer questions in a way that encourages negativity, but rather offer Joe Public the chance to learn about the local athletes that are either aiming to get to the Games or those that are potential medallists.
The press has the power to rally public feeling for big upcoming events. However, there is a big difference in the way royal events (such as the Royal Wedding and the Queen’s Jubilee) and the Olympics have been portrayed. The Olympics is a much more inclusive event, and as a result, I believe it gives both the public and the press more freedom to say what they really think. The government has much more involvement in the Games, and as money spent on the Olympics is from the public purse, some people were always going to oppose the Olympics coming to London. It becomes a political issue.
However, thousands of people will be inspired by the Games. Kids will feel motivated to take up sport after watching the Olympics, and that will make it all worthwhile. Those kinds of things are priceless. I think it’s an exceptionally proud time to be British – hopefully in the end the press will too.