Your Olympics: what sport would you compete in, and the UK’s ‘alternative’ gold medal
by Harris MacLeod in Sports Lab
Fri July 27, 3:10 p.m. BST
After seven years of waiting the day is finally upon us. Tonight, thousands of people from the world over will gather in Stratford, East London, for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, running from July 27th to August 12th.
Ahead of the Olympics we put an Olympic-themed five-part special here in Labs, to invite your views and reflections on a range of Games-related topics in YouGov’s SportsLab.
In this, we asked you to imagine which sport you would choose to compete in if you were representing the nation as an Olympian, and on the flip-side, which you'd least like to (and why).
The Olympic athletes will be going for gold, of course. While everyone, from the athletes themselves, to us watching them sweat determination at home, will be hoping for these ultimate wins, we thought we’d pose a related yet alternative question that drew some varied, similarly off-beat answers:
If the UK as a nation could win an Olympic gold medal at anything other than sport, i.e. for something else we excel at, that no one else rivals us in, what would it be for?
Here we look at the length, breadth, and content of what you panellists had to say in SportsLab:
Q: Imagine you are going to be competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Which sport would you most like to compete in?
The highest proportion of those who took part said it was the athletics they would choose to compete in at the Olympics.
- Many of you said it was the ultimate Olympic sport, and as such, the one they felt received the most attention.
- Others drew a logical conclusion, on the grounds that they had excelled at athletics in the past, and would relish the thrill of competing for their country at the Olympic Games. With some of you, there was even an element of nostalgia for what could have been…
Football was chosen by the second highest proportion of participants in SportsLab as the Olympics sport they would most like to compete in.
- Many participants told us that football was the obvious choice for them because it was their favourite all-round sport, or one they drove their passions into, and therefore the one they would most like to compete in at the Olympic Games.
- As with those who chose athletics, many of you said you enjoyed and were good at playing football in the past, and would delight in the glory of playing for Team GB.
Q: Which sport would you least like to compete in, if you were an Olympics athlete?
Synchronised swimming was chosen by the largest proportion of participants as the Olympic sport they would least like to compete in.
- Many of you told us that you did not think it should be considered a ‘real sport’.
- Some expressed admiration for the skills required to be a synchronised swimmer, but said that for you, it didn’t make for exciting viewing.
Boxing was the Olympic sport that the second highest proportion of those who took part said they would least like to compete in.
Participants objected to the ‘violence’ of boxing, with many saying it was barbaric and should be abolished.
Others were simply squeamish about getting ‘thumped’.
Q: If the UK as a nation could win an Olympic gold medal at anything other than sport, i.e. for something else we excel at, that no one else rivals us in, what would it be for?
In YouGov’s SportsLab we very much enjoyed reading your amusing and interesting responses to this question.
Firstly, many of you said you thought the UK could win an Olympic gold medal for ‘complaining’, ‘moaning’ and ‘whinging’.
- Some of you said that complaining about bad weather was a ‘national obsession’, while others cited the focus on the negatives of the Olympic Games as clear evidence that when it comes to moaning the British are truly unrivalled.
- One media commentator, writing about the show that director Danny Boyle will put on at the opening ceremony, said: ‘The show Boyle is likely to produce will surely understand something important about this nation: that the whingeing and complaining are not a repudiation of national identity, but a part of it.’
Queuing was also mentioned by many participants as something that people in the UK truly excelled at.
- One participant declared people in the UK to be ‘the world’s most accomplished queue patrons’, while another pointed out that those Britons attending Olympic events would get plenty of opportunity to put their above-average queuing skills into action.
Finally, the British sense of humour was cited by many of those who took part as something for which the UK could win a gold medal.
- Participants described the British sense of humour as ‘sardonic’ and ‘self-deprecating’, and said that Brits find something to joke about even in the worst of times.
What is your favourite Olympic sport?
And what is something other than a sport that you think Britain could win a ‘gold medal’ for?