We are the champions

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
July 01, 2011, 11:19 PM GMT+0

When it comes to achieving world-class sporting status, Brits have chosen football as the sport they’d most like to excel in, followed by Formula 1, tennis, swimming, athletics, golf and ice skating, our poll has found.

Men are much more likely than women to see football as the sport in which they’d most like to reach world-class status, while more women opt for tennis than any other activity. Young people were especially taken with gymnastics, while one in ten older people wouldn’t like to compete at all, picking ‘none’ when asked. Across the country, meanwhile, Londoners would most like to excel in tennis and Formula 1, while football and golf were the favourite choices among Scots.

  • 14% of British people overall would most like to achieve world-class status in football
  • 10% think Formula 1
  • 8% would pick tennis, and 6% would excel in swimming
  • While 5% apiece would prefer to become to become world-class in athletics, golf and ice-skating
  • Men are most likely to want success in football (25% compared to 4% of women) while women’s most popular sport was tennis on 12%
  • 10% of people aged 18-24 would prefer to do best in gymnastics, making this sport second only to football (17%)
  • While 10% of people over the age of 60 would opt for no sport on the list at all, saying ‘none’ – the most popular option among this age group
  • 14% of Londoners would like to achieve world-class status in tennis, 10% in Formula 1 and 9% in football
  • Compared to Scots, of whom 17% would prefer football and 7% would opt for tennis and Formula 1
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their country’s famous golf courses, Scots were almost twice as likely to pick golf as their world-class sport, at 10% compared to an average of 5% across the rest of the country
  • Olympic achievementThe results come as excitement around the 2012 London Olympic Games continues to build and sport acquires a higher profile across the country. With the Olympic Clock in London’s Trafalgar Square counting down the days until the international events begin, and London Organising Committee head Seb Coe having widely publicised the search for the nation’s most-deserving Torchbearers (who will carry the flame on a nationwide relay next year), interest in the Games is slowly increasing across the UK. The event has not been without controversy, however, as millions of applicants, even public figures or those heavily involved in Olympic sports, missed out on tickets in the public ballot earlier last month.On a more positive note, however, Brits have been doing exceptionally well on the International stage in recent weeks. Last month saw 22-year-old Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy win the US Open, while (as we go to press!) Scottish tennis star Andy Murray is still giving the competition a run for its money on the courts at Wimbledon.