22nd July 2012, remember the date! A British sportsmen achieved something which has never been done before, something which would once have been thought unimaginable. Bradley Wiggins rode to victory in the Tour de France.
Sir Chris Hoy, he of Olympic heroics and the proud owner of 4 Olympic Gold medals said that this is the finest achievement in British sport. Adding weight to this claim is the fact that fellow Brit Chris Froome came second overall, the previous highest overall finish for a British rider was 4th. Factor in that another British rider Mark Cavenedish powered through to take the final stage victory for the fourth year in a row and you could say that British Cycling is leading the world.
So what does a man do following such a remarkable achievement, well he has 6 days to prepare for the small matter of the Olympics where hopefully more success for Bradley and his fellow cyclists awaits.
Britain is constantly looking for sporting heroes and feats of greatness, our boxers often let us down some say embaress us, our footballers are never up to the standard required, rugby union has scaled the heights previously but for children who look up to sporting heroes, it is a distant memory if a memory at all, tennis is a constant disappointment, Andy Murray does his best but his best just isn't good enough, maybe England's cricket team can be hailed for their success, number 1 test team as we speak. None of this though compare's to what Bradley Wiggins achieved over the past 3 weeks or the British cycling team has achieved over the past 4 years. Success at the London Olympics anything like that achieved in Beijing 4 years ago will seal such names as Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy, Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, David Millar, Emma Pooley and of course Bradley Wiggins as sporting legends.
A second sporting achievement this weekend was Steve Lewis breaking the British pole vault record, vaulting 5.82m, this places him 5th in this years world rankings, plus he beat 3 of his top rivals whilst breaking the record and is obviously in fantastic form going into the Olympics. Steve is not a household name but is now a genuine Olympic medal contender and again an inspiration to many.
A third sporting achievement which received no media coverage but is no less inspirational was that of Simon Monk completing his first half marathon. The time Simon achieved was fantastic especially considering that on a Sunday morning in Dartford, Kent summer finally arrived and temperature's were not conducive to long distance running. I think that as a friend of Simon's I know him well enough to say that he is not the most natural runner in the world and I think he would have laughed at anyone who suggested that he run a half marathon 12 months ago. Simon though has been inspired by another of our friends, Kevin Harper, who has been through hell in the past 6 months, battling back from surgery to remove a brain tumour and Simon was using his sporting heroics to raise money for Brain Tumour UK. Check out his fundraising page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/HarperFest7
Whoever inspires you, whether its Bradley or Steve or Simon, use that inspiration and the amazing spectacle that will be the 2012 London Olympic games to be more active, start exercising, take up a sport or set yourself a challenge. As we count down to the biggest show on earth right here on our doorstep, it was revealed that inactivity in Britain is responsible for more deaths than smoking. Why and when did we become so lazy? Collectively we need to follow such heroes and reverse the current trend in our society for sedentary behaviour.