Raising the profile of sport
London's successful bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012 has seen increased media interest in sport. This past summer has seen unprecedented interest in the Cricket Ashes series against Australia. The UK's traditional summer game is even rivalling the ubiquitous football in popularity. England's star player, Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, is one of the highest profile sportsmen in the UK.
Sport England, the funding body for sport in England, is planning to carry out the biggest ever survey of participation in sport. 350,000 people will be questioned about their sporting activities. Roger Draper, Sport England Chief Executive said: 'This survey will form a major part of our continued quest to develop England as an active and successful sporting nation.’
A sporting icon
Golf and swimming are now two of the most popular participation sports, perhaps because they have the advantage of appealing to all ages and abilities.
Boxing has had a lower profile, partly as a result of the sport rarely appearing on terrestrial television. But the return of the sport to peak time terrestrial television and the emergence of the young boxer Amir Khan, has led some to predict a resurgence of interest. Khan won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics and has become something of an icon for young British Asians.
In tennis Andy Murray, from Scotland, has seen his world ranking rise from 400+ to 99 in a few months.
The other Rooney
And then of course there is Rooney – no, not Wayne the footballer, but Martyn, whose performance in the 4 x 400 metres relay at the World Athletics Championships, led many to name him as the sport's brightest young prospect. Could he be an Olympic medal winner in 2012?
Someone who is already a medal winner is Zara Phillips, grand-daughter of the Queen, who has recently won the European Equestrian three day event championship on her horse, Toytown.