The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Kent's key role in Olympics legacy
The University of Kent is playing an important part in ensuring the London 2012 Games are a success. Both our research expertise and sporting facilities are much in demand in the run-up to the big event.
University of Kent sports expert, Professor Louis Passfield has been chosen to take part in one of a series of national debates next year on how to best make use of public interest in sport generated by the Olympics.
Organised by Research Councils UK (RCUK), the series will feature six UK-wide public debates to be held in the lead-up to the London 2012 Games.
Professor Passfield said: ‘Everyone agrees that the London Games represent a great opportunity to harness public excitement surrounding the Olympics and these events will help focus on the latest cutting edge research and technology behind our top athletes.'
Professor Passfield has also received funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council to research improving the performance of elite cyclists.
He is currently working with cross-country mountain bike rider, Oli Beckingsale, who is aiming to make London 2012 his fourth Olympic Games for Team GB. Oli crashed and broke his leg during the World Cup in the Czech Republic this summer. He is hoping to recover in time for next year’s Olympics with support from Professor Passfield and sports injury specialists in the Centre for Sports Studies.
The UK government hopes that the London Olympics may spark increased UK public participation in sport. But a new study of the 2004 Athens Games by the University casts doubt on the effect of the Games on sustained participation in sport.
Dr Sakis Pappous, Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Sport Studies, said: ‘There was a short-lived increase in sports participation in Greece between 2003 and 2004 of six per cent. However, five years after the Games, the percentage of people saying they exercise regularly had plummeted by 13% to a level that was significantly lower than even the period before the Games.
‘The data for the Greek population suggests that, if a broader strategy towards an active lifestyle is not implemented, then sporting excitement on its own will not sustain participation. In fact, there may be a reduction and possibly a ‘rebound effect’, where participation drops to levels lower even than during the pre-Olympic period,’ warned Dr Pappous.
Organisers of the 2012 London Games have established that the grass-roots sporting legacy should be a top priority and increasing participation in sport is a key legacy promise. It will be really interesting to see if they achieve their ambitious plans and manage to turn the UK into a more active nation.'