Weymouth and Portland are hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing events this summer – and lots more besides. Julia Smith, from our Dorset team, gives us the lowdown on a glorious summer by the sea.
Watching the Olympics in Weymouth is something of a luxury. Not only has the weather been glorious for the last few weeks (in sharp contrast to the horizontal rain we had on the evening of the Olympic Flame celebration) you can watch all the sporting action on the beach with the sand between your toes, or even swimming in the sea if you like.
It’s a heady mix of traditional British seaside holiday and Olympic mania. The two giant screens of the beach live site show wall-to-wall sailing during the day and the rest of the Games in the evening.
Next door is the Sports Arena which has already seen nearly 30,000 people trying out different sports like rugby, windsurfing and sailing, with the latter being so popular it’s already booked up.
To me this is legacy in action: people being inspired by what they have seen on TV then getting information about the sport so they can pursue it further and have a go.
While I love the Olympics, endless coverage is not for everyone, which is why Weymouth’s decision to hold other events near the beach is a good one.
Of course with the Live Site so close to the town centre it’s ideal for a sneaky plate of fish ‘n’ chips. Now, we all have our favourites – including many of the sailing teams who’ve been training here for months – and I wouldn’t wish to show favouritism, but suffice to say a number of the town’s chippies are award-winners and have appeared on TV. Every night young and old sit on benches lining the harbourside tucking into fish ‘n’ chips wrapped in paper and there is a hardly a more British sight.
But my own personal Olympic challenge is with the Dorset ice cream shop which is on my way to work, not only is it the creamiest ice cream I’ve have had, they also have the craziest yet tastiest flavours (my favourite being marmalade and whiskey) making every day a battle of willpower not to indulge!
All this and I’ve barely mentioned the sailing. Well, the sailing is great – especially as the competition is so close to the town, and occasionally visible from the beach. I hope when Team GB starts winning its medals next week, the atmosphere will crank up even more. But, what this slight blogging oversight says to me is that sailing is just part of the Olympic story in Weymouth – there are just so many other things going on here. With two weekends left, why not come and give it a go?