So Team GB did us proud in Sochi and deserve all the plaudits that have come their way. ‘Inspirational’ is a word that’s become a bit over-used in recent times but I think it’s exactly right when applied to our team’s performance, and the individual stories behind so many of their achievements.
I had the pleasure of meeting our Golden Girl Lizzy Yarnold who wowed us all with her victory in the skeleton. I can’t imagine the pressure she must have felt before her final run, but she kept ice-cool, delivered, and did us all proud. I also had the privilege of watching the men’s and women’s curling teams win their silver and bronze medal matches and show, once again, that Team GB is a force to be reckoned with on the ice.
And with Jenny Jones bronze success in slopestyle snowboarding, Jamie Nicholls finishing sixth in the men’s event and James Woods (fifth) and Katie Summerhayes (seventh) strong performances in the slopestyle skiing, we have more winter sports heroes for our youngsters to look up to. Slopestyle really caught the imagination of the public at the Sochi games and with snowdomes and dry ski slopes across Britain youngsters can get out there and give it a go for themselves and follow in our Olympians’ footsteps.
To win four medals at a Winter Games is an incredible result for Team GB, matching our best ever performance 90 years ago. And it is testament to the focussed investment decisions UK Sport makes when funding elite sport. And, the Games are not over! In just over a week’s time, the Paralympic Games begin and I’ll be back out in Sochi soon to support our winter Paralympians.
For all that, though, it’s always good to get home. Britain is a brilliant place to live and work and, as Minister for Tourism, I’m always trying to promote it as a place to take a holiday too. This task is made all the easier by the sensational GREAT campaign, which started life around the time of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and has proved to be so successful it’s been extended.
This latest example film is a really clever film (that’s probably the wrong word in this digital age, but you know what I mean) which uses the sounds of Britain as promotional triggers. So there’s a mixture of tea being poured, beer being supped, and a poppadum being split.
We hear the roar of the Centre Court crowd as Andy Murray finally gets to kiss the Men’s Singles trophy at Wimbledon, the buzz of an outdoor music festival and the exultation of the choir, orchestra and crowd at the Last night of the Proms. And all mixed in with a track – Feel the Love – from Rudimental who, as it happens, won Best British Single of the Year at the Brits last week.
It went live a few days ago in the US, Brazil, China, India, the Gulf states and throughout Europe.
It’s a terrific piece of work but, with a twist that lifts it truly out of the ordinary, there’s an interactive version too www.youtube.com/LoveGREATBritain. This will allow users worldwide to create their own personalised ad from the footage, which they are encouraged to share on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo. Click on the link – it’s great fun and an excellent piece of work, I think