At the beginning of the year, I wondered how 2013 could match the fantastic year of sport that we had all enjoyed in 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics had been such an inspiration for all those who watched and were inspired to get up and take up a more active lifestyle.
But 2013 didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t just a year between the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
2013 continued to deliver sporting success, Justin Rose won the US Open, Andy Murray won Wimbledon, the British Lions have won in Australia, Chris Froome won the Tour de France and England thrashed Australia in the Ashes. England became the Men’s Team Champions at Squash and the GB Cycling team was outstanding at the World Track Championship.
Here in the county, Lincolnshire continued to produce athletes that compete at the highest level. Sporting success came on two wheels with Alex Lowes became the youngest ever British Superbike Champion and his twin brother Sam took the Superbikes World Championship.
Aaron Brindle, the Lincolnshire 2013 Sports Personality of the Year, played a vital part in the England Women’s Cricket team taking the Ashes Trophy from World Champions Australia and Sophie Wells and Valerius (her horse) won Team Gold and two Individual Golds at the Para European Dressage Championships.
As a county we should be very proud of the group of young athletes already representing England and GB at a wide variety of sports, names to look out for in 2014 include Ashton Turner (Golf), Oliver Bitowt (Open water swimming), Olivia Churchill (Table Tennis), Lee Cupit (Athletics), Robert York (Windsurfing), Chris Brown (Archery), Ben Grantham (Badminton) Elizabeth Gray (Kayaking) and Bo Haywood (Triathlon).
So as the curtain comes down on another fantastic year of sport, we look forward to see what major sporting events are set to inspire us in 2014.
We start in February with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, where team GB will look to build upon Amy William’s success in Vancouver where she won the team’s first individual Olympic Winter Games gold medal for 30 years and was the first woman individual gold medallist for 58 years.
The summer will be packed with action, starting with the Football World Cup in Brazil, Andy Murray looking to defend his Wimbledon title, Yorkshire hosting the start of the 101st Tour de France and Glasgow welcoming 70 Commonwealth countries for the 20th Commonwealth Games. In August the England women’s rugby team will be heading to France for the Rugby World Cup.
With 15.5 million people currently playing sport every week, these events will give us plenty of inspiration to pick up the sporting habit.