With just under a year to go before the London Olympics, sport in the UK will be going ballistic. But there’s also a lot going on here in NZ sport. From events like next year’s Triathlon World Cup being planned, to the multi-million dollar state-of-the-art developments like the Millennium Institute and future new cycling Velodrome, there’s never been such development in NZ sport.
My poppa represented NZ at the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney in track cycling. When I was competing myself, I’d often compare our facilities and equipment to what was available to him nearly 70 years prior. From woollen cycle jerseys and leather helmets of his day, to the lycra-everything and carbon-anything era of ours, from working full-time and chasing my nana’s zephyr car after work for training, to the privileged full-time athletic careers of ours, they really were two different sports. But technology has since taken another quantum leap – not just in our sport but across the board.
But at the heart of all the bells (actually, I do have one of those on my current bike these days) and whistles, the fundamentals of sport haven’t changed. Or at least I hope not.
I’m reminded of this when I’m riding my commuter bike here (baby seat included) in Cambridge (not France) this winter, with basket on the front (hardly aerodynamic), puffing as I negotiate the slight rise home from the post office (hardly athletic). But I love being on my bike as much now as I always have, as much as my Poppa did through his years of the sport and I’m sure as much as today’s competitive sportspeople do now. Though maybe just not quite as much as my co-pilot (daughter) Lily does.