As the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games draws to a close, Sir Chris Hoy has heralded fellow cyclist Laura Kenny as the perfect role model to get kids active.
Five-time Olympic champion Kenny claimed gold in the women’s scratch race in Birmingham, only hours after she had thought about giving up the sport altogether after recent illness and injury struggles had impacted her performances.
Hoy was speaking as The National Lottery released research that shows that 80 percent of parents say that the presence of sporting role models can play a key role in encouraging their children to be more active.
“From a cycling perspective, I thought Laura Kenny did an amazing job, she’s had a really tough year,” the six-time Olympic gold medallist said.
“And she was so honest in her post-race interview, just an incredibly open and heartfelt interview after her gold medal-winning performance.
“She has been a massive part of the British team for so long, but it was great to see her win a medal for England.
“I loved seeing Eilish McColgan winning the 10,000m in the athletics. I was a massive fan of her mother [Liz McColgan], I saw her mother winning in 1986 when I was only ten, so when I was a kid.
“To be inspired by a Scottish gold medal and the Commonwealth Games in my hometown of Edinburgh, and then seeing her daughter win the same event that was pretty special.”
It is no surprise that Hoy, who was twice Commonwealth Games champion in the velodrome, picks out two women as inspirations, with the research also showing that 84 percent of parents felt it was important for young girls to see positive female sporting role models to encourage them to be more active.
Proud Scotsman Hoy was still able to celebrate the positive effect England’s European Championship-winning Lionesses will have on young kids to get active and believes parkrun is the perfect place for them to channel that inspiration.
The UK’s biggest mass participation community event, parkrun has so far benefitted from over £3.6m in National Lottery funding, as it encourages people of all abilities and ages to walk, jog, run and volunteer at their local events every weekend.
Hoy added: “It is vital and recent research has shown that parents feel that sporting role models and on TV can really help encourage their kids to be more active.
“You’ve had the Lionesses in the football, you have had the Commonwealth Games, you have the European Championships coming up, all these opportunities to get kids inspired.
“And often it is then thinking well, how I can help my kids to get out and get active, what can I take them to, what sporting events, what sporting activities and you do not have to spend lots of money.
“There’s parkruns, which are all around the country, you can find a local parkrun, you can take the kids down there, it is free.
“These are notable examples of ways that you can get out and you can get active and use that inspiration that your kids have had to get them out and about.”
The National Lottery and parkrun have joined forces to encourage people across the UK to take part in their local parkrun this weekend. For more information and to find your local parkrun event, visit www.parkrun.org.uk