Arnie and Boris Talk Fitness As Government Drops Its Olympic Fitness Goals
Oh to be a fly on the wall for the real conversation between former Governor Arnie, the Terminator, Schwarzenegger and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.
Ostensibly they got together to discuss fitness programmes for youth. But a few years ago Arnie had called Johnson's speaking style 'fumbling' and in return the Mayor called him a 'monosyllabic Austrian cyborg'.
Things have improved. The former California governor rode a Boris bike with the Mayor and said 'I think these 6,000 bikes you have in London are a fantastic idea. They are 'a great idea for the whole world.' Mayor Boris Johnson said: ' We can't all be Mr Universe, but we can all be a bit more active.'
The meeting and press was all about the goal to boost sports participation in London in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games. The Mayor's Sports Participation Fund has dedicated £4.3 million to helping community projects that aim to increase participation in sport, or use sport to tackle social issues.
It is ironic that the Mayor is throwing more money at sport at the same time as the national government has quietly dropped its oft-stated goal of the 2012 Olympics: the pledge to inspire one million adults to play more sport.
Having won the Games, the previous government was committed to inspire a million more people to play sport three or more times a week. Then they wanted to get a million more people doing more general physical activity, such as gardening and home renovations. That goal has been completely abandoned now.
But the new Conservative government isn't convinced. There has been little progress made by the people of the UK towards increased fitness. With a target of 7.815m people playing sport three or more times a week by 2012-13, a recent study found that the figure was more like 6.881m now, compared to 6.815m in 2007.
According to the Guardian, the fact is that a total of 17 sports have seen a decrease in the number of people participating once a week since 2007/08, while just four (athletics, mountaineering, netball and table tennis) have recorded an increase.
The Olympics Minister is more concerned about the taxpayers' money being spent and less worried about office workers getting off their rear end.
The new strategy, not officially announced yet, will encourage older teenagers and those in their early twenties to get into the habit of playing sports and that will ulitmately drive up adult participation figures.