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An extra hour in bed will sort out sport participation

It seems sports administrators have finally decided the Olympics and other high profile elite sports events will not inspire the nation to participate in sport. They now argue the solution is as simple as winding up the clock or at least moving the time on an hour. If we could only have an extra hour of daylight in the evening sporting success would follow. Why, we might win the World Cup and have a Wimbledon winner at last! Well, at least we could reduce the chances of hearing 'Bad light stops play' which, according to Mike Gatting, 'is one of the most frustrating sentences you can hear in a cricket context'.

So an extra hour in bed would magically deliver an Olympic Legacy of increased participation in sport! I'm beginning to warm to this idea.

Some fumbling fools have pointed out that when we tried this back at the end of the 1960s we failed to reproduce the World Cup success of 1966, when England was still stumbling around in the dark, in 1970. And of course the benefits of extra daylight in the evening wouldn't work for everybody. Scottish children and farmers might not like getting up in the dark on winter mornings.

Still, if one extra hour of daylight in the evening would increase sport participation, provide so many more coaching opportunities and generally get everyone playing more sport then why stop at one? Why not two or even three more evening hours of daylight? Peter Keen, the director of performance at UK Sport recently described in stark terms how important sport was to the nation: "Two years from the Olympics is the right time to ask everybody searching questions that go beyond the issue of money. These are questions for us as a nation. Do we want to win – yes or no? How much are we prepared to invest in that? Why do we do it? It starts with notions of nationhood. I think that matters because we care about sport as a nation … Short of economic domination and warfare, I'm not sure what else makes sense of our national identity and our hopes to succeed as a country."

So the answer is clear, however many extra hours it takes! Maybe three more hours in bed would do it. The success of the country is at stake.


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