Don't let the Winter Olympic legacy slide away

Not sure about you, but Winter Olympics fever has gripped our house - with dinner time having been brought forward so that my two young sons can get in an hour with Clare Balding and her Today at the Games gang before bedtime.

We’ve oohed, ahh-ed and WTF-ed at all sorts of different and, in the main, exciting looking sports; and can now claim to be veritable experts in everything from snowboard cross to Mr T’s favourite new sport, curling. But one question lingers every night – how do you get into a sport like skeleton, biathlon or speed skating?

Admittedly, a quick search on Google throws up options for all three – some (speed skating in Bradford) more local for those of us in Yorkshire than others (skeleton and bobsleigh taster sessions in Bath in April), but what’s missing for me while I'm wearing my PR winter sports hat, is a concerted effort to get the next generation of Winter Olympians started on the slippery slope to the podium.

Why for example, in the days after Lizzy Yarnold, Laura Deas and Dom Parsons picked up their medals were the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association not all over social media with messages aimed at building on the huge interest levels their star performers had generated? Instead, its Twitter and Instagram feeds were filled with update after update from PyeonChang, which clearly showed what a great time its media team was having, but failed to capitalise in any way on the its greatest ever legacy opportunity.

As for British Curling, the missed opportunity has been even greater. As of today it has a Twitter following of 901 people at a time when BBC clips are being watched tens of thousands of times; Mr T is tweeting regularly about how much he loves the sport to his 223,000 followers; and millions of us are forgoing a good night's sleep to watch Eve Muirhead and Kyle Smith in action.

Let’s face it, creating a social media buzz isn’t rocket science, and it certainly shouldn’t cost under-funded sports bodies the earth to achieve it. In fact, PR and social media agencies all over the country would be brawling in the streets to be appointed to handle either of the accounts mentioned above… I mean, just imagine, handling the PR for curling at a time like this. It would be manna from heaven for any PR person anywhere. Ditto bobsleigh and skeleton.

Clearly, I’m not going to give the game away by launching into what I’d suggest, and how we at Source Marketing would do it, but needless to say we’d be looking to engage with the next generation of Olympians to ensure the legacy of this Games doesn’t slide away.

And just in case anyone wants to question my relevant experience for saying "I do" to British Curling, I’ll have you know my first part-time job as a student in Edinburgh back in the 1990s was as the cook at the Edinburgh Curling Club!

By the way, find out more about bobsleigh, skeleton, biathlon, speed-skating (in Bradford) and curling here:

British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association - http://www.thebbsa.co.uk/

British Biathlon - http://britishbiathlon.com/

Bradford Ice Rink (for Yorkshire speed skating) - http://www.bradfordicearena.co.uk/speed-skating/

British Curling - http://www.britishcurling.org.uk/

Happy Olympic watching, and as they say in South Korea - 안녕!!

Written by Daniel Kennedy, 23/02/2018