With the Olympics upon us we can settle down to watch the best in the world compete on the world stage. Magnificent facilities set in gorgeous scenery in a city which many of us would love to visit. Meanwhile in the UK, Roller Derby continues apace in sports centres that are past their best, in locations which due to their familiarity hardly seem exotic. The Olympics seem to be in a very different league.
A few weeks ago I was chatting to a guy at my local life drawing class. He’s a keen sailor, having circumnavigated the world in the past. I enquired to see if he had any new sailing trips planned. Alas no, he was heading off to the Olympics as his wife, also a keen sailor, was heading out there as a medic for the Team GB sailing team. Wow, I thought, what an experience, I assumed that it was all funded. But no, apart from the top athletes in the glamour sports, sponsored by large multi-national companies, those in minority sports struggle to find funding and many in support roles have to clear out the penny jar to get themselves there.
Over the past few years I have forked out on several occasions for London Rollergirls t-shirts to help get them to the Championships. This year there is another UK team heading out to the States to compete at the highest level, Rainy City Roller Derby. Roller Derby like all minority sports, even those at the Olympics, struggle with funding as there bugger all money in the game, so lend them a fiver.