Wednesday, January 4, 2012

20 Reasons to get excited about 2012!

After years of talking about it 2012 has finally rolled round and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games are within sight.

We’re getting very excited about seeing our Welsh athletes perform, on home soil, in the biggest sporting event on the planet! So we thought we’d share the excitement and highlight some of the things we’re looking forward to most.

Let us know what you’re looking forward to most about London 2012 – for example your favourite athlete (hopefully!) winning gold - by tweeting us your highlights, using our hash tag #alliwant2012.

1. Getting closer now; with just a 200-day dash for the start line on 9 January for the Olympic Games and 11 February for the Paralympic Games. Look out for events happening right across Wales to mark this latest milestone.

2. It’s the home straight! In just a few short months Welsh athletes will join up with Team GB to take part in the biggest sporting event to hit our shores since we last hosted the Games in 1948. Look out for 18 April and 21 May as we mark 100 days until the Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively.

Geraint Thomas and Young Ambassador
Ainsley Richards with the Olympic Torch
3. The Olympic flame will pass through more than 1,000 cities on a 70-day tour across the UK, travelling within 10 miles of 95% of the population. Welcoming the Olympic Flame evening events take place in Cardiff (Friday 25 May), Swansea (Saturday 26 May), Aberystwyth (Sunday 27 May) and Bangor (Monday 28 May). But the flame will also be passing through many other Welsh towns and villages en route. Visit to see the full route.

4. The London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay will take place from 24–29 August 2012, after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games. It visits Cardiff, during its tour of home capitals, before reaching London for the opening ceremony.

5. The Millennium Stadium has the honour of hosting the very first event of the Olympic Games, with women's Football matches starting on 25 July. It will also host the men's bronze medal match.

6. The Opening Ceremonies will focus the eyes of the world on London on 27 July 2012 for the start of the 2012 Olympic Games and again on 29 August for the fourteenth Paralympic Games.

7. Nicole Cooke, the first woman cyclist to hold the Olympic and World Road Race titles in the same year, should saddle up to sprint down the Mall for the Women’s Road Race on 29 July.

Swimmer Jazz Carlin
8. Jazz Carlin, silver and bronze medallist at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, could make a big splash at the Aquatics Centre with possible finals appearances in the Women’s 400m Freestyle on 29 July, the 200m Freestyle on 30 July and 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay on 1 August.

9. Jemma Lowe, the British record holder and 2010 World Short Course silver medallist swimmer, will hopefully line up for finals of the Women’s 100m Butterfly on 29 July, the 200m Butterfly on 1 August, and the 4 x 100m Medley Relay on 4 August. Both swimmers will be aiming for GB berths in the March trials in London.

10. Wrexham’s 2011 World Rowing Championships bronze medallists Chris Bartley and Victoria Thornley hope to take to the water to race in the finals of the Men’s Lightweight Fours and the Women’s Eights on 2 August.

Geraint Thomas, Nicole Cooke
and Tom James
11. Geraint Thomas, another Olympic and World Champion cyclist of the same year, hopes to put the pedal to the medal in the Men’s Team Pursuit final at the Olympic Park Velodrome on 3 August.

12. Tom James, Coedpoeth’s Beijing gold medallist and 2011 World Rowing Champion, will hopefully stroke for gold again in the final of the Men’s Four, at Eton Dorney, Buckinghamshire on 4 August.

13. Helen Jenkins, Double Triathlon World Champion, will aim to add Olympic gold to her impressive medal haul at Hyde Park on 4 August.

14. Dai Greene, the unstoppable medal machine who currently holds the European, Commonwealth and World titles, will stride out in pursuit of the final jigsaw piece in the 400m Hurdles at the Olympic Stadium on 6 August.

Taekwondo star Jade Jones
15. Jade Jones, the Youth Olympic Games champion and 2011 World silver medallist, will hope to land a few of her favourite head kicks on her way to fulfil her dream of winning GB Taekwondo’s first ever Olympic gold medal at the ExCel Centre on 9 August.

16. Hannah Mills, a silver medallist at the 2011 Sailing World Championships, hopes to make waves in the 470 Class with Saskia Clark at Weymouth and Portland on 10 August.

17. Boxers Fred Evans (welterweight) and Andrew Selby (flyweight) will hope to box their way to some silverware (or goldware!) at ExCel on 12 August.

18. Steve Thomas, silver medallist at the 2011 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships, will hope to go one better and clinch gold in the Sonar class at Weymouth and Portland on 6 September.

19. Nathan Stephens, the current F57 Javelin World Champion and world record holder, will hope to land Paralympic Gold at the Olympic Stadium on 8 September.

20. Closing ceremonies, on 12 August for the Olympics and 9 September for the Paralympics, both of which involve the march of the athletes – without any grouping of nationality – the hoisting of the national flag of the next hosting nation (Brazil) and the symbolic extinguishing of the respective Flames.