Despite ongoing issues relating to performance enhancing drugs, air quality and torch relay protests ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the event is being eagerly anticipated by the British public, with special attention paid to athletics and swimming, a new survey has shown.
The study, commissioned by digital broadcaster British Eurosport, surveyed more than 1,000 members of the public gauging their thoughts on the upcoming Olympics, including their favourite events, top British Olympians and Olympic moments and other relevant questions leading to the event.*
Up to 86% of respondents said they were either “really excited” or “quite excited” about the Beijing Olympics, with 49% saying they would watch Olympic coverage on television “every day”.
The issues surrounding athletes using steroids or performance enhancing drugs did not dilute the enthusiasm – 70% of respondents said it had no bearing on their Olympics viewing habits. When asked whether drugs scandals have lessened the value of an Olympic medal, 40% said no. That said, respondents were less forgiving to convicted cheats, with 41% saying drug cheats should never participate in competitive sport again.
Athletics was ranked the favourite sport among test respondents, with the 100m men’s final regarded as the most exciting Olympic event. Swimming was voted the second favourite sport. Athletics and swimming also ranked one and two as the most anticipated for viewing in this year’s Olympics.
The success of Team GB during the Olympics had a bearing on how much of the event would be of interest, with 64% saying national success was important to how much coverage they watched. In terms of Team GB’s medal performance, 35% of respondents felt the national team would win between one and five gold medals, with a further 33% believing a British gold medal haul of between six and 10 is possible.
Previous British successes at the Olympics were also discussed, with Sir Steve Redgrave’s feats being the most recognised by respondents. When asked who their favourite British Olympian was, 22% voted for Redgrave, 13% for Kelly Holmes and 11% for Denise Lewis. Redgrave’s five Gold medals were also voted as the most memorable British Olympic moment – 30% voted for his haul, while Kelly Holmes’ double Gold victory in 2004 netted 13% of the vote.
Overall, test respondents were mixed on the impact of the 2008 Beijing Games, with 40% saying the event would not be the best ever Olympics, followed by 31% saying it would possibly be the best. On the well-publicised issue of politics affecting this year’s Olympics, the results were mixed; with 32% believing politics should have a bearing on sport, 29% saying never and 37% saying only in extreme circumstances.
Looking ahead to the 2012 London Olympics, 41% thought the event would be the best Olympics ever, with 71% aiming to attend events in four year’s time.
* This survey was conducted by Voxpopuk.com
British Eurosport will be broadcasting more than 400 hours of Olympics coverage, and devoting the entire channel to Beijing for the duration of the event, including up to 15 hours a day of live action, with full coverage on the new Eurosport HD channel also.
British Eurosport is available on Sky 410 and Virgin Media 521, with Eurosport HD on Sky 412
For more information, please contact Isobel or Alina at Brandnation:
t: 0207 940 7178 e: Isobel@brandnation.co.uk
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