The Tokyo Olympics are set to get underway in Japan later this month and the excitement within the local sporting community is growing.
And so is interest in taking up sports featured in the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.
Gary Shelton, executive director of the Edmonton Sport Council, says they typically see a jump in interest post-competition especially in the sports Canada succeeds in.
“A lot of us will be watching the Olympics,” Shelton said.
The group also sees a bump in their website traffic and will help direct potential athletes to clubs, leagues and facilities, he said.
“We’re a connector and a voice and a resource for Edmonton’s amateur sport and recreation community.”
Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
You can see more in this week’s edition of Our Edmonton from the Mill Woods Sports Park on Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at noon and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and CBC GEM.
There are a dozen athletes from the Edmonton-area participating in the Olympics and three in the Paralympics in sports like volleyball, track and field, soccer and cycling.
James Rosnau, chairperson of the Edmonton Sport Council and the executive director of Athletics Alberta, the provincial governing body for track and field, says people should keep an eye on rising stars Marco Arop, an 800 metre runner who is top five in the world and Sage Watson, a 400 metre hurdler.
Their successes will help inspire the next generation of athletes who they’ve trained with at a club or worked with at a camp, Rosnau says.
The other upshot of the Olympics is the renewed focus and interest in getting active.
Shannon Pynn, a director with the Edmonton Sport Council, says that while the physical and social benefits of sport are obvious, there is another factor at play.
“[It’s] the psychological side of things, it makes us feel good, it can help build our self esteem, improve our mood,” Pynn said.
The Olympics, which will be broadcast by CBC, run from July 23 to August 8 and the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.