Save up for some summer sporting action
2012 Olympics, Wimbledon and F1 at Silverstone on the calendar
It’s shaping up to be a great summer, with London taking centre stage as the Olympics come to town. And as the eyes of the world are focused on the UK, this could be the year that re-energises our attitudes to sport and helps spectators make the transition from chair to pitch.
But although the Olympics dominate the calendar, there’s far more to this sporting summer than the interlaced rings. So whether you're a passionate sports fanatic eager to witness grand spectacles in person, or a casual fan who prefers to watch events unfold on TV from the comfort of your armchair, what are the picks of the summer?
Fixtures in the firmament
There’s no escaping that it’s an Olympic year, and while the opening ceremony may not match Beijing’s monumental pyrotechnics, it is still set to be quite a showcase. Ultimately, the games are really about the sport, with more than 2,100 medals to be handed out.
With 26 sports going on, the Olympics is a vast programme – offering everything from archery to wrestling between 27 Jul and 9 Aug. Including the Paralympic Games, which follow at the end of August, the events are spread between nine centres at the main Olympic Park in east London, with a further 13 venues in the capital – and ten more around the UK for sports such as mountain biking and sailing. Among the home-grown hopefuls, UK cyclists are set to bring their great form to the track – hopefully spurring a riding revolution in the nation – while tennis player Andy Murray could unite hopes north and south of the border as he takes on the world’s best in the Olympic event at Wimbledon.
It may prove difficult to acquire tickets at this stage. So while it may not be quite the same as being there in person, a viable option could be to enjoy the action in the comfort of your own home by upgrading to the latest generation of TVs.
The Olympics aren’t the only quadrennial event this summer however. Poland and Ukraine are set to host the UEFA Euro 2012 championships, in a tournament where – as usual – great things are expected of an England team.
Despite the fact that the tournament could be an important stepping stone to better integration into European affairs – especially for the non-EU Ukraine – some of the host cities are not traditional tourist destinations. This means that despite the usual welcome from the home fans, footie fans may prefer to sit this one out and watch it on TV. The tournament starts on 8 June, with England’s final group game against joint hosts Ukraine taking place on 19 June.
Back in the UK, we have our usual calendar of summer sporting gems. For the quintessential British summer experience, Wimbledon is always a treat. And the good news is that you can just turn up on the day – provided you don’t mind an early start – and queue for a resale ticket, so you can get swept up in the euphoria without making any prior preparation. Tennis is enjoying a golden period, with several of the greatest players of all time competing for the honours. The tournament starts on 25 June.
There is an early summer treat for rugby fans - the English team will play the Barbarians at Twickenham at the end of May, while the UK round of the F1 championship at Silverstone on 6 – 8 July is another pre-Olympic teaser.
So, to give yourself a chance at catching some of these moments unfold in the flesh, start putting aside the pennies now and get into the habit of saving. You should check the savings rates, make a commitment to monthly savings and for longer-term goals, consider savings bonds.
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