220: You’re involved with the Laureus Foundation. We’ve seen you at the ITU Hyde Park races but what does that involve year-round?
DT: Next week I’m going to Brazil to work with some projects, we have about six or seven schemes in South America. It’s always about using sport as a social tool to give kids some space where they can do sport or use it to learn to read or write. We’ll also give them education on things like drugs and AIDS.
There are 40 of us old sports people involved. We all feel that we’ve had a great life out of sport and want to give something back.
Is it then frustrating to sport budgets being cut when we’re spending a reported £5.1 billion a year dealing with the effects of obesity?
What we have in this country is an obesity epidemic, with a lot of overweight and out-of-shape children included. It doesn’t need to be like that. If there were more sports in school, more healthy options in terms of exercise for kids and more education [on the benefits] of sport. Kids need to be running around and climbing trees, and that’s something that doesn’t seem to happen anymore.
When you can be Messi or Ronaldo on the games console, it’s hard for outdoor sport to compete.
I’m a parent of five kids and I see it all the time. They have a play date and they sit on the X-Box. But if sport wants to thrive then it has to meet those obstacles. And, by either luck or good judgement, one of the sports that’s growing is triathlon.
It’s not yet a sport that’s currently affordable to all, though.
I agree, and no-one wants to be doing tri on a rubbish bike, especially when you want to climb the ladder. A £300 bike is out of a lot of people’s reach. Triathlon must address this issue if it wants to make the next step up and be all over India or China and around the world.
Going back to the Olympics, what were your highlights of the Games?
I enjoyed seeing Alistair and Jonny, of course. They were brilliant. But my favourite thing was the indoor volleyball. I’ve liked it forever, played a bit badly, but it’s so competitive and I love it.
As a country, we put on such a great show and performed very well. It was so good even London transport worked! And that’s a miracle in itself.