His double gold medal glory at Rio 2016 attracted one of the biggest audiences of the broadcasting year, yet gymnast Max Whitlock will become a TV turn off on Saturday in a bid to get people off their sofas.
Whitlock, whose triumphs in Brazil were watched by more than 10 million Britons, will flick the switch off on all ITV channels for an hour as part of a nationwide sports day celebrating the UK’s biggest Olympic medal haul in 108 years.
Dozens of medallists will join the public for I Am Team GB, an event which sees 2,400 venues throw open their doors to encourage the public to get more active.
Viewers tuning in to ITV from 9.30am will be greeted with the message “we’ve gone running,— why don’t you join us?” as sports clubs across the country open their doors for free tuition.
Whitlock, 23, will turn off the channel after telling viewers: “Okay, to get involved today just go to iamteamgb.com to see what’s happening near you…we’ll be back in an hour.”
It is hoped hundreds of thousands of Britons young and old will take part, cheered on by stars including Whitlock, gold medalist rower Helen Glover, swimming silver medalist Jazz Carlin and Charlotte Dujardin, the equestrian gold medalist.
Whitlock, who is due to get married this year, said: “I first started gymnastics in Hemel Hempstead at Sapphire School of Gymnastics.
Knowing how friendly and life-changing clubs like this can be, I’d urge everyone to get involved.”
The event, organised by the National Lottery and ITV, will the broadcaster’s favourite soaps getting in one the act. Emmerdale will host races on its main street while Coronation Street will have games of badminton on its famous cobbles.
Team GB hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh, who steered her women’s team to gold in Rio, will also be among those cheering on sporting newcomers.
The 36-year-old said: “As a group of athletes, whether medallists or not, I think Team GB have opportunity to see sports they have maybe never seen before.
“There was such a breadth of of over in Rio. Our team has had so many lovely messages from people who have never watched hockey before but they watched the final, they saw the penalty shuffles and they saw how exciting a game it was and how fast it was and they have gone out to have a go.
“That’s what we want people to do, but it doesn’t have to be hockey. Any sport would be good. Just go out there and do something. Be active.”
Much of the Olympics’ success was down to the funding of athletes from more than £80million raised each year by National Lottery players.
To celebrate Team GB’s record haul of 67 medals, Lotto will create an extra 67 life-changing prizes this Saturday, with 27 prizes of £1million to match our 27 gold medals.
There will also be 23 prizes of £100,000, to equal tally of silver medals, extra prizes of £50,000 to 3 extra ual our and 17 to mark our bronze medals.
To take part in the events across the country, visit iamteamgb.com.
News Source TelegraphNews