Double Olympic champion Helen Glover is living proof that taking up a new sport can lead you anywhere and is now backing a programme aiming to inspire young people to get active.
Travel to Tokyo is part of Get Set, Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s youth engagement programme, with £2.6 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England, and support from partners including ukactive.
The programme aims to inspire young people aged 5–11, their classmates and families to try new activities and get active together in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
By joining athletes on a journey from London to Tokyo, participants will join half a million families across England in getting active and be in with the chance to learn new skills, have fun and win some fantastic prizes along the way and Glover is a keen advocate.
"I think it's really important to try new things,” said the triple coxless pair world champion.
“I wouldn't have become a rower if I hadn't taken a massive leap of faith when I was 21, trying something out of my comfort zone.
“This isn't just about becoming the next big thing in sport, it's about being active, doing things with your family and if we can use the Olympic legacy as part of that, it's really good.
“For me, being part of Team GB, probably the biggest thing for me has been keeping that legacy going.
“It’s in programmes like Travel to Tokyo you see it come to fruition, change people's lives and make children more active in the long-term.”
Travel to Tokyo aims to address the fact that recent Sport England research shows 4 in 5 young people are not doing the 60 minutes of daily exercise recommended by the Chief Medical Officer.
By joining athletes on a journey from London to Tokyo, participants will be in with the chance to learn new skills, have fun and win prizes – like having top athletes visit their school - along the way.
Travel to Tokyo began with a bang as students and families came together to take part in a mass participation Japanese Sports day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Glover, married to TV presenter Steve Backshall, brought son Logan along to the launch and the toddler was transfixed by proceedings.
"I brought Logan along and he was fascinated by everything that was going on,” said the 33-year-old.
“We had whole families getting involved and siblings competing with and against each other, which was really powerful.
“The programme as a whole is all about making physical activity fun and putting families at the centre, rather than just on the sidelines, which I think is fantastic.”
You can get involved in Travel to Tokyo youth engagement programme by visiting www.getset.co.uk/travel-tokyo/general