Joe Brier doing a crouch start
Joe Brier, Team GB and Wales 400m runner, gave a talk to Croesyceiliog School pupils

Research by The National Lottery found that parents feel sporting role models on TV and in the media can play an important role in encouraging their children to be more active.

With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and England’s Lionesses historic win over Germany in the Women’s Euro 2022 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium, it truly has been a sensational summer of sport. The new research shows parents feel that sporting activity like this on TV and in the media provides important inspiration for their children to be more active.

The research by The National Lottery shows that 77% of parents in Wales say that the presence of sporting role models can play an important role in encouraging their children to be more active.

This is particularly true for girls, according to parents with children of any age, with 84% saying they felt it was important for young girls to see positive female sporting models to encourage them to be more active.

Iwan Thomas, National Lottery Ambassador and former World, Commonwealth Games and European champion, said: “We’ve truly been spoilt this summer with so much incredible sport. As a proud Welshman, it’s been brilliant to see more role models created at the Commonwealth Games. Who can forget Olivia Breen’s trackside interview after winning gold? Or the delight on Gemma Frizelle’s face when she won gold in the rhythmic gymnastics? We’ve had some amazing performances right across the sports from cycling to athletics and boxing to swimming. And we’ve been inspired by the success over the border of the Lionesses at this year’s Euros too.

“Looking at the research from The National Lottery, and as a parent myself, I can see why so many feel that sporting moments like the Commonwealth Games help encourage children to be active. They see positive role models and want to give it a go.

“And we can all play a part in encouraging children to be more active – every week parkrun, which has had £3.6m of investment from The National Lottery, provides the chance for kids to get active in the great outdoors for free – and of course parents and families can join in too. Let’s celebrate our summer of sport in style and all get involved in a local parkrun this weekend?”

Russ Jefferys, parkrun CEO said: “It’s great to see that parents believe athletes and sporting role models can play a role in helping inspire children to be active. But we can always do more. Investment from The National Lottery, in small grassroots organisations like parkrun, helps us to continue the vital work to break down barriers to physical activity, encourage and support individuals to participate at a time and in a way that suits them, and to challenge the structural inequalities that exist which still prevent too many from taking steps towards improving their own health and happiness.”

For more information and to find your local parkrun event, visit

Professor Cary Cooper CBE, former WHO advisor and expert in occupational health psychology, said: “We live in a multi-media age and consume information on things like television and social media far more than ever before. There are many drivers to getting children active and the research shows that parents believe seeing ‘celebrities’ or well-known sportspeople through the media can play a role. The reason for this is simple, the media, particularly TV and social media creates influencers who have an impact of the attitudes and behaviour those connected to it and want to model their behaviour after them.  The role of sport provides an important, regular presence that can make us more likely to embrace participation than if we weren’t exposed to it.”