DAVE GOODERHAM: Sochi gold fuels a thirst for learning

A personal view
A personal view
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It was one of those father-and-son moments that will last a lifetime. As has already been the case – and will undoubtedly be so again in the future – sport was at the heart of the seminal moment.

But it wasn’t Rooney or Adebayor who united me and my six-year-old son, Darcy. It was Murdoch and Goodfellow.

Where Match of the Day or Peppa Pig normally rules the Gooderham house, depending on which son grabs the remote control, for two short weeks it was all about Sochi. It was a delight to see my son get hooked on short track speed skating and freestyle skiing halfpipe. But it was Team GB’s fantastic run in the curling that captured his imagination the most – culminating in unbridled celebrations as a final spot was booked in thrilling fashion.

Best of all was how the events in Sochi had gripped his insatiable young thirst for knowledge. Happily, this wasn’t just restricted to curling – a sport I know little about. It resembles bowling, right? On ice. With brooms.

Instead, he wanted to know all about Sochi, about Russia, about each country’s flags. His school, like others I’m sure, used the 24th Winter Olympics to teach his young mind about geography and science. He wanted to know the difference between countries and cities, and then towns and villages.

It brought back memories of how I used to know the capital city of virtually every European country – just by watching enough football matches.

Darcy and I had been here before. Two years ago, I allowed him to stay up and watch that golden Saturday night in London’s Olympic Stadium when Team GB walked away with three track and field gold medals. But I equally marvelled at his interest in the table tennis score and equated his near-obsession with statistics with his love of maths.

There is a lot wrong with sport, football especially. But, the Winter Olympics was full of athletes revelling in a limelight they know will be over now the Sochi sun has gone down.

And in the right hands, it also teaches youngsters so much more than just gold medals or dramatic action.