Sport is GREAT - Part 2

Messing about in boats is a British obsession. Richard visits Portland and Weymouth's Olympic harbour and finds out if he's got what it takes to win a medal on the water.


I’ve come to Weymouth and Portland Bay where you’ll find some of the best natural sailing waters in the UK. During the Olympics this incredible coastline will host 10 exciting sailing events from dinghy racing to windsurfing. The area is a natural open-air venue, which means there are plenty of places to watch the sailing from – like here.

This is the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and, thanks to the Olympics, it’s become a state-of-the-art facility for professional training, competitions and the local community… so everyone will benefit from the Olympics – even when it’s gone.


Peter Allam works for LOCOG, the Olympic Organisers.

Richard: Peter, why has this stretch of coastline been chosen for Olympic sailing?

Peter: One thing we can always rely on at Weymouth and Portland is the wind... and you can probably just hear it whistling in the background so we get good wind. We also have fantastic waters here to which we can set the race courses, the good sea conditions are favourable, and the shape of the bay and the harbour here, within Portland Harbour, gives us plenty of opportunity to sail whatever the conditions.

Richard: And you're an Olympian yourself.

Peter: I've been lucky. Twice, I've been to the Olympics. The first time was in 1984, the second time was in '92, and I was very fortunate in '84 to win a bronze medal, although we were favourites for the gold, I'm very happy to have come away with a medal.

Richard: So what makes this facility so state of the art?

Peter: The great thing about this academy is that it caters for all ability levels, from the elite athletes to the first-time sailor. It also has plenty of space. You need space for lots of boats and lots of people.

Richard: All this sea air and talk of sailing has given me an idea!


Snug! This is the Official Test Centre, next to the sailing academy. It offers something for everyone from professionals to beginners – like me. So, let’s see what this coastline has to offer.

Windsurfing instructor Tris Best is taking me out on the water.

Tris: That's it. Lovely job. And then hand over hand nice and gently when you're ready. No rush. Lovely job. And then just grab in the mast below the boom. Perfect! Well done.

Richard: Got it.

Tris. OK. Keep your knees nice and bent, back straight. That's how, nice and upright. Perfect. That's it. Perfect. Here we go. Too easy!


Oh, this is it! I'm getting there. Yes! A carve gybe! Oh, and a flare gybe! I'm all over it! Just flip a 180! Yes, that's a beautiful gust. Yeah, alright, OK, I admit it. I've got a little way to go when it comes to windsurfing... but Great Britain is so passionate about sport I think I'm going to try a few more of them. Now, where did I put my cricket bat?

Task 1

Which is the best title for this video?


Task 2

Which answers are true? There may be more than one.


Task 3

Drag the right words into the gaps.


Task 4

Correct the correct word to complete each sentence.


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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 30/07/2021 - 16:30

The other day, I saw a couple in a festive mood in front of the Olympic Rings, appealing "solidarity" as if they represented what IOC chairman said. Behind the back of the rings, there are essential workers and patients being in a fight with COVID-19 at the moment. Vanity.... the "solidarity" actually results in the dismemberment of the globe.

Submitted by Evgeny N on Fri, 24/05/2019 - 13:22

Dear British Council! Thank you a lot not only for the opportunity to improve level of my English but also for very interesting and useful videos! Due to the fact that you exist I have found a lot of very interesting details about Great Britain: about English people and their culture.

Submitted by FrancktheDodger on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 18:26

Are water sports popular in your country?  Italy is a peninsula and our country has a continuous relationship with seaside. We have a long tradition about sailing and shipbuilding. Lately, Giovanni Soldini and his crew sailed from HongKong to London, the Tea Route, and his Maserati team broke the early record of nearly a week less. Italian people are interested in water sports, specially in the Olympics, and many athletes attend for games as divers, swimmers, subs. Though I do not consider very common for people here regularly to swim and practise water sports. Even if the synonym between summer holidays and going to seaside stays a “must” for the majority of our population. How would you feel if you represented your country in the Olympics or Paralympics?  Well, if I were an outstanding athlete, I would be proud to represent my country and I would do my best to contend medals and break records. I would feel even sense of responsibility towards my coaches and sporting mates, to do my best respecting rules. Actually, I still believe that sports spirits have a lot to do with fair-play, hard work and healthy cure of the body. In any case, it will stay an far-away hypothesis, fortunately for my country, because I am a sport-loving watcher but am not a sporting person at all! Is there an unusual sport you would like to try? Well, I would like to train myself to compete in free diving. I love the sea and I am good at yoga, working well with deep and long breathing. I won’t compete with great Olympics swimmers, but maybe there would be a chance going into deep.

Submitted by Unknown on Tue, 10/10/2017 - 23:11

To be honest, people apparently lack the desire to go swimming in Peru, consequently, you may find difficult to enjoy water sports here,neverthelesss, there is a wide range of extreme sports availabe these days in different parts of my country, so why don' t you come here and give it a try? I remember representing my school in a math competition, I have never experienced so much excitement in my life. I wish I was good at sports. Anyway I'd like to go paragliding. it's something I have always wanted to do. By the way, I want to congratulate you on having such a wonderful website!!

Submitted by crovina on Tue, 20/06/2017 - 02:44

No, water sports isn't popular in my country. The most popular sport in my country is soccer, but we haver great athletes in water sports here like Torben Grael, whos won medals in olympic games.

Submitted by adeljva on Sat, 27/05/2017 - 21:06

Well, I have been on this British Council webpage for one year and three months, and I would like to say thank you for offer lots of resources here to learn English, I think I have improved my English a lot with this, I can not go out to an institute because the cost but here I feel very well, thank you again from a grateful Venezuelan.

Hello adeljva,

Thank you for your lovely comment. It's great to hear that we're helping people!

Good luck with your continued learning.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team