IN terms of participation, variety and success, the Isle of Man frequently punches above its weight in sport.
To celebrate this fact, Manx National Heritage has spent the past year collating stories, film, photographs and memorabilia for a new interactive exhibition, Our Sporting Life.
The exhibition opens at the Manx Museum this Saturday (September 3), to coincide with the launch of the Commonwealth Youth Games and will run throughout 2012 leading up to the London Olympic Games.
It will profile the Isle of Man’s modern day sports stars, as well as featuring historic events and heroes, from school level to world championship performances.
Curator Katie King said: ‘There is a mind-blowing amount of sport happening in our small island and we hope we have captured this spirit.
‘The Isle of Man has a fantastic Commonwealth Games record. We sent our first team to the games in 1958, and against all expectations, cyclist Stuart Slack won a bronze medal in the men’s road race.’
She continued: ‘The Manx cycling phenomenon is a truly captivating story – the success of Mark Cavendish has gripped the nation in recent years, but we have been producing top cyclists in the island since the 1950s and continue to produce performers with the potential to follow in Cav’s wheel tracks.’
Highlights of objects uncovered for the presentation include Mark Cavendish’s Tour de France stage-winning bike from 2008, together with his Commonwealth Games gold medal; enduro star David Knight’s world championship winning motorcycle; Zoe Gillings’s Olympic snowboarding outfit; swimming and cycling paralympian Ian Sharpe’s medals; and the Isle of Man Football Association’s impressive Hospital and Railway Cups.
Manx National Heritage says the exhibition examines attitudes, looking at what inspires our sporting stars and what motivates ordinary people to go to extraordinary lengths for their sport.
Aspects of the exhibition will change while it is place to coincide with current events.
On Saturday, September 24, Ian Sharpe will speak at the first of a series of talks at the exhibition about his career, 10 paralympic medals and his hopes for 2012.