Today Sport Relief is revealing a flavour of its star-studded line-up to get the UK pumped up and ready to get their kit on to change lives. Secrets being spilt today include the first famous face set to trek a 100-mile triathlon on ice in Mongolia, some of the presenters of the BBC One night of Sport Relief entertainment, and an unmissable competition for schools around the country with double Olympic gold medallist, Max Whitlock MBE.
Sporting legend Rio Ferdinand and his wife, fitness fanatic Kate, have got their kit on to help kick off Sport Relief, and have shared a powerful personal message about how sport has improved their lives, especially when it comes to mental health.
Rio, football legend and BT Sport presenter, said: “Over the years I’ve learnt that there’s much more to sport than winning trophies; there’s a lot to gain personally from taking part. Sport has this amazing ability to bring people together and tackle really important issues like mental health stigma, which I’m really passionate about. Sport gives you something to focus your energy on, and speaking from my own experiences off the pitch, it’s positively impacted my family’s lives when going through some hard times.
“Sport Relief brings all this together in a way no other charity does – with a sense of fun and humour, which we all need a bit more of. I am proud to be part of this year’s campaign and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the work donations support, to hopefully bring more attention to topics, like mental health, that we really need to keep talking about publicly.”
Kate said: “Sport is really important to me and our family – it’s helped me so much recently with my own panic attacks and anxiety, so I know how much it can change your way of thinking and mental health. I love starting the day with a home workout or family dog walk, any form of exercise sets me up with a positive and motivated mindset. The beauty of Sport Relief is that it is so easy to get involved and it is for anyone, whether you are sporty or not. Knowing that donations tackle issues like mental health, homelessness and domestic abuse, makes it a no-brainer for me. I’m excited to be part of this year’s campaign and look forward to getting more involved.”
Since last Sport Relief, some of the money raised has help support 714 organisations in the UK with 100 right here in Wales. Sport Relief channels the power of sport to raise money and change lives, with donations spent on tackling major issues including mental health, domestic abuse, homelessness and child poverty – at home and around the world.
Gareth Thomas said: “I am calling on Wales to join me and get behind this year’s Sport Relief campaign. I have seen first-hand the life changing work donations make possible around the whole country and believe me, it’s fantastic. There’s so much more we can all do to keep raising funds. Here in Wales all sorts of projects are helped by Sport Relief -from mental health stigma to homelessness. Come on Wales, it’s game on!”
Coming up this Sport Relief:
BBC Radio 1 DJ, Nick Grimshaw, is the first name to be revealed for BBC One’s Sport Relief: On Thin Ice, a sub-zero four-day challenge of a lifetime, taking place over 4,000 miles from home towards the end of February. Grimmy will form part of a brave team of eight celebrities who, in a world-first, will together cycle, skate and trek 100 arduous miles across Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia, which is more than two million years old and freezes to ice during winter. The challenge aims to break the ice on the silence and stigma surrounding mental health issues, a cause close to the hearts of the eight celebrities, so more people can access the support they need. Their heroic efforts will be filmed for a one-hour documentary to be shown in the run up to Sport Relief. More names will be revealed over the course of today and the rest of the week.
Nick said: “Super excited to announce that I’ll be doing 25 miles a day on ice in Mongolia all in aid of Sport Relief. It’s going to be really challenging both mentally and physically, but I can’t wait to get started!”
Newsreader and avid runner Sophie Raworth will take on BBC Radio 3’s Beat Beethoven challenge which sees members of the public run 5k around MediaCityUK and “beat” the music of Beethoven’s epic Fifth Symphony performed live by the BBC Philharmonic on 13th March. Further BBC Radio plans will be revealed soon.
As part of this year’s TV entertainment, true Sport Relief legends including David Walliams, Davina McCall, Greg James, John Bishop and Gareth Thomas will share memorable moments from their gruelling fundraising challenges from over the years in a special documentary shown the week before Sport Relief on BBC One. All have pushed themselves to the absolute mental and physical limit to raise millions for causes they care deeply about.
Max Whitlock MBE, double Olympic gold medallist and 2019 gymnastics World Champion, will be gearing up to visit one lucky school in the country, as he announces a brand-new competition in a Sport Relief first. Schools can enter simply by submitting their proposals on sportrelief.com/max, to be in with the chance of winning a special visit from Max himself.
Max has also joined forces with sports stars Ellie Simmonds, Harry Kane and Jessica Ennis-Hill to launch this year’s official Sport Relief range, sold exclusively in Sainsbury’s and selected Argos stores. This year’s fundraising merchandise includes everything from colourful T-shirts to pin badges, as well as a limited-edition tote bag, designed by Dina Asher-Smith. This will all be on sale from 15th February.
Gary Lineker and Paddy McGuinness return as hosts alongside other exciting new names soon to be revealed, for the Sport Relief night of TV from Salford, which will air on BBC One on 13th March. Viewers can expect a spectacular line-up of one-off specials, sketches and live music.
The UK can also enjoy a series of Sport Relief themed TV shows, including BBC’s Catchpoint, Blue Peter, Bargain Hunt, which will pit Olympians against sports TV presenters, and, from today, a Sport Relief special of Football Stars in Bad Cars is available to view on BBC Three, featuring BBC Radio 1’s Chris Stark.
And all of that is just for starters – much more will be revealed over the coming days and weeks. Money raised will support people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world. Find out how you can get involved here and donate here. Sport Relief 2020 – It’s Game On.