Cherishing the little moments in life is important for a happy, healthy existence. But it's often the case that big events create memories that last a lifetime, and give us something to plan for and look forward to. And for many of us, attending one of the world's great sporting events with the family is such an occasion.
Many big global sporting events are held every 4 years. The Summer and Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the UEFA European Football Championship are good examples. Others are iconic events held annually, like Wimbledon, Formula1 Grand Prix Races and more.
The Olympics and Paralympics: The 2012 Olympics held in London over 19 days during July-August had over 11 million spectators attend events competed in by 10,091 athletesi. Lucky spectators witnessed competitors set 27 new world recordsi. The 2012 London Paralympics was announced to be the biggest Paralympics games ever with the number of competing athletes to increase from 3,951 in the 2008 Beijing games to approximately 4,200ii. If you are thinking about going to the 2016 Summer Olympics or Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, now is a good time to start planning! Tickets may need to be requested or pre-paid - sometimes up to years ahead depending on the popularity of the sporting event, and accommodation may need to be organised early as supply is limited. If Rio isn't in your sights but you're considering the 2020 Olympics or Paralympics, it's important to keep an eye on who wins the bidding to be host of the 2020 games: candidate cities are Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid.
The Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics: In scale, the Winter Olympics are dwarfed by the summer games. Nevertheless these games attract competitors in the thousands and global television viewers in the billions. The 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada had 2566 competitors and was watched by approximately 3 billion TV viewers worldwideiii. The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia and the 2018 event will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The FIFA World Cup: Featuring the world's favourite sportiv - football (or soccer as many call it in Australia) - the FIFA World cup is undoubtedly one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The event is so big that it's not hosted by a city, but by a country! The most recent World Cup (2010) was held in South Africa and had over 3.1 million spectatorsv. The 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil, 2018's event in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.
UEFA European Football Championship: Every four years (but mid-way between each FIFA World Cup) is the UEFA European Football Championship. This is a European affair and cities across France will be hosting the 'Euro 2016' championship matchesvi. The 2020 event host will be announced in 2014 and the competition will mark the 60th anniversary since the inaugural UEFA European Championshipvii.
Formula 1: This racing championship is held annually and typically runs between March and Novemberviii. Races take place on various tracks around the world over the course of the calendar. Circuit de Monaco or the Monaco Grand Prix is said to be the most famous F1 circuit, known by everyone from casual racing viewers to die hard F1 fansix. There's also the Singapore Grand Prix, the first F1 circuit (in 2008) to be held at night in the city's streetsx. If you're planning a big trip to an F1 race overseas why not have a trial run by attending the The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Motorcycle Grand Prix: This is the "Formula 1" for motorcycles. MotoGP is a world motorcycle racing championship that runs annually, usually beginning in late March or early April and ending in Novemberxi. 13 countries across the globe play host to this eighteen-race seriesxii, each with their own unique MotoGP venues and circuits. Traditionally, races are held in three motorcycle classes: Moto3™, Moto2™ and MotoGP™. Famous circuits include the Mugello circuit in Italy - winner of IRTA Best Grand Prix of 2011xiii- with tracks paved through the charming hills of Tuscanyxiv. The circuit of Jerez in Spain is said to boast great weather, scenery and remarkably built grandstands that support up to 250,000 spectatorsxv. The Australian MotoGP Grand Prix is held on Phillip Island, Victoriaxvi.
Wimbledon: Of the four major Grand Slam tennis tournaments that take place annually across the globe, Wimbledon is considered the oldest and most prestigiousxvii. The tournament is the only Gram Slam event still played on grass courtsxviii. Wimbledon's deep rooted traditions include a strict all-white dress code from participating competitors and the massive consumption of strawberries and cream - every year, spectators consume over 28,000 kilos of strawberries and almost 6,000 litres of creamxix. Roger Federerxx and Serena Williamsxxi recently took the champion titles for the gentlemen's and ladies' single championships.
The Ashes: The cricket competition that started in 1877 is now a symbol of contest between England and Australiaxxii. The term 'Ashes' was coined after England's lost to Australia for the first time on it's home soilxxiii. One of the most celebrated rivalries in the international sporting arena, this test cricket series is currently played very second year, alternately between England and Australiaxxiv. The 2013 Ashes series will be taking place on English soil, with the first Test to be held at Trent Bridgexxv.
Making a trip across the world to be a part of an iconic sporting event can be a life changing experience. It's an incredible opportunity for your family to experience the journey and share great moments. In the event of a critical illness or accident that will leave you permanently unable to work, life insurance can ensure your family still has the financial means to take part in the experiences you've planned for and dreamed about.
i BBC Sport, 2012, London 2012 Olympics in numbers, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19245330
ii International Paralympics Committee (IPC), 2012, It’s official – London 2012 to be the Biggest Paralympics Games Ever, http://www.paralympic.org/news/it-s-official-london-2012-be-biggest-paralympic-games-ever
iii Olympic.org, 2012, Vancouver 2010, http://www.olympic.org/vancouver-2010-winter-olympics
iv The Economist, 2011, Ranking Sports' popularity: And the silver goes to, http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2011/09/ranking-sports%E2%80%99-popularity
v FIFA, 2010, Factsheet: FIFA World Cup competition records, http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/fifafacts/mencompwc/51/97/30/fs-301_01a_fwc-stats.pdf, p.2
vi UEFA Euro, 2012, Focus turns to France in 2016, http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/abouteuro/uefaeuro2016/index.html
vii UEFA Euro, 2012, UEFA Euro 2020, http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/abouteuro/uefaeuro2020/index.html
viii BBC Sport, 2011, 2011 F1 calendar, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/calendar/9181020.stm, Formula 1, 2012, 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship Race Calendar, http://www.formula1.com/races/calendar.html
ix F1 World.info, The most famous Formula 1 circuits around the world, http://www.f-1world.info/the-most-famous-formula-1-circuits-of-the-world.php
x Formula 1, 2007, FIA green light Singapore night race, http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/10/7040.html
xi MotoGP, 2012, 2012 Calendar, http://www.motogp.com/en/calendar+circuits, MotoGP, 2011, Provisional 2011 MotoGP calendar announced by FIM, http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2010/provisional+2011+motogp+calendar+announced+by+fim
xii MotoGP, MotoGP Basics, http://www.motogp.com/en/MotoGP+Basics/overview
xiii MotoGP, 2012, Mugello circuit awarded IRTA best grand Prix of 2011, http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2012/mugello+awarded+best+grand+prix+2011
xiv Mugello circuit, All about the track, http://www.mugellocircuit.it/en/the-track/all-about-the-track.html
xv MotoGP, Gran Premio bwin de Espana, http://www.motogp.com/en/events/spain/2012
xvi Phillip Island Circuit, Moto GP, http://www.phillipislandcircuit.com.au/motogp.html
xvii PRLOG, 2012, Wimbeldon holds the honor of being the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, http://www.prlog.org/11934420-wimbledon-holds-the-honor-of-being-the-oldest-and-most-prestigious-tennis-tournament.html
xviii Zacbrygel, 2012, Why Wimbeldon is so important for tennis, The Roar, http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/06/21/wimbledon-important-tennis/, NDTV, 2012, Wimbeldon: About the event, http://sports.ndtv.com/wimbledon2012/about/item/192144-wimbledon-about-the-event, Wimbledon, Wimbledon Championships Traditions, http://wimbledon.open-tennis.com/tradition.html
xix NDTV, 2012, Wimbeldon: About the event, http://sports.ndtv.com/wimbledon2012/about/item/192144-wimbledon-about-the-event
xx BBC Sport, 2012, Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray beaten by Roger Federer in final, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/18757207
xxi Dailymail, 2012, She's done it again! Serena Williams wins her fifth Wimbledon title as she draws level with sister Venus...and then the pair go on to win the ladies' doubles title, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170111/Serena-Williams-brings-colour-Wimbledon-womens-final-trusty-purple-pants.html
xxii The Ashes Cricket Live, Ashes History, http://www.theashescricketlive.com/ashes-history/
xxiii Lord's - The home of cricket, 2011, The Ashes, http://www.lords.org/history/the-ashes/
xxiv The first pint, 2010, The Ashes cricket series explained + preview podcast with Lawrence Booth and Jarrod Kimber, http://www.thefirstpint.co.uk/2010/11/16/the-ashes-cricket-series-explained-preview-podcast-with-lawrence-booth-and-jarrod-kimber/
xxv BBC Sport, 2012, Ashes 2013: Trent Bridge hosts opening Test, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/18295763