The Spectator

Is rain getting heavier?

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Reinventing the wheels

Skateboarding made its debut at the Olympics. Who invented the skateboard? — There are many reports of homemade skateboards being created in the 1940s and 1950s by Californian surfers who wanted to continue a form of their sport out of season, but the first commercial skateboard was marketed by roller-skate company Roller Derby in 1959. The sport, however, failed to catch on until 1973, with the introduction of urethane wheels and a curve at the end of a board known as the ‘kick-tail’, which allowed acrobatics to be performed.

Water logs

There was more surface flooding in London. Is heavy rain becoming more common in London? The Met Office uses different ways to measure long-term rainfall trends.

1. The average rainfall on days when rain exceeds 1mm:

1961-90 6.5mm

1981-2010 6.8mm

2010-2019 6.7mm

2. Number of days in a year when rainfall exceeds the 95th and 99th percentile of daily rainfall in that location:

95th percentile

1961-90 7.7

1981-2010 8.8

2010-19 8.5

99th percentile

1961-90 1.6

1981-2010 1.8

2010-19 1.7

Games on

Does the Olympics inspire us to take up sport?

Once a week participation in any sport

Age 16-25

2005/06 (when London was awarded the 2012 Olympics) 56%

2012/13 (Olympic year) 55%

2015/16 (when the excitement had died down) 55%

Age 26+

2005/06 (when London was awarded the 2012 Olympics) 31%

2012/13 (Olympic year) 33%

2015/16 (when the excitement had died down) 32%

And what Olympics sports do we do?

People who participated twice in 28 days

Running 15%

Gym 12%

Swimming 11%

Football 5%

Badminton, boxing, golf, rowing 2%

Source: House of Commons Library

Drowning by numbers

Around 40 people were reported to have drowned in a fortnight. In 2020, 631 are recorded as having drowned. Locations given of those judged to be accidents:

85 on the coast

73 in rivers

24 in lakes/lochs

16 in canals

13 in streams

9 in harbours

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