City of Legends
With its world class stadia, events, teams and athletes, Cardiff is recognised as one of Europe’s sporting capitals; continuing to inspire generation after generation of world beating sports legends.
Young Wales football fan, Cardiff, Capital of Wales
FA Cup finals, Olympic football, Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cup Finals have all been held in Cardiff. An Ashes cricket series at the Swalec Stadium, the Cardiff Half Marathon World Championships, Grand Prix Speedway at the National Stadium and World Series Sailing in Cardiff Bay. Cardiff has a rich history of homegrown heroes too; from boxing World Champions to Olympic gold medal winning sailors, to the world’s most expensive footballer.
Swalec Stadium sign, Bute Park, Cardiff, Capital of Wales
Sport runs through the veins of this city. Take Whitchurch High School, a school in a Cardiff suburb, whose alumni include rugby player Sam Warburton, captain of the victorious 2013 British and Irish Lions; Geraint Thomas, multiple Olympic gold medal winning cyclist and soccer superstar Gareth Bale, a double UEFA Champions League winner with Real Madrid.
Lessons in success
And it’s not just the schools, the city’s universities are also a show of sporting excellence. Cardiff Metropolitan University was where Lynn “the Leap” Davies studied when he leapt to gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, and where Gareth Edwards was a Physical Education student before becoming one of the world’s greatest ever rugby players. Visit the Cardiff Met campus today and you’ll no doubt see Paralympic champion Aled Sion Davies pushing himself towards his next gold medal throw.
Rugby fans at the National Stadium, Cardiff, Capital of Wales
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, born in Cardiff, became one of the greatest Paralympians of all time, winning 11 gold medals. Colin Jackson, former world champion and world record holding hurdler, is another proud son of the city. Just last year Cardiff sailor Hannah Mills took gold at the Olympic Games in Rio.
National Stadium of Wales at night, Cardiff, Capital of Wales
Cardiff is home to elite team sport as well; the city’s ice hockey team, the Cardiff Devils are the best in Britain; they won the triple this year playing at the new Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay.
Ice Arena Wales, Cardiff, Capital of Wales
But, with the UEFA Champions League Final coming to town it’s important to remember that Cardiff is, to many, a football city.
A football city
Ryan Giggs, twice a UEFA Champions League winner with Manchester United was born in Cardiff. The great John Toshack was born in Canton, less than a mile away from the new Cardiff City Stadium where the Bluebirds now play, and the venue for this year’s UEFA Womens Champions League Final. Aaron Ramsey signed for Arsenal from Cardiff City and the legendary John Charles played for Cardiff City in the 1960s.
Ben Davies, Chris Gunter and Gareth Bale, Cardiff City Stadium
The latest, and brightest, of those stars is Gareth Bale. Last summer Bale was singing 'Please don’t take me home' along with thousands of Wales fans as his team did their best to stay in France long enough to make it to the final of Euro 2016. This season Bale has been singing 'Please take me home' instead, as he tries to help his Real Madrid galácticos towards a UEFA Champions League Final, right here in his home city.
Chris Coleman at Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Capital of Wales
What a homecoming it would be. Watch this space…