Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A couple of observations about the sporting fest currently taking place in China:

  1. It's great that GB are doing so well in the medals table. Whatever you think about the Olympics (and more of that to follow), you can't begrudge the fact that these athletes are the best of the best, and have sacrificed a lot (you try training, competing, etc as much as they do and tell me it's easy), and it's brilliant to see them achieve the pinnacle of their sport.
  2. I've found it fascinating listening to the athlete and coach interviews, when they talk about "being the best", shaving a bit more off a time, going the extra little bit - we could all learn some lessons in commitment from their attitudes.
  3. But what about the subjectivity from some sports? Synchronised swimming had a pasting on the radio tonight from come commentators, and rightly so i my opinion. Pretty it might be with the swimmers in their diamante costumes, but where's the "higher, faster, longer, stronger" element. They (as these commentators observed) swim about a bit, twiddle their legs, and then someone completely different thinks how much they should score. How can you tell one leg twiddle from another? Same goes for many of the gymnastic sports, diving etc - in diving apparently, it's how you enter the water that counts - not how many twiddles you've done, so why do they bother with the twiddles?
  4. And then, finally, there's the bit about balancing or equating sport with the "spirit" of the games. Most of these athletes are full time. We pay for them out of our taxes/National Lottery. Fine and dandy it may be to win an Olympic medal (or even compete at a games), but many of them don't have and have never had a proper job. I was listening to one of our triatheletes on the radio on the way home who gave up a medical degree to further his athletic career. To be fair he admits it's "not a job", but he gets sponsorship, kit, and what is in effect a "salary" to do this. That's without the international footballers competing in the Olympic Football - sure they might not be being paid (directly) for the games themselves, but at the wages they command I'd be apoplectic if they did. And Rara Nadal etc, and a whole host of others.... I'm not sure how I square this up in my mind with the image of the spirit of the games. I know things have to change. Maybe I'm just getting old.

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