Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Bronze medal winner Beth Tweddle

children have some role models that are not about sex, pop music, or shopping.

It has also been amazingly refreshing to see fit women – fit in the proper sense. It makes a welcome change from the flaunting-their-curves, letting-themselves-go, instant-stardom and celebrity-status -via-a -cocktail-of-Fake-Bake-and-Heart-Break reality TV women.

Instead we see fine athletes, bodies that sweat, real smiles, total grimacing effort (the silver Judo medal won by Gemma Gibbons with a broken finger). From Jessica Ennis’s brilliance to the warmth, wit and wisdom of Clare Balding.

Yet, despite the wonderful achievements of Team GB's athletes at the London Olympics, the government is not making it any easier to encourage children to take part in sports. More school playing fields are being sold off in the teeth of a promise to do more for school sports.
Producing an athlete of any level (like producing a young adult who contributes to society) takes effort, not just on the part of the athlete themselves, but of their family providing support in terms of time (a lot of it), encouragement (in spades) and money (how much depends on the sport). The wider community (schools, clubs, etc) also has a major role to play in providing facilities, teachers, and sponsorship. The Government (of every party persuasion) has constantly undermined these efforts, making it harder for those children who might have 'had a go' to step up and try.

Half our athletes are privately educated and got their winning ethos from those schools where all don't actually win prizes, where competition is seen as healthy and only the best can win. This holds true for life, not just sport. So lets start with our schools and start churning out role models for all areas of life from our state system.