Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Olympic Support

From the BBC

Roy Hodgson believes the Olympics has been a "wake-up call" regarding the behaviour of both footballers and fans.
Hodgson says players and spectators should emulate the spirit of London 2012 - a view which has also been echoed by FA chairman David Bernstein.
"[The Olympics] is a wake-up call for us all that we don't need that hatred and abuse which footballers have to suffer," said England manager Hodgson.
"Certainly we didn't see too much of that in the Olympic Games."
But there also wasn't the passion of even a club game (I was at a match). And that's what makes football the biggest sport. Fans turn out regularly to see their team.

I'm not condoning abuse. I'm saying that the many fans are passionate about the game, and for some, this spills over. They take things too far. But it's indicative of how much support there is in football, how crazy some people get for it. If you didn't have the crazies, it would be a sign that people were lukewarm about football.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Fool's Gold

Anyone out there like to see my data that our Olympics golds are basically, crap?

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Anyone out there think this is worth it?

From the BBC:-
"When Great Britain went to Beijing, the team benefited from £235m investment in training programmes in the years running up to the Olympics - that's a fourfold increase on what was spent [in the run up to Athens]," says Prof David Forrest, a sports economist at the University of Salford.
"We spent an extra £165m and got 17 more medals, so that's about £10m a medal."

That's medals. Not necessarily even gold ones. Anyone out there think it's worth £10m for a canoeing bronze? And if so, name the winner of it.
About £7m also comes from money raised by Team 2012, mainly through corporate sponsors.
Which shows just how much all those medals and hopefuls are actually worth. Barclays pays £120m to sponsor the premiership.

In Beijing, the most successful sports were those that received the most funding. Between them, athletics, cycling, rowing, sailing and swimming accounted for half of all Olympic team funding. They also accounted for 36 of the 47 medals won.

Which is because lottery funding is based on predicted finishes. Not how globally significant the medals are. If you can win at one-footed monopoly, you'll get more funding than a 100m runner that won't.
In fact, there are some sports that are in effect closed to all but the most wealthy nations.
"We have identified four sports where there is virtually no chance that anyone from a poor country can win a medal - equestrian, sailing, cycling and swimming," says Prof Forrest.
He points to a study suggesting there is one swimming pool for every six million people in Ethiopia.
Wrestling, judo, weightlifting and gymnastics, he says, tend to be the best sports for developing nations.
For the majority of other disciplines, money is key.
At last, someone from academia backs what I've been saying all along: the medals we've won are in the easier medals, because they're the ones that a large part of the world doesn't take part in, can't afford to take part in and have no financial reward (which was the justification for lottery money).

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympic Private School Bollocks

From the Telegraph
Part of the joy of the Olympics is discovering sports that had been off the cultural radar – especially when Britain turns out to be good at them.
So it was rather unfortunate timing that, on the very day the nation learned to cherish double trap shooting, judo and canoe slalom, the head of the British Olympic Association should claim that these sports – or rather, Olympic sport in general – could learn from the bloated, commercialised world of football.
Lord Moynihan’s point, which has been made by politicians including the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary, is that elite sport – like so many top professions – is dominated by the products of the private education system. “One of the worst statistics in British sport,” he reminded us, is that half of our medals in Beijing came from the sector: for every state-schooled Bradley Wiggins, there is a Heather Stanning (Gordonstoun) or Peter Wilson (Millfield).
Let's tackle the first thing here. The Olympics are mostly NOT elite sports. They are mostly minor, amateur sports. If they were elite sports, there would be a huge and constant audience for them, resulting in professional leagues and prizes. Outside the Olympics, major rowing and swimming events are not heavily supported by the public. They can't charge what Man Utd charge or fill such a large stadium even once a year, let alone every week. They mostly rely on lottery subsidy.
The interest of many people in the Olympics is simply nationalism. If there was Olympic one-footed monopoly, they'd support it. If that floats your boat, fine, but don't pretend that a sport that you've never heard of means anything in terms of sport.
It is true that the estimable Mr Gove does have the air of a man who prefers the library to the sports field, but this is a long-standing problem for which no party or politician can take sole blame.
There isn't a problem. When you look at highly competitive events, the ones that people get paid to participate in (and will therefore draw the best people), you see a different set of facts. Bradley Wiggins? State educated. Lizzie Armistead? State educated. Jessica Ennis? State educated. Mo Farah? State educated.
The only reason we have a disproportionate number of independent school kids winning medals is because they're doing events that poor kids and poor foreigners can't afford to do. If you don't have the money or access to a rowing club and frankly prefer the benefits of Old Trafford, you're not going to do the rowing. And that applies to everyone around the world. Name a world famous foreign rower. Now do the same with football. Exactly.
To turn this round, schools need not just resources – such as pools or playing fields – but a whole-hearted embrace of sport and its benefits. The motto of these Games is “Inspire a Generation”. We must ensure that it ends up as a mission statement, rather than a slogan.
And little of that will make much difference to Olympic numbers because most kids simply don't have access to the kit to win the easier medals. They play cricket, rugby and football because you can do it in the park with a bat and a ball and for most of them, that's who their heroes are.

The idea that the Olympics will inspire kids through showjumping and canoeing more than Rooney or Beckham have is just a joke, and if you're aiming at improving participation, a very expensive one.