Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sport Thoughts..

It's been a wonderful week for Great Britain at the Olympics with the medal table showing us now third in terms of gold medals behind only China and the USA. Though I don't have a patriotic bone in my body, I can only sit in wonder and awe at the months of years of self-sacrifice and dedication put in by our sportsmen and women. Irrespective of the discipline, success at Olympic level doesn't come easy but when it does I can only imagine how all the cold mornings, long hours of practice and pain can suddenly seem trivial.

Well done to all who are participating. I watched Usain Bolt's 100 metre triumph last night in complete amazement. I remember being stunned by Ben Johnson at Seoul in 1988 but Usain Bolt ran a full tenth of a second quicker and had time to ease down. Perhaps Bolt has made the most of natural talent, I don't know, but it was still awe-inspiring to see him smash the world record and the 200m must surely be at his mercy.

On, Mike Smithson raised the issue of the politics of sporting success and this has engendered a lively debate. In truth, while there may be a short period of improved national self-confidence, it makes little or no odds in the longer term. For many, regrettably, the success of our Olympic teams is far less significant than the success of our football, rugby union or cricket teams. Perhaps winning the football World Cup would be significant but neither winning the Ashes nor the Rugby World Cup have made a lot of political difference.

Knowing how bad Gordon Brown's luck has been of late, he'll probably discover all our gold medallists are paid-up members of the Conservative Party.

It might though be far better for the political anoraks to keep away from the whole thing. Trying to score party political points from sporting success isn't all that sporting.

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