Tag Archive | olympics

Olympic Sports for Normal People

A generation, inspired

A generation, inspired

So, the Olympics Games are over and everyone’s talking “legacy”. The main legacy seems to be to get people involved in sport (which, coincidentally, is what they wanted to get sorted before the games began). They’re talking about people turning up at their local taekwondo, boxing, athletics (etc) clubs and being given something to do an have some right good fun while doing it.

Most people I’ve heard on the radio taking about this kind of thing are saying things like “I want to take my daughter…” and “My son says he wants to try…”. That’s is great, kids and activity go together like gravy granules and water. However, where’s my piece of this legacy pie?

Handball

Handball: Looks fun to me

I’m not as fit as I was (my 12 second 100m days are over) but I fancy giving handball a go. There’s one handball club in Huddersfield and it’s part of the uni so there’s no chance there. I’d also like to have a go at some athletic events, give the decathlon a go. Surely doing ten different events would keep you nice and fit without it being boring at all. You can keep track of your scores and you’ve got 10 personal bests to beat on any given day. Great!

Where can I do this? I’ve no idea. There’s a local athletics club in Huddersfield but I’ve just gone onto their site and there’s nothing saying “come along, try things out”. There’s a page about joining and a scary page about personal bests (sub 4 minute miles? Come on now!) but nothing saying “To build on the back of the Olympics, we invite you to the club for an open day on Saturday”. What’s what these clubs should be doing.

It’s all well and good if you’re a kid. You get taken to these places by your mum or dad and they’ll find something for you to do. If you go along as a 30 year old man and can’t do the 800m in less than 4 minutes, you’re going to feel a bit stupid.

The government are now banging on about competitive sport in schools. This, again, is great if you’re any good. I played football at school and was alright at it so that was fine for me. However, some people just aren’t sporty. To make them compete at something they’re useless at would be soul destroying. It’s no wonder so many people give up any form of sport as soon as they’re not made to do it.

Cameron has had a pop at “Indian dancing”, as he’s called it, because it’s non-competitive. Ok, competition builds improvement (generally) but for those who are non-competitive by nature or just not very good at sport, this form of physical activity is as good as it’s going to get. The way Cameron’s talking, it sounds like he’s saying “if you’re not good at sport, forget it”. Sounds quite elitist, doesn’t it. Familiar?

In conclusion to another rambling moan, my points are these: Let me have a go at sports despite my lack of physical fitness and let kids do whatever form of physical exercise they enjoy.

The Great Olympic Contradiction

There’s a lot of The Olympics to love. The Olympic values or friendship, respect and excellence are to be applauded, whether the athletes, coaches and judges adhere to them or not.

I do have one problem with it all, though. The Olympics seem to try to instill a sense of “we’re all one”, which is great. The thing is that everyone’s split into national teams, highlighting a major division between 200-odd groups of people.

Steve Redgrave has been complaining about Hamadou Djibo Issaka, the rower from Niger. He was given a pass into The Olympics on the basis that they are trying to grow the sport in regions where they traditionally don’t participate. For me, this is a great thing. The more of the world we can get doing each Olympic sport, the more competitive the field will be for each of them. Steve Redgrave’s gripe, however, is that there are many, many rowers from countries across the world who were denied an opportunity to compete by this system – and they were all better than Hamadou Djibo Issaka.

Two problems can be solved with one solution: Remove national boundaries for The Olympics and allow the competitors to compete for themselves. I’m not saying this should happen and it almost certainly never will, not until we have another planet to compete against anyhow!

People in each country would naturally get behind their local competitors as they always have, but the clear division between different people will not be highlighted in the way that it is now. Some teams in certain sports may become international – it looks like we could do with a few of Germany’s rowers here in ‘GB’.

Personally speaking, I don’t want this to happen, but it’s a point worth debating. There could be 1500 Chinese competitors and none from Madagascar, for example, which would not help the growth of sport, globally.

As the athletes’ Olympic oath states,

In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams

Notice how it’s teams, rather than nations or countries.

An interesting thought, or not? I’m not sure.