Tuesday 16 August 2016

Elitist Olympics defeats ideological left

I am not usually that obsessive about the Olympics, but this year some very interesting things are happening to make GB sit second in the medal table and likely to finish 3rd yet again:

a) Since Lottery funding in 1997 started, GB has rapidly progressed up the medal tables at each competition. Basically, money for training, coaches and equipment makes a big deal when allied to raw talent.

b) The money though could have been splurged, instead, led by Tory Lord Coe, the money is focused on winners' and winning teams. Events where GB has no chance get no funding, medals win more money. It is a capitalistic form of financial support.

c) A huge crackdown on drug taking has taken place over the last few years. As such, you now see US, UK, and EU countries all in the top ten, whilst Eastern European countries have fallen away.

This tells me in an unfair fight, state socialism was able to game the system to their advantage - plus they also realised the importance for national pride a lot sooner than the Western countries. However, once the stage was made fairer, the application of money in the right way has allowed the Western countries to re-emerge as the leaders.

However, as we well know, money can be spent very badly indeed,  it is a credit to the system in GB that elitism takes prominence above all else and thus we have the winners we desire. There is a nice parallel here with bringing back grammar schools and the false arguments against them raised on the left.

How galling it must be for the Labour party, stuck in an endless leadership muddle, to also see a global event which undermines the ideology underlying most of their potential policy ideas.


Y Ddraig Goch said...

Arguably, the current medal table actually understates the team GB achievement.

GB has a population of about 64 million. US about 315 million. China 1.2 billion. If you calculate, say, "gold medals per 10 million of population" it's 0.1 for China, 0.8 for the US and 2.5 for GB.

The ability of GB sport to convert resources into Olympic medals is astonishing.

Nick Drew said...

Some nice observations here on how China is coming to terms with its modest performance this time around


dearieme said...

To him that hath shall be given ...

andrew said...

Now apply this argument to state schools.

Bill Quango MP said...

In the run up the BBc had a quite a few tearful interviews with those eventers who had the lottery funding withdrawn.
The implication was it was a bit unfair. And a hint of ' prizes for all' mentality.

What they really wanted was 'funding for all..and lots of it.'

That's the socialist comeback. If EVERYONE had equal funding and equal training and equal facilities they would all be equally as good.

Anonymous said...

It makes you wonder how this success will be interpreted in the staff rooms of those allegedly competitive-sports-banning, "all shall have prizes" state schools.

Anonymous said...

Y Ddraig Goch - Check out http://www.medalspercapita.com

Dick the Prick said...

I've adored cycling since I was a kid and think Mark Cavendish is one of the best ever - no news there. However, in an interview last night after being with the British Olympic Team for about a month he said "I've been a professional cyclist for over 10 years and these guys taught me things (lists them) I never knew". I was relatively flabberghasted.

Sir Chris of Hoy nonchalantly mentioned that one of their 'sports scientists' - a degree i'm sure we've all taken the piss out of, did his Doctoral thesis on the effects of cooling on cells after vigourous exercise.

It's defo a function of funding but the talent comes as much from the bottom up as it does from chaps like Cavendish. Team Sky which is quickly taking over professional cycling is largely populated by the back-room staff of Team GB.

@CU - good call as per drugs - hadn't put 2 and 2 together.

Y Ddraig Goch said...

> Y Ddraig Goch - Check out http://www.medalspercapita.com

Thanks. Someone has done a thorough job. We do pretty well against the major players even when factoring in GDP. But we still have a way to go to match the real heavyweights - like Fiji, Jamaica and Grenada.

andrew said...

BQ: "That's the socialist comeback. If EVERYONE had equal funding and equal training and equal facilities they would all be equally as good."

... which just about everyone (even the socialists) would agree is bunk in the large.

In the small things are a little more complex.

Ideally you place a value on a medal and then you fund the person up to the point where spending another £1 does not increase their chances by > £1.

The thing is, how do you measure that.

The winning or losing of a medal is a rather blunt - but very clear - criteria and to some extent unfair as the underperformance of one person can cost an entire sport a large lump of funding.

You could add extra criteria - like the number of amateurs playing or taking up the sport, how much or little that sport increases social inclusion as these things do count
There could be a spreadsheet based scoring matrix

You could have no criteria and just give some money to everyone

Funny how the structures are applied in different contexts:-

Sport, Grammar Schools

NHS on the hospital side, Local govt grants

NHS on the patient side, Comprehensives

In an era where increasingly the superstar/first mover/gorilla gets all, it is very tempting to 'pick winners',
But what is it we are trying to win?

In the context of the olympics I suppose the answer is medals.

Electro-Kevin said...


Olympics doesn't defeat the practical Left though, it seems.

Anonymous said...

So why the empty stands at so many events?

Steven_L said...

So our professional athletes are beating foreign amateur athletes? A bit like the US 'dream team' winning the basketball? I see Andy Murray won the tennis too. Whereas where we don't pay people to train full time - i.e. field amateurs - we're not winning medals?

England women's cricket team was the first to award central contracts (have professional players) and they beat everyone for a few years. Until everyone else started having professional womens teams and now its a lot more even.

Hardly a surprise is it?

DtP said...

Dear Mr Steve L

There is a special section in the back of Private Eye called Planet Football which bangs on about the geo-political reach of clubs like Portsmouth, Man City (Thailand Prime Minister and subsequent military coup), fucking Man Utd (clealy an adjunct of the Chicago mafia) but as soon as it becomes the Olympics we're expected to be ashamed that our sons and especially daughters are fucking brilliant?

I'm having it as Mr CU observed - this is the first clean Olympics and we've arseholed the world. Bless their cotton socks, bitches!


Y Ddraig Goch said...

"So our professional athletes are beating foreign amateur athletes?"

This is just silly. Is Usain Bolt an amateur? Sonny Bill Williams? Greg Van
Avermaet? Henrik Stenson? Mahé Drysdale?

The reality is that GB were very late to the professional athlete party -
making their achievements all the more impressive.

Bill Quango MP said...

And all funded out of what the left and the liberal liked to imagine was "A tax on the stupid."

CityUnslicker said...

BQ - would be a good poll - is the lottery money wasted on sports funding....

a 90% no or a 95% no?