Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What Olympic legacy?

The message in this report was to be expected: so far from encouraging participation in sport, last year's Olympic Games in London has if anything deterred people.

UK Ltd (or should that be London Ltd?) has made money out of the 2012 event, but more was expected.

The point is that sport - except possibly at the highest professional level - should be fun. Competition is good, winners should receive their due share of praise, but nobody should be thought less of for being on the losing side. Ambitious sports teachers should remember Boris Becker's reaction to attacks from the media when he lost to an unseeded Australian in the first round at Wimbledon in 1987: "I lost a tennis match – it was not a war, nobody died out there."

I would like to see more concentration on schoolchildren getting the best out of themselves. Tim Woodhouse of Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, giving evidence to the Commons' Culture, Media and Sport select committee this morning stressed that PE in schools should concentrate on health, rather than competition. If I recall correctly, something like four out of five girls - irrespective of religion, though that is a complicating factor - are put off PE. A major factor is the poor state of changing-rooms, in addition to PE being seen as "not cool". (Incidentally, it was depressing to see how poorly attended the session was, both in the gallery and in the committee seats.) It is reasonable to conclude that his remarks apply to Wales as well as England.

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