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steve roberts

The Olympic Games

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2 minutes ago, falcace said:

The Netherlands on the other hand with their cycling culture are instinctively active. I'd also venture the theory that their flat landscape lends itself to sports facility developments better than most. I've not spent a vast amount of time there, but on visits and train rides through the country, it's notable how many quality facilities you come across like all weather hockey facilities on the landscape.  

I'd say it's more down to the relatively limited amount of space available and the need to manage the ever-present water. Random or poorly planned development can seriously affect the neighbours, so there's a culture of assessing different community needs, allocating specific land use to those, and then ensuring the facilities are widely accessible to the public. 

There are far fewer things like park football pitches in the Netherlands and only a relative handful of multi-sport facilities, but they're all good quality and far superior to what you'd generally find in the UK. Within a mile or two of where I live - there's also 2 athletics tracks, a velodrome, speed skating track, a 2 km rowing course, yachting lake, at least 4 cricket fields, and a baseball field. There even used to be a speedway track, although that's now gone... :(

Of course, the fact that pretty much everyone cycles also makes for a naturally more active population. I suspect it would be different if they lived anywhere that had any proper hills, but that's one thing they haven't really managed to build... :D

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25 minutes ago, falcace said:

I think the culture we have in the UK of running, cycling, swimming for our health and wellbeing, is not something that translates to all countries...India, I'd suggest being one of them. 

Honestly speaking, you wouldn't want to swim in India, or try to cycle on their roads... :D

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3 minutes ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

I'd say it's more down to the relatively limited amount of space available and the need to manage the ever-present water. Random or poorly planned development can seriously affect the neighbours, so there's a culture of assessing different community needs, allocating specific land use to those, and then ensuring the facilities are widely accessible to the public. 

There are far fewer things like park football pitches in the Netherlands and only a relative handful of multi-sport facilities, but they're all good quality and far superior to what you'd generally find in the UK. Within a mile or two of where I live - there's also 2 athletics tracks, a velodrome, speed skating track, a 2 km rowing course, yachting lake, at least 4 cricket fields, and a baseball field. There even used to be a speedway track, although that's now gone... :(

Of course, the fact that pretty much everyone cycles also makes for a naturally more active population. I suspect it would be different if they lived anywhere that had any proper hills, but that's one thing they haven't really managed to build... :D

Interesting. I've always admired the Dutch...they seem to know how to run things properly.

1 minute ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

Honestly speaking, you wouldn't want to swim in India, or try to cycle on their roads... :D

:) Yep. Chaos. Brilliant chaos. The opposite of the Netherlands in many ways. I went there to cover the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. Brilliant trip, but quite laughable organisation. The day before the opening ceremony I decided to travel to the main stadium on the metro from my accommodation to get my bearings. Got to the station and asked for a ticket, the guy says that the stadium station line is not open yet. "What?! The Games start tomorrow!" I said. "Yes, it will be open tomorrow" was the reply. It was open the day after and workmen were literally brushing piles of building materials into the corner of the platforms on Day 1 of the Games. Wild dogs were also frequent visitors to each sport, one even cra**ed in the shot putt circle. Maybe he'd misread "shot" :D   

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46 minutes ago, falcace said:

I think we can put a lot of that down to culture. Unless you have been to India, it's hard understand just how much cricket dominates the sporting landscape above all else. 

Indeed it does, falcace. I visited India a few years ago and there seemed to be a game of cricket going on on every open space I came across and even on the pavements. A number of times when I was walking past, I got surrounded by youngsters playing, who, realising I must be English, stopped me to talk about English cricketers and ask me about them. The problem was they knew far more about them than I did! There was also one hotel we stayed at where they held a weekly staff v. guests match! 
 

Winning gold medals can be very serendipitous. Why baseball and not cricket? Instead of medals for Cuba, USA and South Korea, there might be medals for India, UK and New Zealand.

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3 minutes ago, falcace said:

Interesting. I've always admired the Dutch...they seem to know how to run things properly.

:) Yep. Chaos. Brilliant chaos. The opposite of the Netherlands in many ways. 

In many respects, the UK is (fairly) successful at sport despite rather than because of any great planning. It has it's 'great' sporting institutions like the R&A, MCC, All England Lawn Tennis Club and BDRC that put on prestige events, but they seem to be fairly invisible at grassroots level where much still seems to be left to chance. Both national and local government also don't really seem to show any serious commitment towards providing decent grassroots facilities beyond a bit of tokenism, and it's really only thanks to the efforts of the most dedicated volunteers that anything happens at all. I know we can't expect to have professional organisers and coaches at every level of sport, but I also think those who give their time should be supported with some half-decent public facilities. 

I know a lot of money has been thrown into elite sport over the past 25 years or so, some very decent facilities for minority sports have been constructed, and various talent identification programmes have been implemented. But quite honestly a Football World Cup or European Championship still eludes every home nation, and I think most would say winning that is more important in the grand scheme of things than the odd success in the Olympic Keirin or whatever... :D

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8 minutes ago, norbold said:

Winning gold medals can be very serendipitous. Why baseball and not cricket? Instead of medals for Cuba, USA and South Korea, there might be medals for India, UK and New Zealand.

Commonwealth sports don't tend to be popular with the IOC for some reason - hence no rugby for years, and still no cricket, squash or Morris dancing. :D 

I'd imagine a lot comes down to what they think they can sell to television broadcasters, particularly American ones. Probably they'd also cut some of the more obscure sports like clay pigeon shooting if they hadn't been in the Olympics forever. 

With respect to cricket, I'd have said historically the main problem was that it took too long to play and was logistically difficult to cram into a couple of weeks (although the Olympic football starts before the opening ceremony), and it needs specially prepared pitches. But T20 negates that argument, and if you can have rugby sevens and 3-on-3 basketball then why not traditional Single Wicket cricket...? ;)

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16 minutes ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

In many respects, the UK is (fairly) successful at sport despite rather than because of any great planning. It has it's 'great' sporting institutions like the R&A, MCC, All England Lawn Tennis Club and BDRC that put on prestige events, but they seem to be fairly invisible at grassroots level where much still seems to be left to chance. Both national and local government also don't really seem to show any serious commitment towards providing decent grassroots facilities beyond a bit of tokenism, and it's really only thanks to the efforts of the most dedicated volunteers that anything happens at all. I know we can't expect to have professional organisers and coaches at every level of sport, but I also think those who give their time should be supported with some half-decent public facilities. 

I know a lot of money has been thrown into elite sport over the past 25 years or so, some very decent facilities for minority sports have been constructed, and various talent identification programmes have been implemented. But quite honestly a Football World Cup or European Championship still eludes every home nation, and I think most would say winning that is more important in the grand scheme of things than the odd success in the Olympic Keirin or whatever... :D

Yep. Coaching remains an issue too. It's no coincidence that we fall short in some of the sports where a lot of skill is required.

The coaches in some sports wouldn't hear a word of it of course, but track cycling and rowing are sports where - once you have the rudimentary skills - it's purely a matter of who is the fittest. And with quality elite facilities and equipment, we have the environments to fastrack the physically gifted to word class. Not many countries have that luxury. As admirable as the achievements of say a Jason Kenny are, there will be thousands of "Jason Kennys" in Kenya and other countries, who will just never get the opportunity to prove it. 

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21 minutes ago, falcace said:

The coaches in some sports wouldn't hear a word of it of course, but track cycling and rowing are sports where - once you have the rudimentary skills - it's purely a matter of who is the fittest. And with quality elite facilities and equipment, we have the environments to fastrack the physically gifted to word class. Not many countries have that luxury. As admirable as the achievements of say a Jason Kenny are, there will be thousands of "Jason Kennys" in Kenya and other countries, who will just never get the opportunity to prove it. 

It's become fashionable in our workplace over the past few years to send us on 'high performance team building' courses where the 'coaches' have allegedly worked with Olympic rowers and canoeists. In one particular moment of exasperation as we were wasting time on yet more psychobabble, I asked how hard actually was it to put a couple of elite athletes together whose single objective and skill was to paddle as quickly as possible in a straight line for 2 kilometres. By contrast, we didn't even know what sport we were playing half the time. :D

I don't doubt that dedication, fitness, diet and even self-belief play a large role, but frankly I have more respect for someone like Alex Ferguson who moulded winning teams in a sport with far more complexities out of 11+ drinkers, gamblers, domestic abusers and kung-fu specialists. :approve:

Edited by Humphrey Appleby
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13 minutes ago, Badge said:

What a comic! Tongue in cheek stuff

Does anyone  out there REALLY believe this line: "Both France and Italy have publicly supported the creation of a pan-EU team to compete at the games." :rolleyes: 

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2 minutes ago, falcace said:

What a comic! Tongue in cheek stuff

Does anyone  out there REALLY believe this line: "Both France and Italy have publicly supported the creation of a pan-EU team to compete at the games." :rolleyes: 

The express needs at least two anti EU headlines per day

its a wonder it doesn't state that we got out just in time to stop us having to be part of it

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And GB has as many Golds as Germany and France together:party:Pan EU team..my arsenal:D

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6 minutes ago, The Third Man said:

The express needs at least two anti EU headlines per day

its a wonder it doesn't state that we got out just in time to stop us having to be part of it

Can you imagine the editorial meetings when England lost to Italy at the Euros? That put the next day's pre-drafted "Up Yours EUROPE!" front page to bed. Worse still, the public sympathy towards the taking-the-knee black footballers being hit by racist abuse made that "Woke Losers" plan B headline un-useable. Ah, well, I'm sure there was some anti Harry and Megan bilge they could fall back on. :D   

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20 minutes ago, falcace said:

Can you imagine the editorial meetings when England lost to Italy at the Euros? That put the next day's pre-drafted "Up Yours EUROPE!" front page to bed. Worse still, the public sympathy towards the taking-the-knee black footballers being hit by racist abuse made that "Woke Losers" plan B headline un-useable. Ah, well, I'm sure there was some anti Harry and Megan bilge they could fall back on. :D   

There's also their old favourites, the Princess Diana and faked Moon landing conspiracies... :rolleyes:

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43 minutes ago, The Third Man said:

The express needs at least two anti EU headlines per day

its a wonder it doesn't state that we got out just in time to stop us having to be part of it

I did have a laugh at all the anti-EU headlines there

But the EU panic after Nordic nationalists vowed to 'tear bloc apart' is a cracker :D

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