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steve roberts

The Olympic Games

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Posted (edited)

Adding to the points that Falcace and Humph have made. 

The jingoism seems even worse this time round. The concentration on British competitors has become more pronounced, as if the public are incapable to watch the sport simply for the sports sake. Thank goodness Eurosport are showing a wide range of events.

Don't know the situation in England, but here in Belfast one of the worst things that has happened in recent times is the running of the leisure centres being farmed out by the council to a private firm. Consequently, concentration on money generating gym facilities whilst services such as school swimming sessions have been further sidelined.

Edited by salty
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18 minutes ago, salty said:

Adding to the points that Falcace and Humph have made. 

The jingoism seems even worse this time round. The concentration on British competitors has become more pronounced, as if the public are incapable to watch the sport simply for the sports sake. Thank goodness Eurosport are showing a wide range of events.

Don't know the situation in England, but here in Belfast one of the worst things that has happened in recent times is the running of the leisure centres being farmed out by the council to a private firm. Consequently, concentration on money generating gym facilities whilst services such as school swimming sessions have been further sidelined.

I hear you. Hate to sound like an old duffer, but here goes....when I was at school we had regular swim lessons at primary school and very cheap council run lessons. There might have been one or two kids in the year that struggled to swim. Now, a third of kids leave primary school unable to swim. A third! :o

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12 minutes ago, falcace said:

There might have been one or two kids in the year that struggled to swim. Now, a third of kids leave primary school unable to swim. A third! :o

That's absolutely appalling. Swimming and awareness of the dangers of water is a life skill.

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23 minutes ago, falcace said:

I hear you. Hate to sound like an old duffer, but here goes....when I was at school we had regular swim lessons at primary school and very cheap council run lessons. There might have been one or two kids in the year that struggled to swim. Now, a third of kids leave primary school unable to swim. A third! :o

When I attended school (both levels) in the 70's there was no school or cheap council lessons available.  If you wanted to learn to swim you had to pay which meant that I, and most of my classmates, never learnt to swim.  So a lack of modern facilities is not a new thing, maybe more dependent on where you live(d) ?

BTW, I have minimal interest in this years olympics but in the past I've only watched it to see the British compete (and hopefully win).  Watching it for the sake of it seems a waste of your life to me ('though others will disagree).  The 'jingoism' isn't just here either - when I lived in France as soon as the French competitor/team was eliminated television coverage would be dropped almost totally and they moved on to cover something the French had an interest in.

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36 minutes ago, salty said:

The jingoism seems even worse this time round. The concentration on British competitors has become more pronounced, as if the public are incapable to watch the sport simply for the sports sake. Thank goodness Eurosport are showing a wide range of events.

One of the truly great things about the British public in the past, was a general love of sport and the ability to watch and appreciate it whoever was competing; even when there was absolutely no chance of a British winner. Which is if course why so many important competitions are held in Britain.

However, I've become quite annoyed at the BBC's Olympics coverage, not least the inane chatter between Claire Balding (who is normally a good presenter) and Alex Scott which consumes time that could be spent actually showing some sport. Maybe the BBC has only paid for a limited package, but it's really been dumbed down into a highlights package of Team GB.

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1 hour ago, jrs said:

The above makes it all the more admirable that Bethany Shriever, who after BMX lost their Olympic funding from UKSport had to raise £50K funding herself for her Olympic training and today had the pleasure of bringing home a gold medal.  A brilliant performance.  I assume that Kye White who won silver in the men's BMX final was also deprived of funding. It was a pleasure to see their obvious joy and emotions after their races. 

Maybe in hindsight UKSport may belatedly restore their funding .

Definitely would have been very satisfying to turn round and stick two fingers up to them. :D

The reality is that it's a pretty brutal and unforgiving business, and the fallout from British cycling really laid bare the grubbiness of it. Of course, there's limited funding (especially for 'minority' sports) and some are simply not going to make the grade, whilst others are given new impetus by being cut, but one thing English cricket learnt in the last 15-20 years is that developing top flight performers takes time.

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6 minutes ago, compost said:

When I attended school (both levels) in the 70's there was no school or cheap council lessons available.  If you wanted to learn to swim you had to pay which meant that I, and most of my classmates, never learnt to swim.  So a lack of modern facilities is not a new thing, maybe more dependent on where you live(d) ?

Lots of kids also drowned in the summer holidays as well. 

I think in the 70s it did depend what school you went to, although our state primary was 'lucky' enough to have an outdoor pool. Our comprehensive school did have one, but it was never used during my time - perhaps because teachers were working to rule then.

However, I thought swimming lessons became compulsory at some point in the 80s.

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44 minutes ago, falcace said:

I hear you. Hate to sound like an old duffer, but here goes....when I was at school we had regular swim lessons at primary school and very cheap council run lessons. There might have been one or two kids in the year that struggled to swim. Now, a third of kids leave primary school unable to swim. A third! :o

Is there though a cultural element to the numbers as well ?

Tbh in my area I don't know of any baths that have closed. One new swimming bath opened. It was part of the agreement to build a big local supermarket, that the developers would build a baths for the local community. It took about 10 years after the supermarket opened and it ended up being part of Virgin sports, so I doubt cheap at all.

But is there an element of the muslim society that doesn't go to the baths, at least when everyone else is there ? Thought I remember that in some areas the muslim community wanted special sessions just for them. Well at least the female section. And I guess if the parents don't swim then it is hardly helpful to the youngsters, especially young females. Tbh I haven't noticed that here though. When I was last at one of the swimming pools in a large muslim area there were plenty enjoying the fun. A few females were in a full hijab in the baths no worries

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56 minutes ago, iris123 said:

Is there though a cultural element to the numbers as well ?

Tbh in my area I don't know of any baths that have closed. One new swimming bath opened. It was part of the agreement to build a big local supermarket, that the developers would build a baths for the local community. It took about 10 years after the supermarket opened and it ended up being part of Virgin sports, so I doubt cheap at all.

But is there an element of the muslim society that doesn't go to the baths, at least when everyone else is there ? Thought I remember that in some areas the muslim community wanted special sessions just for them. Well at least the female section. And I guess if the parents don't swim then it is hardly helpful to the youngsters, especially young females. Tbh I haven't noticed that here though. When I was last at one of the swimming pools in a large muslim area there were plenty enjoying the fun. A few females were in a full hijab in the baths no worries

Drowning deaths seem to fallen significantly over the past 30 years which presumably does reflect the effect of access to swimming lessons and awareness of the dangers of water.

However, when these tragedies happen, Asians do seem to disproportionately feature in them. Sometimes it's just bad luck, but I think bad judgement plays a large part.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, iris123 said:

Is there though a cultural element to the numbers as well ?

Tbh in my area I don't know of any baths that have closed. One new swimming bath opened. It was part of the agreement to build a big local supermarket, that the developers would build a baths for the local community. It took about 10 years after the supermarket opened and it ended up being part of Virgin sports, so I doubt cheap at all.

But is there an element of the muslim society that doesn't go to the baths, at least when everyone else is there ? Thought I remember that in some areas the muslim community wanted special sessions just for them. Well at least the female section. And I guess if the parents don't swim then it is hardly helpful to the youngsters, especially young females. Tbh I haven't noticed that here though. When I was last at one of the swimming pools in a large muslim area there were plenty enjoying the fun. A few females were in a full hijab in the baths no worries

A small bearing I'm sure. But you are talking about a population that takes up less than 5% of the UK population and let's say 2.5% if its girls. This is 33% who cannot swim. 

The biggest factor, I think, is that its expensive to take every kid in primary school to a swimming lesson and pools are also expensive things to run. So when you get Government cuts to education, sport, leisure, its one of the things that suffers. As a consequence, less kids can swim and go into adulthood without a skill or the water confidence that would enable them to be more active....more likely to be inactive/obese and ultimately, a greater burden on the NHS. It's that old short-term thinking again.

Edited by falcace

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5 minutes ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

Drowning deaths seem to fallen significantly over the past 30 years which presumably does reflect the effect of access to swimming lessons and awareness of the dangers of water.

However, when these tragedies happen, Asians do seem to disproportionately feature in them. Sometimes it's just bad luck, but I think bad judgement plays a large part.

I think 17 people drowned here in roughly the same week 5 drowned in the UK. People swimming in lakes and getting into trouble. Fairly young around the 18 year age as well. Plus one or two very young children. One I think 2 years old in a kindergarten managed to get away unobserved.........but there has also been a bit in the news this week from the bath attendants who have criticised parents for paying too much attention to their mobile phones and not enough on their children :(

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2 hours ago, falcace said:

I hear you. Hate to sound like an old duffer, but here goes....when I was at school we had regular swim lessons at primary school and very cheap council run lessons. There might have been one or two kids in the year that struggled to swim. Now, a third of kids leave primary school unable to swim. A third! :o

Our school actually had its own indoor swimming pool when I was there. We had "Swimming" once a week in the timetable and had no choice but to learn to swim.

Later, years after I left, the pool was demolished and filled in. The school then later moved to a brand new building. My kids went to the new one and never had a single swimming lesson between them while they were there.

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1 hour ago, Grachan said:

Our school actually had its own indoor swimming pool when I was there. We had "Swimming" once a week in the timetable and had no choice but to learn to swim.

Later, years after I left, the pool was demolished and filled in. The school then later moved to a brand new building. My kids went to the new one and never had a single swimming lesson between them while they were there.

I get that schools cannot deliver every sport and there are finite Government resources. But I think swimming has to be the exception and should be properly resourced and mandatory. It's an investment in the nation's health.

As Humphrey says, its a life-saving skill. It's also possibly the one sport or activity anyone can do at age, on their own or with people with minimal equipment at minimal cost. I run regularly and cycle too...but at some point my knees will give in and I might have less appetite to face traffic on my bike the older I get. But swimming? That's something anyone can do at any time in their life...providing they have learned in the first place. 

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20 hours ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

One of the truly great things about the British public in the past, was a general love of sport and the ability to watch and appreciate it whoever was competing; even when there was absolutely no chance of a British winner. Which is if course why so many important competitions are held in Britain.

However, I've become quite annoyed at the BBC's Olympics coverage, not least the inane chatter between Claire Balding (who is normally a good presenter) and Alex Scott which consumes time that could be spent actually showing some sport. Maybe the BBC has only paid for a limited package, but it's really been dumbed down into a highlights package of Team GB.

One of the main reasons why I no longer watch sport on TV...got fed up with the constant anlysis from so called experts waffling on and on!

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