An open letter to all sports men and woman. (Three minute read)
Now is the time to lobby The IOC to establish a permanent home for the Olympic Games.
Don’t get me wrong I love sport and my congratulations goes to every competitor that competed in the Rio Olympics medal winner or not.
When you realise the cost of the Games and the problems we all face in the world there is a stronger case now than ever before to have a permanent venue for the Games. ( See previous post)
A Summer Olympic Games now costs an average of $5.2bn (at 2015 levels), while the average Winter Olympics costs $3.1bn.
Long after the crowds vanish, it turns out that some host cities and countries ended up taking large net losses on their investments.
No Games since 1960 has come in under budget.
In fact, nearly half have cost overruns of more than 100%. Montreal 1976 had a cost overrun of 720%, Barcelona 1992 of 266% .
The most expensive is London 2012 at $15bn – nearly $10bn above average. London also sits far above second-placed Barcelona 1992 at $9.7bn.
For Rio, the preliminary cost is $4.6bn, with an overrun of 51% in real terms.
A Cost effective level playing field is required in more ways than one.
Never mind the cheats on drugs.
The individual or teams from less wealthy countries have an uphill struggle long before they even contemplate competing.
Take England’s recent success for example.
Second on the medal table.
The nation’s greatest Olympics haul in living memory is built on the ruthless efficiency of Team GB’s “medal machine” coaching team – and National Lottery Millions.
£274million of Lotto cash into our athletes’ programmes in the last four years.. Every aspect of training and preparation for Rio has been fine-tuned, with 900 support staff travelling to Brazil with our 366 athletes.
UK Sport, which determines how public funds raised via the national lottery and tax are allocated to elite-level sport, has pledged almost £350m to Olympic and Paralympic sports between 2013 and 2017, up 11% on the run-up to London 2012
Considering that this is a country where more than a quarter of the population is officially defined as inactive because they do less than 30 minutes of activity a week, including walking.
A country that recently could not support their fellow Europeans because it was costing a few million.. A country that for all intensive purposes has closed its borders to refugees. A country that is slashing its support to the vulnerable citizens.
(Severe cuts to local authority budgets are also squeezing resources at the grassroots level. Councils across England have been forced to make cuts since 2010, when grant funding for local authorities was cut by a fifth, more than twice the level of cuts to the rest of the UK public sector.)
On average, each medal at the Rio Olympics has cost £5.5m.
27 Gold. 23 Silver. 17 Bronze.
Michael Phelps’ entire 23 gold medal haul would net him about $13,000.
In the U.S., gold medal winners get $25,000 ($15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze) from the U.S. Olympic Committee. (Italy pays $182,000 for gold medal winners, whereas Russia pays $135,000)
At a scrap-level value, the award is only worth about $501, since the medal is not entirely made out of gold.
The Olympics are about competition and heroics and national pride.
But they are also about big business and The “Olympic legacy” which might include improvements in infrastructure and increased trade, foreign investment, or tourism after the Games; and intangible benefits such as the “feel-good effect” or civic pride.
The IOC could better serve their constituents by diverting competition away from lavish provision of facilities towards goals that would raise participation in sports….
It is perfectly reasonable for the IOC or the FIFA to extract a surplus from the sale of TV and sponsorship rights to fund the global development of sport. However, the unjustified claim that these events produce substantial economic benefits can (a) mislead people into believing that their taxes are being productively spent on social regeneration rather than just funding mass entertainment, and (b) lead some private individuals to invest their own wealth in the expectation that an event will generate returns when it is unlikely to do so.
A gold medal is so much more than just a hunk of metal, so in that way, they’re irreplaceable.
We can ask all the philosophical questions, which are valid.
What is the point of the Olympics?
The Olympics can be uplifting, entertaining, and distracting. But what, exactly, is the point of watching a group of people get together to compete over running quickly or lifting big weights?
We humans create it and we give meaning to it.
They are a way of bringing people together to get over their differences, focus on their commonality, and break down the boundaries not just between themselves, but also between gods and humans, past and present. It’s very hard to watch the Olympic Games and not be inspired by what humans are capable of and their ability to overcome their political differences.
Play or sport is the closest thing most human beings come to contemplation, to the highest of human activities.
Watching sports takes us out of ourselves.
Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
The structure of sport, where everyone begins at the same starting line and abides by the same rules, means that competitors from every country become equal.
“Aim for excellence” means always doing and giving one’s best.
“In theory,” says Reid, ”everything the Games does is supposed to reflect that philosophy.”
Today, the world of sport is regularly confronted with issues of violence, corruption, discrimination, excessive nationalism, cheating, doping, etc. While these issues are still in a minority, they can be very damaging for athletes, sports institutions and the image of sport in general. By promoting a philosophy of life based on the values of excellence, respect and friendship.
Olympism seeks to correct these abuses and shows that sport can help to build a better world. “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”.
“I remain convinced that sport is one of the most forceful elements of peace, and I am confident in its future action.” Pierre de Coubertin
The five rings on a white background make up the Olympic symbol. It was presented at the 17th IOC Session at the Sorbonne in 1914, and was flown for the first time at the 1920 Games in Antwerp. While the interlinked rings symbolise the five continents, the six colours (including the white background) were chosen because they are found in all the flags of the world, so that every country can find at least one of its national colours.
Contrary to popular belief, the colours of the rings do not refer to particular continents but signify their union through sport and the gathering of athletes from all over the world at the Olympic Games.
I believe that Sport in its purest form offers possibilities of dialogue, camaraderie and exchanges of ideas, in a spirit of mutual respect and fair play, which everyone can apply on a daily basis well beyond sports arenas, thus contributing to building a better world!
It is not the place for the Wiggins of this world to be able to compete under the flag of a limited company Wiggins Rights Ltd.