Well done to Team GB at the Olympics

That was a great result. The large number of  medal winners , and the even larger number of competitors from the UK who also put in brilliant world class performances is a tribute to their hard work, dedication and skill. The nation is rightly proud of them all. It is a fine thing to reach Olympic qualification standard, and an amazing thing to end up Olympic champion in your chosen sport.

I don’t think it is mainly about money, though obviously the money to provide backing and support helps. The Lottery has been a good means of allowing more people to spend their time in training.  It is mainly about the sheer determination and stamina of each competitor, their coaches and mentors, and of their families. It  shows that people  can achieve great things if they put their mind and body to it.

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  1. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    The U.K. funding bodies quite cynically decided to buy gold medals. To do this they chose to fund only sports with lots of medals on offer which had a high cost of entry. So for example they stopped funding table tennis (only 4 medals on offer) and weightlifting (too easy for poor countries like ex-Soviet states to compete). Instead they fund exclusive costly sports like rowing, sailing, equestrian and track cycling that need expensive equipment and facilities. Very few youngsters enthused BT gold medals in these activities will ever have the chance to take them up. It is a poor use of lottery money which instead could have been used to promote mass participation sports with associated health and social benefits.

    Reply They also support track and field and gymnastics etc

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Oh come on!
      Somehow we can muster up greater and better than D Beckham and W Rooney to be our sporting heroes!
      Whatever it takes, let’s push our scientists, sportsmen/women, business people, to be the best in the world! Happy to pay students or athletes who are the best not the dross!
      Would you rather fund them from taxes or a family of 10 Romanians on housing benefit?
      Happy to contribute to success from my business anyway!

    • libertarian
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Roy Grainger

      Total cobblers. Why do people write this stuff without checking?

      Table Tennis England not only DID receive lottery funding but the lottery also gave them £1 million to fund special tables for the disabled in local table tennis clubs . At Christmas Table Tennis was the featured sport in the lottery funds TV adverts for sport funding !!!

      From the British Weightlifting Website home page

      British Weight Lifting’s World Class Programme (WCP) is designed to increase the probability of athlete’s achieving success on the international stage. It is funded by Sport England and the Lottery fund.

      How expensive is badminton, boxing, tae kwon do, running, swimming, hockey, rugby etc etc etc

      You need to apologise for spouting drivel

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        I am talking about the £500+M distributed by UK Sport which is allocated according to the principles I said. My information came from Times journalist Matthew Syed who happens also to have represented UK in Olympic table tennis. I will leave others to decide who is spouting drivel.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Roy Grainger

          No doubt about it you are spouting drivel READ the ACTUAL websites of the sports you maligned . Youre wrong Couldnt care less what a journalist said.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Millions spent so that one person could shave off a fraction of a second in skipping and hopping while our libraries are closing down, more children than ever are qualifying for free school meals and university entry is becoming yet again unobtainable for students from poor families. How much did each of these medals cost the country?

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        “university entry is becoming yet again unobtainable for students from poor families.”

        The grants and loans system means that anyone can go to university – if the degree is likely to deliver a good job at the end of it.

        Far too many people go to university.

        We need to target jobs that require a lot of immigration and train our youth up to do them instead. More apprenticeships and job training please. And now that we are meant to be leaving the EU stop giving away good jobs with training to EU citizens.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Actually Margaret, there is a lot I disagree with, specifically only English students paying for their degrees in the United Kingdom, but University Entry is not becoming unobtainable for students from poor families quite the contrary. The problem is that too many that shouldn’t choose to go and often study worthless degrees that they’ll never have to pay for.

        There are now large grants available especially for those children who come from poor earning parents, the middle classes generally are the ones whose children have to work whilst learning or their parents prop up their living costs.

        Children now all get free schooling up to the age of 18. I was encouraged to leave school at 16 in order to earn my own money on a training scheme and not be a burden to my parents. Without A levels University, even though it was free and grants existed in those days was out of my reach. It is nothing like that now.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Indeed that is essentially what they did.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      What is going to be done about funding for team sports? The current model favours individual sports as it is easier to get an individual medal than a team medal. This is a known discrepancy and has been flagged to those with the ability to change it for years, but there appears to be no will to do anything about it. What could programs such as GB handball and GB volleyball achieved on the back of 2012 if just some of this funding was put their way instead of being turned off cold post-London.

  2. Margaret
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Great . Now I want better coverage of individual sports and a choice on the box . I would have liked to have seen all the badminton from beginning to end , not just the finals. This is a sport I enjoyed for many years at a reasonably high level as many others in this widely played winter indoor sport. Could the TV channels work on this ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      I do wonder why so many minority sports are only on the BBC very rarely. Fencing, table tennis, badminton, kayaking, squash, sailing, archery, hockey, surfing and the likes.

      Another case of follow the money, the sponsorship & the product placements I suppose.

      This is certainly not so much the case in Italy, there is much more variety. Not that I watch much sport when I can avoid it.

  3. ian
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if they had to pay for it like a student loan whether the performances would be the same but all the same a great show performance by all.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Well done Indeed, though part of me is largely with Peter hitchens in his article the other day. Also I noticed how few people wereactually happy to pay to watch it, the stadiums being largely empty. If the cannot even fill them for the Olympics then are the not rather pointless white elephants?

    It is at least funded through the lottery and so not my taxes.. A tax on largely poorer people who do not understand probability and numbers. Largely to fund the interests of richer people and the establishment. An anti progressive tax for a change.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      ‘Well done Indeed, though part of me is largely with Peter hitchens in his article the other day’

      – Well done to the Olympic medal winners. If Peter wants to focus his anger on something right now, focus on something such as the sugary-foods topic or something. That really is a serious issue as it leads to disease and death and costs the NHS a fortune.
      We live in an imperfect world, and the Olympics are far from perfect. But can’t we just be happy for once … and celebrate something positive. There’s only so much misery one can take.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        Well sport in general cost the NHS a fortune in sports injuries, try going to any casualty especially at weekends.

  5. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s really the EU which has done exceptionally well, as explained here:


    I’m sure somebody commenting here ridiculed the idea that this would happen.

    Anybody care to own up to that?

    • DaveM
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Haha. Except of course the EU wasn’t a team because it’s not a country. Maybe in 2024 GB will beat the EU team!

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t notice any young people in a hurry to drape themselves in the EU flag.

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    China are crying foul as they claim second place with more medals than GB although with fewer gold and silver. The EU are claiming they are top which they are because combined they far outstrip anyone else on the medal count. However the sports men and women who took part and were citizens of the EU did so in the name of the country they represented and who they are also citizens of. It appears the tug of war between sovereignty and identity continues even into sport.

    The tenacity of the EU does not respect any institution or person if it gets in the way of it’s project. Feelings of nationalism and wanting to identify with those whom you share a common culture is verboten. It may be arguably such feelings are outdated but then if it is to be changed it must be by consent and the EU does not do consent.

    • eeyore
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Guido points out that the countries of the British Empire won 396 medals. The rest of the world only managed 320 and the post-Brexit EU a tragic 258.

      He includes in the British Empire the 13 rebellious colonies of North America. In Britain’s current mood of magnanimity in victory it would be a kind gesture to offer them a return to their old allegiance, no questions asked.

      This might be a good moment to remind ourselves that, as well as parliamentary democracy, Magna Carta, queuing, weekends and Yorkshire pudding, organised sport is one of Britain’s great gifts to the world.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:31 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget the English language. Regrettably we neglected to take out any legal protection of our intellectual property rights, which would now be giving us a stream of royalties for the use of our language.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        That proves the old adage “there are lies, damn lies and statistics”.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      The “also” actually applies to the subsidiary legal status of EU citizenship, which is “additional to and does not replace national citizenship”.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      You can cut this anyway you like

      1) The Anglosphere smashed everyone out of sight
      2) The Commonwealth won 195
      3) English speaking countries 312

      If the EU had entered as one country they would have had far fewer athletes taking part than represented the individual countries

  7. ian wragg
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Of course it demonstrates what can be done when the correct things are put into place. If we started an industrial policy along the same lines by nurturing UK companies we could again be world leaders.
    The EU has tried to marginalise us for 40 odd years and no begins the great escape to prosperity.
    Well done everyone.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      The EU had turned us from a bankrupt country into the 5th largest economy in the world. Within a couple of days of Brexit we already dropped into 6th place again.

      Reply We were far from bankrupt in 1972 when we joined, and considerably less indebted. Paying them all that money over the years has just increased our debts

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        Glad to see that satire is not dead.

      • hefner
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Reply to Reply: ah, ah, ah. As said above by Libertarian: “You need to apologise for spouting drivel”.

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Sorry don’t think the team represents this country at all.

    They are overwhelmingly from fee paying schools.

    I don’t see any evidence of the bright, talented, beautiful children forced to attend the worst school in town by a very much broken state school allocation system. Or any empathy with the talent wasted.

    For me this Olympics highlights everything that is wrong with this country.

    Nothing there to celebrate.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      Team GB

      366 athletes in 25 sports

      70% of medal winning athletes at Rio were from state schools of the remaining 30% from independent schools 10% of them won sports scholarships to their independent school from a state school

      The percentage of total athletes who participated is even higher from state schools

      You do talk the most unutterable drivel.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        not really those state schools with pupils who made it to the games are disproportionately a small select group of exceptional schools into which ordinary kids couldn’t get into anyways due to the catchment areas being million quid plus houses

        we are a divided society, not divided on merit, but on catchment areas and fake religious affiliations

        the sooner the corrupt school allocation process is broken up and parents are given real buying power in the relationship with schools the better

        • libertarian
          Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Iain Gill

          Keep digging a hole. More drivel, no evidence ,

          If you knew the first thing about sport you would know that schools state or private have very little to do with developing top sports people anyway. Its all about professional coaching

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink


    • David Lister
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      There is no pleasing some people. My kids have a trampoline in the garden, a pair of trainers and swimming trunks; all of which enable them to participate in GB medal winning sports if they wish. What’s not to like ?

  9. formula57
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I am pleased you mention expressly the large number of competitors who did not win a medal for their efforts deserve to be included in our applause, clearly.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
    • Anonymous
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Is there nothing the young can do to please Peter Hitchens ? Nothing at all ??? The man really is in a time warp.

  11. acorn
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think it is mainly about money,” Then you would be wrong JR. Look at the way UK Sport selected winners and supported them 100% and discarded the rest. How it set targets in Pounds per potential medal.

    If UK Sport would like to progress to running the UK economy; making the Westminster Punch & Judy club redundant, I would vote for that.

  12. Lindsay McDougaal
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Precisely how much money has the National Lottery given to athletics and sport and what percentage of total net revenue is it?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Some one on the radio said about £ half a billion spent on top sports over the four years between Olympics?

    • graham1946
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      It’s not all about money, but also talent and more importantly incredible dedication and hard work. The money supports the athletes so they are now all professionals and have the best trainers and facilities. What’s wrong with that? Is it better to be an amateur in the modern world and achieve low results like we used to, both sporting and business? We are now realistically competing, not the old starry eyed ‘plucky amateur’ any more.

      If they gave me the 500 million, I still couldn’t run for the bus.

  13. Alexis
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the Olympics, and thought GB had spectacularly good results.

    It is a great tribute to the competitors, and their supporters. I think the final medal results were outstanding, and very conveniently timed to counteract the anti-Brexit sneers that we are a small or backward looking country, who can’t achieve anything without outside help, etc.

    We are pretty good when we set our mind to things.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      We are still in the EU. Heaven forfend (if we ever leave) that 2020 sees a dip in Britain’s medal tally – the EU-GB results are going to be very difficult to beat.

      Let’s be careful about ascribing our success in anyway to Brexit.

      All the selection, training, funding and winning was done whilst still in the EU.

      • Alexis
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t ascribe it to Brexit at all. I said it counteracted the anti Brexit sneers.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          They could rightly claim that our Olympians are EU citizens as much as they are British.

    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    The 2012 Olympics alone had the effect of seeing more joggers, cyclists and Keep-Fit teams right up to 10pm in my local park. Even doing their exercises in darkness or with the aid of torches. Now, one has to dodge every toddler, OAP, teenager for footpath space as they battle on in all weathers.
    This is glorious.

  15. Miami.mode
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    ……I don’t think it is mainly about money……

    Have to disagree there. Years ago it was only amateurs who could participate in the Olympics, but now the majority are professional or semi-professional and it is doubtful they would achieve the same standard without the hours and dedication that they can afford to put in without worrying about a full-time occupation.

    So it is mainly about the money.

  16. DaveM
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    The Americans and Russians have bought gold medals for years. But you can’t win anything without the athletes to do it. I think they did brilliantly.

    Rugby tick. Cricket tick. Boxing tick. Olympics tick. So why is football so bad? That sport has more money than all the others put together – it’s not the money, it’s the athletes. The extra funding just gives them the finishing touch.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Why is football so bad ?

      Because – when we form an England squad – we are effectively turning professionals back into amateurs. We get them to play part-time with people they don’t usually play with, in a job they don’t want to do – in and around Premiership fixtures and commitments.

      Far better to have B teamers realistically aspiring to top clubs committed to form a cohesive England squad and released to train committedly to it.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I seem to have tuned into Channel 4 News by mistake – moan, moan, moan …

  18. David Lister
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Great result indeed. As impressive as the number of medals is the diversity of sports in which we podiumed exceeding even the US. Even trampolining! Definitely something for everyone to cheer.

    Very encouraging for the future, let’s not mess too much with a winning formula!

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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